Addressing Depression and Anxiety With Neurofeedback

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There are numerous biological predispositions to anxiety and sadness. Anxiety and mood disorders are two of the most frequent types of mental diseases. These illnesses are debilitating and come at a high cost on an economic, societal, and personal level.

Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are two standard treatment approaches for such diseases. However, a new study indicates that drugs for anxiety, depression, and related symptoms like sleeplessness are marginally more beneficial than placebo therapies. Furthermore, not all patients respond favorably to medicine or psychotherapy, and they frequently endure unpleasant side effects.

The good news is that other therapeutic methods, such as biofeedback, can be highly beneficial. Biofeedback is a non-invasive therapeutic technique that allows patients to receive feedback on how their body or brain operates and then utilize that information to improve that function. In biofeedback therapy, a person’s psychophysiological condition is captured by special sensors that detect heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, or brain activity. After receiving this information, the patient can attempt to adjust his or her heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, or brain activity.

A biofeedback gadget, for example, can display that your heart rate is racing at 100; then, you can take deep breaths for 10-15 minutes, and your heart rate progressively drops to 80-90. If you do this exercise twice a day for two months, your baseline heart rate will become calmer — even if you are not concentrating on breathing gently. Over time, such medication can improve your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Biofeedback therapy for anxiety and sadness

Therapy Using Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback therapy, often known as Neurotherapy, is a sort of biofeedback. Neurofeedback is a research-based solution that uses brain training activities to improve brain function.

When you are anxious or agitated, your brain cells can become overactive. However, if you receive feedback on how hyperactive your brain is, it can “learn” to quiet down (just as you can appreciate how fast your heart is racing if you have a device that measures your pulse). Sensors put on your head can measure the electrical activity of your brain (known as “brain waves”) (similar to EKG sensors that are used to measure heart activity). Neurofeedback uses computer technology to train a patient’s brain to improve brainwave patterns. The input is given to the patient in real-time, either through video images or by noises. Neurofeedback can result in behavioral modifications that promote relaxation and a better mood.

Repeated exercise of brain networks, such as that involved in neurofeedback, has been shown in brain science to have the power to alter the brain. It aids in the optimization of brain wave patterns as well as the strengthening of connections between neurons and networks. Neurofeedback therapy also strengthens the parasympathetic neural system, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Many patients report a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms after 20-60 sessions of neurofeedback.

Anxiety and Depression Can Be Helped With Neurofeedback
Over the last 30 years, a large body of empirical evidence has been gathered to support the effectiveness of neurofeedback as a therapy technique for anxiety and depression. Anxiety and/or depression were reduced in each trial following three months of neurofeedback training.

An approach for lowering anxiety with neurofeedback was demonstrated in a study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Stress might be indicated by poor emotion regulation. These deficiencies are connected to decreased prefrontal regulatory control (the “logical regions of the brain”) over the amygdala, a part of the brain associated with emotions such as anxiety. Fortunately, this deficit is amenable to therapy using neurofeedback, which results in a reduction in anxiety feelings.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that when the left frontal region of the brain is more active than the right frontal region, a person’s mood is optimistic – and that when the right frontal part is more involved than the left, the attitude is negative. This well-established discovery is used in neurofeedback therapy to treat depression. Multiple controlled investigations found that neurofeedback therapy increased mood by training the left frontal lobe of the brain to be more active than the right.

Dr. Majid Fotuhi and his colleagues discovered that neurofeedback therapy, particularly when combined with another type of biofeedback that required gently breathing (called Heart Rate Variability training), can be highly successful for lowering symptoms of both anxiety and depression. They assessed the symptoms using the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) symptom checklist. 183 of the 334 individuals exhibited abnormal sadness, anxiety, or both scores. Clients improved significantly after 30 sessions of neurofeedback and heart rate variability training during the trial. More importantly, after treatment, many of the clients returned to the usual group. And, among clients who had the most severe anxiety and depression symptoms, 57.1 percent of those with severe anxiety and 45.8 percent of those with severe depression returned to the standard group after therapy.

Much additional recent research has shown that neurofeedback is a viable therapeutic option for people suffering from anxiety, depression, and related symptoms such as poor sleep, difficulties paying attention, and brain fog. More information can be found by clicking here.

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