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Frequently Asked Questions


 

1.  I have had depression for 20 years. Will I have to use the Alpha-Stim® every day for the rest of my life?
Answer: No. When your neurotransmitters are balanced and the depression is gone, you will only need to use it from time to time when your life's circumstances suggest that the depression might come back. Some people who have recovered from anxiety or depression find it best to use the Alpha-Stim® two or three times a week for 20 minutes to prevent another episode. Others put it on a shelf in the closet and only get it down when they feel out of sorts.

2.  I have a friend who wants to come off of his antidepressant drugs. Will the Alpha-Stim® help with that?
Answer: The Alpha-Stim® will be a big help with that, but he should only come off his medication under medical supervision. Some physicians who are withdrawing hospitalized patients from such medications will withdraw them very quickly, some even "cold turkey," while using the Alpha-Stim® an hour or more each day. That would be dangerous for most persons who were not under constant clinical supervision. Physicians usually encourage outpatients to come off their medication a little at a time, reducing it by small amounts every four or five days, and using the Alpha-Stim® daily during that process. Withdrawal can take weeks or months, done this way, but it is much safer, and the patients ultimately get there in the long run, which is what they wanted to do in the first place.

3.  Can I use the Alpha-Stim® too much? If I use it too many hours a day, or use it turned up too high, will it hurt me?
Answer: Since the Alpha-Stim® works at a level of electricity similar to the body's own bioelectricity, no known harm can come from its overuse. On the other hand, it is always best to use it according to the directions provided by your licensed health care practitioner, or the directions for use that come with the device. Most people find that it is actually more effective for chronic conditions when used every other day; just two or three times per week. However, in acute conditions it may be used more than once a day.  If for some reason you do not get a positive clinical response from it when used following our protocols, contact your health care practitioner, or call us at 1-888-E-STIMULATE. Or you can email us your questions at contact@depressiontreatmentnow.com. Together we can often devise other, more effective ways of using your Alpha-Stim® for your specific needs.

4.  I get the best results if I use my Alpha-Stim® for one hour, three times a day, and at night when I go to bed. Am I using it too much?
Answer: If that is how you get your best results, you have found the key to how you should use the Alpha-Stim® for your condition. Keep in mind that the procedure will likely change over time as you continue to improve, and you may find yourself using it for only 10 or 20 minutes a couple of times a week in order to stay at your peak level of functioning.

5.  If I use my Alpha-Stim® more than 20 minutes twice a week, my pain (or anxiety or depression or insomnia) will not stay gone.
Answer: Good. You have found the best way to use the Alpha-Stim® for you. Many people have found that some hiatus between treatments gets better results. That is why we recommend using it every other day on a maintenance basis.

6.  When I use the ear clips, I sometimes get light headed or even dizzy. I don't like that feeling. Is it necessary to feel that in order to get benefit from the treatment.
Answer: You do not have to feel unpleasant feelings in order to get the benefits of Alpha-Stim® CES treatment. When you first put apply it, be certain you have the current level set to "0", then gradually turn it up until you just begin to feel slightly light headed or dizzy. At that point, turn the current back down until the dizzy feeling goes away, and continue to treat yourself at that level. If you feel dizzy again, turn it down again, but never less than "1". With the Alpha-Stim® microcurrent technology, more is not necessarily better. However, the lower the current the longer it will take. Generally, if the current is set at less than "2", it will take more than 20 minutes. Some people will need an hour or more, especially for the first few treatments.

7.  While I have heard about and seen people get an immediate effect from treatment, I always feel better the next day after I use the Alpha-Stim®, and I need to use it for several hours at a time. I am not complaining, because it does work well for my anxiety, but why don't I get an immediate effect?
Answer: While it is true that most people get an immediate effect, in some rare cases people have a delayed effect like yours. In most of the cases where people get a delayed effect, they also have trouble with prescription drugs. In all these cases we have found one thing in common. The person who has a delayed effect from Alpha-Stim® treatment also has a delayed effect from anesthetics. Usually, when you receive anesthetic injections from your dentist, you are sufficiently numb for the dentist to drill your tooth in a few minutes. For some people, this can take one-half hour or more. Usually the dentist will make a big deal about it because it is so rare. If you have a delayed response to anesthetics, you'll probably also have a delayed response to Alpha-Stim®. You will also need to use it longer.

8.   It says in the instruction manual not to use the Alpha-Stim® within three hours of going to bed. My friend uses hers when she goes to bed at night. She says it helps her sleep better, and she puts it on again if she wakes up too early in the morning and it helps her get back to sleep.
Answer: The Alpha-Stim® relaxes your body and focuses your mind. If you are going to bed thinking about a problem, the mental focus may actually keep you awake. That is why we do not recommend using it just before going to bed. However, some people can fall asleep with it on. It is like caffeine, some people can drink coffee, tea, or soft drinks just before going to bed, while others are doomed to staying awake all night if they have a sip of caffeine after 12:00 noon. If the Alpha-Stim® does not keep you awake, it is okay to use it before going to bed.

9.  Should I take nutrition supplements and vitamins when I use the Alpha-Stim®?
Answer: The Alpha-Stim®, when used on your body for pain cessation or control, does this in large part by initiating the repair process in the injured tissues. It does this by, among other things, increasing the amino acid transport and protein synthesis in the area. It can not do this if the necessary amino acids are not present in the blood stream when you use your Alpha-Stim®. Similarly, when Alpha-Stim® CES is used, it will effect a balancing of your neurotransmitters by stimulating the brain to make more of those you do not have enough of, until their level has increased to the extent they and the other neurotransmitters can mutually control each other's production. The Alpha-Stim® can not help your brain make neurotransmitters if the building blocks for them are not present in the blood stream. So it is very important to eat a balanced diet while using the Alpha-Stim®, and that includes the major amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. We think everyone should take dietary supplements. You should also drink plenty of water as it is necessary for electrical conductivity in your body.

