Mental illness has long been shadowed by stigma. This stigma kept people from seeking help and limited the options people had when they did try to seek help. Luckily for those suffering there has been an opening of support and resources for all types of mental illness, including several new safe forms of therapy.
Neurofeedback therapy sounds like something out of science fiction, but it quickly becomes an effective way to treat a variety of mental disorders including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and addiction. Let’s learn more about neurofeedback therapy including what it is, how it works, and how neurofeedback therapy can help your unique condition.
How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?
Neurofeedback therapy is a type of biofeedback therapy. Biofeedback therapy is the process undergoing therapy and monitoring involuntary processes throughout the body like heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, respiration rate and much more. In biofeedback therapy, these levels are recorded through sophisticated and modern equipment including electrocardiograms, electromyography, and more to get accurate readings.
Once baseline readings are measured and recorded the patient will then undertake specific therapies and techniques to bring these numbers to normal levels. Doctors and other treatment professionals will continue to measure these different physiological levels over the course of treatment to determine efficacy.
All neurofeedback therapy is biofeedback therapy, but neurofeedback differs in that it only deals directly with the brain. Therapists use an electroencephalogram or quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG) and (QEEG) to help study electrical activity in the brain while therapy is underway to see which are misfiring, not firing at all, or where else your brain needs help.
During therapy doctors and other treatment professionals will continue administering EEGs and QEEGs to see what’s working, what type of therapy is helping what part of the brain, and what can be changed to make treatment more effective. Active brain monitoring during therapy is what sets neurofeedback apart from any other type of treatment. Doctors can literally watch progress live.
With neurofeedback treatment professionals can target a certain area of the brain that could be causing issues and address future therapy programs to address that specific sector. Neurofeedback therapy traditionally requires multiple sessions spread over several weeks.
What Treatment Is Used With Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback only helps identify the specific parts of your brain that need help but is not a treatment itself. Think of it like this, if you’re trying to fix underground plumbing you can use a camera to locate the issue, but the fix will still need to be made by a person, identifying the problem doesn’t automatically fix it.
In neurofeedback therapy, doctors and mental health professionals will use your data and biological markers to customize a treatment for you. After your neurofeedback is studied clinicians can use safe and effective therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, dialectal behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or other therapies. The idea is to rewire the part(s) of your brain that needs help. After several sessions, you may begin feeling better or have a more positive outlook that shows on your EEG or QEEG.
What Is Neurofeedback Therapy Used To Treat?
- Anxiety Disorders
Being worried occasionally is perfectly normal but overwhelming anxiety, unfounded fears, and panic attacks are not normal. Anxiety disorders can stem from both the external environment and your own brain, but neurofeedback therapy can be used to map and fix the problem areas in your head. Neurofeedback therapy is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, OCD, PTSD, and other panic disorders.
- Mood Disorders
Mood disorders include bipolar disorder, major depression, post-partum depression, and several others. In cases of clinical depression, it is almost a certainty that’s something is wrong with the brain’s natural chemistry. By isolating the problem area neurofeedback therapy can monitor how medication or therapy is helping.
- Neurological Disorders
Neurofeedback therapy may also be used to treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and seizure disorders through neurofeedback is almost always used in conjunction with other medication and efforts against severe neurological disorders.
Neurofeedback has shown beneficial in treating several types of disorders both big and small. Neurofeedback therapy can be used for ADHD, chronic insomnia, autism spectrum disorders, and many more.
Neurofeedback Therapy and Addiction
Neurofeedback has become more routine to treat addiction, especially in cases of dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a unique situation that involves one or more mental disorders together with addiction. Doctors and other personnel must attack both fronts for the most successful results. Neurofeedback has been shown effective in treating both addiction and the above-mentioned disorders. It never hurts to have another tool like neurofeedback when fighting addiction.
Are There Side Effects?
What’s the point in getting treatment for your addiction or mood disorder if the side effects are worse than the condition? This can be true of certain psychiatric medication but not neurofeedback therapy. Neurofeedback is non-invasive and 100% safe. At the very worst neurofeedback therapy may not work well for you and waste some time.
In neurofeedback therapy, clinicians are simply measuring certain levels of your involuntary reflexes as an indicator of your treatment’s progression. The only pain you can expect is when the clinician monitoring your readings removes your patch (it might accidentally pluck a few arm hairs.)
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Neurofeedback therapy is safe, non-invasive, and effective. Since its inception neurofeedback therapy has been used to treat mood disorders, mental disorders, addiction, and much more. If you or a loved one is suffering from the above issues and think neurofeedback therapy can help, make the call to a local treatment center or psychiatric practice to get an appointment scheduled today.