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Interview with Marlene Stenlund, RN, and patient – Issue #12

marlene bio pic (old)

We are excited to present to you a testimonial interview conducted by the Vice President of Begin Healing IncMarlene Stenlund, RN, Certified Biofeedback Therapist, Pain Resource Nurse, and Certified Alpha-Stim Treatment Specialist.

Marlene has had over 30 years of experience in helping patients to manage and alleviate problems with stress, pain, sleep, and anxiety.  A combination of Alpha-Stim treatments and biofeedback training has been proven by research to give the best results.  Her first few sessions with a patient are focused on symptom reduction and the following sessions emphasize building skills to maintain the desired relief at home.

Many patients are able to reduce the amount of medication they are using to control their symptoms.

Featured Interview

Marlene: Hi, I’m Marlene Stenlund and this is Rachel. She’s a patient of mine that would like to talk to us about how Alpha-Stim has helped her conditions.

Rachel, we first met when you were referred to me for anxiety problems. Could you tell me a little bit about the problems you were experiencing, and what that was like for you?

Rachel: Sure. Well, it’s been a long time; middle school is when I first started having these anxiety attacks. Sometimes it would be triggered by something or someone, but most of the time it would come out of nowhere. My heart would start racing and it would feel like my chest was going to explode, and my thoughts would start to race to the worst possible scenario. And I just couldn’t be around people. I would start to shake uncontrollably and sometimes my hands would tense up. There were physical and psychological responses to almost nothing… it was overpowering me.

Marlene: What did it feel like when you had your first Alpha-Stim treatment?

Rachel: I think the best way I would describe it is it almost felt like Ativan, because I’ve taken that before. But I wasn’t feeling loopy from it, and it was like a gentle calming effect on me. It allowed my thoughts to slow down, and my heart slowed down, and I didn’t feel like I was going to die in the next 5 minutes. It was a profound effect.

Marlene: Other than Ativan, were there any other treatments that you have tried before Alpha-Stim that gave you any sort of long term relief?

Rachel: No, nothing really worked, except for Ativan and other drugs of that nature.

Marlene: How did you decide that you wanted to use Alpha-Stim versus Ativan to control the anxiety?

Rachel: I’d say because I’m chemically dependent. You know Ativan and things like that are very addictive drugs. Also I don’t really like to take prescription pills. That was not something I wanted to be on for the rest of my life, and if there was another option then I wanted to explore that – and this has really worked wonders for me. I was skeptical at first but it has worked for me consistently.

Marlene: So, before you started using the Alpha-Stim you had an Emergency Room visit?

Rachel: Yeah, I believe it was my second day being in treatment and I was just feeling really overwhelmed about everything – all the changes that were happening in my life and, you know, coming off drugs is difficult. I was having an anxiety attack, and it lasted for a few hours. I think it was almost 4 hours. And so finally they brought me to the E.R. and gave me the Ativan prescription to manage that, so I could stay in treatment. And it did work; I think I was taking 3 milligrams a day, so it was a pretty intense regiment. And then after that my insurance approved seeing you and I haven’t looked back.

Marlene: So you haven’t required any more Ativan since that time?

Rachel: No. And I have very severe anxiety so that was surprising for me.

Marlene: So you’ve been using the Alpha-Stim for two months?

Rachel: Yes, about that.

Marlene: And please describe, if you would, if you’ve had any anxiety or any panic attacks since you started using the Alpha-Stim.

Rachel: Well, when I initially got it I did use it for at least an hour a day for the 21 days, as is recommended. I don’t think I’ve had a full-blown panic attack since I started using it, not full-blown. In the beginning, during that 21 days there were times I was feeling more anxious than others, and sometimes I might use it as needed (in addition to the hour that I was using it). But since I started using it, it’s not only something I can use as needed, but it has spaced out my panic attacks and my anxiety about everything. So it’s more manageable now, and I don’t always have to use it, but if it gets severe then I will. So I don’t use it every day now, but it’s a nice healthy way to deal with it when it comes, and it has made my brain more manageable so I can deal with it.

Marlene: Did you experience any side effects?

Rachel: Umm…. No.

Marlene: No headaches or anything?

Rachel: Nothing.

Marlene: Do you think that having Alpha-Stim made any difference to you in completing [chemical dependency] treatment? Or what was it like for you to struggle with having anxiety and then try to engage in a treatment program?

Rachel: Yes, it absolutely helped me be able to stay because the treatment center is a pretty low-key relaxed setting, and because of my anxiety they didn’t think I would be able to handle that. They thought I would need a more high intensity program, and actually thought about sending me to a clinical setting (which is not something I want to be in).

And not only that, but when the panic attacks would come they can be very distracting. It’s hard to listen in a group or if somebody is doing a lecture. I can’t really pay attention to what they’re saying because I’m so distracted with my thoughts. It’s like I don’t even hear them. But after using the Alpha-Stim, and even while using it, I’m able to focus and remember things from the groups, and kind of take things in, which I wasn’t be able to do before because of my anxiety being so distracting.

Marlene: It sounds like it helped you to have more mental clarity.

Rachel: Yes, definitely it did, and that’s not something I got with Ativan because you’re out of it and can’t focus, so it doesn’t really help.

Marlene: Great! Well thank you for talking to us about your experience.

Rachel: Sure!

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