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neurofeedback Tag

Neurofeedback- a Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders

neurofeedback for autism

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/57570482@N06/

On March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

From the National Institute for Mental Health (NIHM):

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders. ASD includes a wide range, “a spectrum,” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability.

People with ASD often have these characteristics:

  • Ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others
  • Repetitive behaviors as well as limited interests or activities
  • Symptoms that typically are recognized in the first two years of life
  • Symptoms that hurt the individual’s ability to function socially, at school or work, or other areas of life

Some people are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled.[1]

Traditional therapies are limited to medication and behavioral therapy, both of which can provide some assistance with the wide range of challenges someone on the spectrum of autism might encounter. Neurofeedback has shown great promise as a tool to help patients on the spectrum with various symptoms, including speech, motor and sensory integration issues, and sociability.

Pain Management with the Assistance of Neurofeedback

chronic painChronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, and like many complex disorders is best handled by a team of health care practitioners. Chronic (long lasting) pain is associated with a shorter life span, as well as co-morbidity with heart and respiratory disease. People with chronic pain tend to have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

In Western medicine, the first line of defense is opioid pain killers, which often come with side effects, and can cause other health problems. Psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown to be helpful. With alternative therapies such as neurofeedback, acupuncture,  or yoga, pain can be managed without side effects, decreasing the need for medication, decreasing co-morbidity with other illnesses, and improving the patient’s overall quality of life.

Neurofeedback and Post- Stroke Recovery

neurofeedback for stroke recoveryStroke remains a leading cause of long-term disability in the United States at a cost of $38 billion per year. About 650,000 persons survive a new stroke yearly and 7 million Americans live with the complications of stroke [1]. Conventional therapy has traditionally involved physical, occupational, and speech therapy, but changes in protocols are currently occurring at a rapid rate due to new scientific discoveries.

Pharmacologic interventions, cell-based and biologic therapies are expensive and come with a wide variety of side effects. Neurofeedback is non-invasive, completely safe and side- effect free, and cost effective compared with conventional medicine.

Recently neurofeedback has gotten some deserved recognition as a viable therapy for post-stroke recovery, even years after the event. A number of studies have confirmed what neurofeedback therapists have known for years- neurofeedback can bring about profound improvements in stroke recovery outcome.

Neurofeedback for Addiction Treatment

Neurofeedback for Addiction TreatmentThe field of addiction treatment has been struggling for years to improve it’s overall efficacy rate. An exciting addition to the tool box has come recently through the widespread rise in the use of neurofeedback for addiction treatment. Research suggests that neurofeedback training can be helpful for those who are struggling with addiction.

As is being recognized, addiction is a multi- faceted disease that requires an integrated treatment approach. The traditional model of 12- step based recovery is outmoded and has been shown to be widely ineffective in keeping addicts or alcoholics clean and sober. The view is that addicts are morally flawed and lacking in willpower is a stigma the disease is only starting to overcome.

Treating PTSD with Neurofeedback

A veteran with PTSDPTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has gotten a lot of press lately as many veterans return from the wars in the middle east with trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as

These cases are often complicated by TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury. In fact, the two can be intrinsically related and co-generating. Depression is often the result. Neurofeedback treats both conditions, so is becoming one of the complementary therapies of choice in the treatment of PTSD.