How Do Alpha-Stim, Pharmaceuticals and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Compare in Treating Insomnia?

If you are battling insomnia or pain, it is important to take into account all of the available treatments and make an educated decision as to which would be the best fit for you. This article will include a comparison of the following treatments:

  • Alpha-Stim
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy


Alpha-Stim – a handheld, prescription (in the U.S. only) medical device that is FDA cleared and clinically proven to provide fast, safe and effective relief for anxiety, insomnia, and depression using a mild electrical current with a patented waveform. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is delivered through small earclips and treatment can be performed while doing normal activities at home or work.

Pharmaceuticals – drugs are an ingested medicine, obtained only through a prescription by a physician, that chemically change the brain by mimicking neurotransmitters.

Cognitive behavioral Therapy – a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders

Comparing Apples to Oranges

While all of these treatment options are proven effective, their side effects, safety and rate of efficacy vary.

When using Alpha-Stim, patients have reported seeing significant effectiveness in 1 to 4 weeks, and around 70% of patients reported more than 50% improvement in their condition. Well-constructed scientific surveys, by both doctors and patients, consistently find that 9 out of 10 people who use Alpha-Stim get significant relief.

Behavioral therapy may be an option doctors use in an attempt to help patients with mood disorders. However, while around 65% of patients report that behavioral therapy improves their anxiety by over 50%, only around 5% of patients reported the same results for depression.

Pharmaceuticals are often prescribed when patients report symptoms of pain or insomnia, and while the degree of patients who reported significant improvement varies, the drugs have a high relapse rate. Prescription drugs are also highly addictive and come packed with a long list of dangerous side effects.

In contrast, Alpha-Stim has no risk of addiction and less than 1% of patients experience minor and self-limiting side effects. While the body develops a tolerance for drugs, which requires the patient to increase the dosage in order to maintain the same effect, the body creates a reverse tolerance to Alpha-Stim. Over time, the patient will require fewer and/or shorter Alpha-Stim treatments to achieve the same level of relief.

Cost Comparison: When Money Matters

The Alpha-Stim AID Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator costs $795 and is accompanied by a 5-year warranty.

Accessory Costs: $54/year

  • $15 for one box of 256 felt electrode pads for earclips
  • $24 for 250ml Conducting Solution Refill size bottle
  • $15 for an 8-pack of AAA lithium batteries

CBT costs include 15 sessions at $150 per session, for a total treatment cost of $2,250.

During the warranty time period, even when the cost of accessories is included, Alpha-Stim is far less expensive than the costs associated with pharmaceuticals or behavioral therapy over a 5-year period.

Patient Comparison: How Do They Feel?

In many cases, patients are prescribed multiple drugs while they are undergoing behavioral therapy, only adding to the cost, without the promise of relief. With cognitive behavioral therapy, it often takes a while for patients to begin feeling better.

Patients who have tried Alpha-Stim after years of struggling to find relief from drugs have noted that Alpha-Stim was unique in that it treated their condition in a way that helped them feel like themselves again.

“Within a week of using it, I experienced relief, which has stubbornly resisted treatment for over two years,” said Sue Clark Lindh, a patient from Washington. “Until I started using the Alpha-Stim, I had only partial relief. Within three days, I noticed my sleep was much improved. Then, I noticed feeling more emotionally resilient. Today, I am almost back to the outgoing, spontaneous person I know myself to be!”