Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a treatment that utilizes a light electrical current to induce changes in the brain’s electrical activity. Dr. Fisher utilizes the Alpha-Stim brand device for treatment. Alpha-Stim is an FDA-approved prescription-only device for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Alpha-Stim has been shown to be highly effective for the treatment of depressed mood (depression), persistent anxious thoughts and feelings (anxiety), and disturbed sleep (insomnia).

The application of an electrical current to the brain might sound scary to some patients. However, Alpha-Stim utilizes a 9-volt battery to generate its electrical current; thus, this device is extremely safe. In fact, there are no known deaths or even long-term side effects associated with use of this device. Short-term side effects can include dizziness, nausea, skin irritation, and headaches; however, these are uncommon (less than 1%) and usually remit shortly after the sensors are removed. Dr. Fisher will discuss a complete overview of side effects and other contraindications with the patient during the initial in-office appointment.

An Alpha-Stim treatment protocol always starts with an in-office initial evaluation with Dr. Fisher. Dr. Fisher will then prescribe this CES device if indicated. A second session is also completed in-office to conduct the initial CES treatment; this allows Dr. Fisher to demonstrate use of the CES device, monitor the patient’s initial response to CES, and determine the initial settings of the CES device. The patient will then typically use the device daily for 20 minutes (occasionally up to 60 minutes) for at least two to four weeks and then at a frequency to be determined by treatment response. The CES treatement is non-intrusive, and the patient can go about their daily life when they use the CES device with the exception that they cannot operate heavy machinery (e.g., drive a car, etc.).

During the first four weeks, the patient attends brief meetings once per week (about 15 minutes); these appointments cost significantly less than standard appointment rates since they are very brief. Appointments can be conveniently scheduled as a phone meeting, in-person meeting, or HIPPA compliant teletherapy session. Dependent on treatment response, Dr. Fisher will make adjustments to the patient’s treatment protocol (e.g., use daily, use three times per week, etc.) in these appointments.

Important: The cost of this device can now be financed through a third party vendor; ask Dr. Fisher for details.

Dr. Fisher wrote several articles on CES. You can find them here:
What Is Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation? (Part 1)
What is Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation? (Part 2)

Here is a manufacturer provided product brochure:

Alpha-Stim AID product brochure image

Alpha-Stim AID product brochure image

Here is a manufacturer provided overview of CES research/studies.

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