Alpha-Stim AID Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) for Anxiety Treatment: Outcomes in a Community Healthcare Service

Chris Griffiths, Leno Joseph, Doreen Caesar, Bharath Lakkappa, Chloe Leathlean, Ksenija Maravic da Silva

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    Background: Symptoms of anxiety disorders are highly common and can have a severe impact on people’s lives; they are typically treated with psychotherapy and/or anti-anxiety medication. These treatments are not suitable for, acceptable to, or effective for everyone. Alpha-Stim AID is a cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device with evidence of effectiveness in treating symptoms of anxiety. In this study, Alpha-Stim AID was offered through a United Kingdom (UK) universal community healthcare provider, Intermediate Care Team (ICT) community healthcare service to patients who reported signs of anxiety. Objective: The aim of this paper is to present feasibility findings and outcomes on anxiety, health status, and quality of life. Methods: Open-label patient cohort design, with no control group. Participants were adults who reported symptoms of anxiety and were under the care of universal national health service (NHS) Intermediate Care Team (ICT) community healthcare service in the United Kingdom (UK). Pre- and post-intervention assessment used participant self-report measures: generalised anxiety disorder (GAD-7) and health related quality of life (EQ-5D-5L). The three ICT staff members who offered the Alpha-Stim AID to patients completed a questionnaire on their experience. Results: Eighteen patients used the Alpha-Stim and completed outcome measures. GAD-7 scores significantly improved from 13.9 (SD = 4.3) to 7.3 (SD = 5.7) (p < 0.001), with a large effect size of 0.88. Analysis of EQ-ED-5L health index score conversions indicated perceived quality of life increased from 0.31 (SD = 0.25) to 0.48 (SD = 0.28) at end (p = 0.036), with a small effect size of 0.12. EQ-VAS scores at baseline improved from 49.2 (SD = 24.0) to 64.4 (SD = 26.2) at the end (p = 0.05), with a small effect size of 0.12. Limitations: There was no control group, and the intervention was adjunct to existing treatments. Conclusions: Alpha-Stim AID CES can be offered through a UK NHS Trust Intermediate Care Team (ICT) community healthcare service and can have a significant positive impact on symptoms of anxiety, quality of life, and health status in patients who report experience of anxiety symptoms. Roll-out through community mental health providers to people with experience of anxiety symptoms is feasible. An appropriately designed and sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial of Alpha-stim for anxiety is required.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-92
    Number of pages13
    JournalOpen Journal of Depression
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright © 2022 by author(s) and
    Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
    This work is licensed under the Creative
    Commons Attribution International
    License (CC BY 4.0).


    • Alpha-Stim
    • Community Care
    • Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation
    • Service Delivery
    • Anxiety,
    • Depression
    • Quality of Life
    • Co-Morbidity


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