10.  What kind of food should I eat in order to get all the things necessary for body or neurotransmitter repair?
Answer: Your health care practitioner is your best local source of information regarding what is required and how best to find it. You can also get helpful information from your local health food store. In general, you should eat natural, preferably organic whole foods, at least 40 percent raw fruits and vegetables. To optimize digestion, do not mix proteins and carbohydrates, eat fruit alone one-half hour before, or two hours after other foods, and avoid white sugar and white flour. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners, especially if you suffer from headaches. You can safely use Stevia or Xylitol for sweetening, available at your local health food store.

11.   Is it normal for my ears to turn red after I have used the earclips?
Answer: Any electrical stimulation can cause skin irritation and it is usually mild and self limiting. This is more prevalent in fair skinned people or those with sensitive skin. If a problem persists, consult your medical professional or try an alternative method of application such as applying the AS-Trode´┐Ż self-adhesive silver electrodes to the mastoid process (the bony area behind the ears), or even the shoulders. The stimulation can dilate the vascular system in the area which will turn the skin red.

12.  Can the Alpha-Stim® be used along with drugs my doctor has prescribed? Can it help reduce my need for pharmaceuticals?
Answer: Although the Alpha-Stim® is safe and effective for use in the treatment of its registered indications, caution should be exercised when using CES with certain types of drugs, such as medication for high blood pressure. As the CES relaxes you, it brings your blood pressure down. If a drug then kicks in and lowers it even further, it can become too low. It is easy to regulate use of the Alpha-Stim® but this is not so with drugs. Also, if you are trying to get off of drugs you feel may be damaging to your health, it is important that you do so under a doctor's supervision. Many drugs cannot just be dropped but must be reduced gradually. The Alpha-Stim® can help accomplish this and is a safe, effective method, but drugs are not, so caution must be exercised and, again, involve your doctor in the process.

 

13.  Will insurance pay for this?
Answer: Many plans that cover durable medical equipment will pay for the Alpha-Stim®. However, many plan administrators and case managers are unfamiliar with Alpha-Stim® technology and, since it is broadly classed along with cheap TENS devices, they assume it is just another TENS. If a claim is denied, it is important to work with your doctor and insurance company to educate them on the benefits of this technology. Alpha-Stim® is supported by more clinical studies than many drugs and is proven efficacious for its registered indications. Some insurance carriers have mistakenly classed the Alpha-Stim® as an investigational device. We can provide them with clearance to market this technology by regulatory agencies in Europe (CE mark) the USA (FDA), Canada, and other countries. As this technology may be new to your insurance carrier, it is important not to take "no" for an answer. Your doctor knows the validity of this technology or would not have prescribed its use in your case. It is cleared to market and deserves proper reimbursement. As a manufacturer, we have limited clout with the insurance carriers. However, the more doctors and patients who request proper reimbursement for this valuable technology, the more inclined they are to listen. In the end, this technology will produce significant savings for the insurer over drugs, surgery and secondary and tertiary problems caused by other types of medical intervention.

 

14.  Why doesn't my doctor know about this?
Answer: Doctors are educated in institutions largely funded by pharmaceutical companies with multi-billion dollar budgets. These large companies have the resources to continue to educate doctors after they graduate, serve their internships and go into private or institutional practices and have widespread marketing campaigns. Smaller, innovative device companies such as EPI have had to build awareness through word-of-mouth and participation in medical conferences not dominated by pharmaceutical interests. It is not the doctor's fault that these new technologies take longer to become known. It is the nature of healthcare in the US and the nature of the medical profession which is necessarily cautious in adopting new methods of medical intervention.  The doctors that subscribe to the Alpha-Stim® are sometimes shocked and surprised that they had not heard of it sooner.  It is worthy to note that electrical stimulation has started to grab the attention of doctors of late with devices such as vagus nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation. 

 

15.  I've heard of Vagus Nerve Stimulation.  Is this similar?

Answer: The vagus nerve stimulator is a surgically invasive procedure used to treat treatment resistant depression.  Vagus nerve stimulation, as the name states, stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn stimulates the limbic system in the brain.  While the type of stimulation differs, the Alpha-Stim® has also shown to stimulate the limbic system as well as other parts of the brain.  In addition Alpha-Stim® has given new life to many with treatment resistant depression (each response differs).  While depression treatment is between you and your doctor, Alpha-Stim® may be a viable alternative to vagus nerve stimulation.


This material is reproduced with the permission of Electromedical Products International, Inc. © 2006

©2006 by
 

Disclaimers-  Alpha-Stim® is manufactured by Electromedical Products International, Inc. (EPI).  Depression Treatment Now.Com and Moeller Medical, LLC are  not associated with EPI except to the extent of acting distributors of the Alpha-Stim® device.  The Alpha-Stim® name and the Alpha-Stim® logo are trademarks of EPI.
United States readers note:
Material on this site is being provided only for educational information and as background material for potential researchers, not for promotional purposes.
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Moeller Medical, LLC express no opinion with regard to representations made herein.  Depression Treatment Now.Com and Moeller Medical, LLC support only those representations contained within the labeling of the Alpha-Stim® products.
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