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depression Tag

Neurofeedback News and Research November 2019

Neurofeedback shown to be effective for Major Depressive Disorder

Neurofeedback for Major Depressive DisorderA recent study has shown neurofeedback to be effective in changing the “brain signature” associated with depression and thus alleviating certain recurring thought patterns that are known to trigger a relapse of the disease.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a disorder caused by a set of social, psychological and biological factors, characterized by the continuous loss of interest or pleasure in daily life and the prevalence of negative feelings such as deep sadness, guilt and low self-esteem. MDD effects a large swath of the population of the industrialized world. In the US, the lifetime prevalence of MDD is around 20%- a whopping 1 in 5 people will be affected by this disease sometime in their lives.

Neurofeedback shows great promise as non-invasive, side-effect free treatment for depression. Now it is being investigated as a possible preventative measure as well.

Neurofeedback News and Research March 2019

As the word gradually gets out about this amazing therapy, neurofeedback is increasingly the subject of new and larger scientific studies. We can only hope this powerful therapy will become more widely adopted by conventional medicine, allowing more patients to make improvements in a wide variety of neurological as well as mental health disorders.

This month there are two important new developments- a study on performance enhancement, and one that deals with emotional processing.

Neurofeedback Reduces Stress, Enhances Performance under Difficult Conditions

neurofeedback and performanceWhen the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science publishes a study, the world sits up and takes notice.

The current SEAS faculty include 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering and one Nobel Laureate in a faculty size of 173. In all, the faculty and alumni of Columbia Engineering have won 10 Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.

This recent study on the effects of neurofeedback was entitled “Regulation of arousal via online neurofeedback improves human performance in a demanding sensory-motor task”. The study was based on the idea that humans make better decisions and perform better at demanding sensory motor tasks when they have control over the arousal state of their sympathetic nervous system.

The Latest Advances in the Field of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback, an alternative therapy that involves measuring and then stimulating brain waves until they reach a specific frequency, is a rapidly evolving field. Every month new developments are coming to light, as neurofeedback moves closer to the mainstream. Through research studies and clinical reviews, we are seeing more scientific proof that neurofeedback is effective in treating many different brain- based disorders.

How Does Neurofeedback Work?

qEEG brain scanNeurofeedback starts with a brain map. Using a qEEG, a  neuroimaging technique also known as quantitative electroencephalogram, a neurofeedback specialist compares the frequencies of different areas of a patient’s brain with the known normal ranges. Then a treatment protocol is created designed to raise or lower the aberrant frequencies to within normal ranges.

Treatment is then administered, in the specialist’s office or at home. This involves an electronic interface consisting of a qEEG headband to measure the trained frequencies in real time, and a feedback device, usually a tablet. The patient plays a special type of video game, controlled only by brain activity!

Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder- A Serious Mental Health Issue

bipolar disorder and neurofeedbackBipolar disorder is an increasingly common psychiatric diagnosis representing a very serious disease that often results in severe problems for the sufferer, including mood swings, sadness, anger, anxiety, apathy, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, and even loss of touch with reality.

Characterized by depression, unreasonable euphoric states, severe mood swings, irritability, risk taking behaviors, disorganized behavior, aggression and agitation, Bipolar disorder is often a psychiatric life sentence. The highs and lows of bipolar disorder can commonly drive someone to abuse drugs or alcohol.

It’s prevalence in on the rise. In a given year, bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population 18 and older, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2008 Statistics).

Neurofeedback: News and Research Review May 2017

Neurofeedback: News and Research Review May 2017 Here are some recent developments in neurofeedback we would like to keep you informed of. It's been an exciting month in this fast- developing field. Can neurofeedback help you think your way out of depression? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School...

Why You NEED a qEEG if Considering Psychiatric Medications

Dr. Steven Rondeau, BCIA-EEG

Are you or someone you know currently taking or even thinking about taking psychiatric medications? If so then you definitely need to read this!

qEEG to determine psychiatric medicationsDid you know that currently there are no good lab tests that your doctor can use to know what psychiatric medications may work for you? Occasionally, there may be a questionnaire to fill out that may help narrow your diagnosis, however it doesn’t tell us anything about what your unique brain patterns would look like and how you might respond to treatment. For one person what may look like ADHD on paper may present like anxiety to someone else. You then take your anxiety medication and guess what… your symptoms worsen!

This can be even more complex when one person has multiple diagnoses. Statistically speaking, the more providers you see the more likely you are to end up with more than one label. For example, depression is often accompanied by anxiety. However in a qEEG, or brain map, they look completely opposite. Which means even if a medication helps one set of symptoms, its likely going to aggravate the other.

Neurofeedback and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

neurofeedback and chronic fatigue syndrome

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/trinity/159078562

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Symptoms affect several body systems and may include:

  • weakness
  • muscle pain
  • impaired memory and/or mental concentration
  • depression
  • insomnia, which can result in reduced participation in daily activities [1]

In Western medicine, there is no known cure. Symptoms are treated with medications like antidepressants and tranquilizers depending on the individual patient’s unique symptom presentation. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve muscle and joint aches that often accompany CFS. Fibromyalgia syndrome and CFS are often overlapping conditions.

Treating PTSD with Neurofeedback

PTSD soldier with dogPTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, something outside the normal range of human experience. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as hyperarounsal, difficulty sleeping and mood swings.

The following statistics are based on the U.S. population (from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/):

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.

Neurofeedback and the Treatment of Depression

depression and neurofeedback

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Traditionally, depression has been treated with therapy and medication. Therapy has significant efficacy problems and is often a lengthy process. Many medications can have undesirable side effects. Neurofeedback is increasingly being considered by a growing segment of the scientific community and the public to be an effective treatment for depression and mood disorders.

Common Conditions Treated with Neurofeedback

What is Neurofeedback?

What is Neurofeedback?Neurofeedback is a type of brain training or biofeedback that uses  real-time displays of brain activity—most commonly electroencephalography (EEG)- to train a client to regulate their own brain waves. Neurofeedback is approaching the mainstream- this article in the Washington Post about neurofeedback extols it’s virtues as an adjunct treatment for a wide variety of brain disorders, including PTSD, pain and anxiety.

A neurofeedback session is a bit like playing a video game with your brain. EEG (electoencephlograph) Sensors are placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity, with measurements displayed using video displays or sound. Clients can learn over time and repeated sessions to self- adjust brainwaves back into the normal range, resulting in a reduction of emotional or neurological symptoms.

For those who find it difficult to come into the office regularly for sessions, neurofeedback is also available as a home care therapy. Click here for more information on neurofeedback training at home.

What is Neurofeedback Used For?