Neurofeedback: How Optimizing Your Brain Can Help Treat Depression and Anxiety
Neurofeedback, also referred to as electroencephalography (EEG) biofeedback, is a type of brainwave training used to teach the brain how to operate at its fullest capacity. Neurofeedback is sometimes mistaken as biofeedback; however, it is crucial to note the differences between biofeedback and neurofeedback.
Biofeedback refers to a method used to obtain information about the body, such as tracking skin temperature or blood pressure. It promotes the use of conditioning to help people gain control over involuntary body processes.
Comparatively, neurofeedback focuses on feedback from brainwaves. It helps people gain control over neurological issues and prevent them from recurring.
Neurofeedback to treat depression and anxiety is now an available form of treatment. In addition to treating depression, neurofeedback is commonly used to address the following issues:
- Brain injury
A typical neurofeedback training session involves the use of advanced computer technology that helps to optimize the brain’s performance. To start a neurofeedback session, a provider asks a patient a series of questions; that way, the provider can evaluate the patient and ensure he or she is a good candidate for neurofeedback.
During a training session, sensors are placed on top of a patient’s ears and scalp. These sensors enable a neurofeedback technician to analyze the patient’s brain activity and examine frequencies that regulate brain function. The sensors are only used to examine electrical activity from the brain, and they do not administer any frequencies to the brain.
As a patient’s brain activity is monitored, he or she watches fractal images created from brain activity. Meanwhile, neurofeedback training is used to help the patient regulate his or her brain’s performance. In doing so, neurofeedback drives self-regulation of the brain.
Neurofeedback sessions require anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to complete. Side effects of neurofeedback are minimal, and patients usually require several treatment sessions to achieve the best possible results.
With neurofeedback, the brain gradually heals itself via neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to recognize synaptic connections. Neuroplasticity promotes nervous system changes and helps a patient achieve long-lasting neurofeedback training results.
As a neurofeedback session progresses, a patient’s brain generally transitions from an uncomfortable state to a more focused and relaxed state. This ultimately trains the brain to control arousal and excitement levels, enabling a patient to use neurofeedback to treat depression and anxiety.
Is Neurofeedback a Safe, Effective Treatment for Depression and Anxiety?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has cited neurofeedback as a “Level 1” treatment for evidence-based child and adolescent psychological interventions. Additionally, neurofeedback patients sometimes report improved mood, more restful sleep, and increased focus following treatment.
At the same time, it is important to remember that depression and anxiety treatment results vary. Thus, it is paramount to consult with a doctor to evaluate different depression and anxiety treatment options. This allows an individual to work with a doctor to determine a safe and effective way to treat depression and anxiety symptoms.
Doctors sometimes recommend antidepressant medications to combat depression and anxiety. These medications may help an individual address his or her depression and anxiety symptoms. Conversely, they may also cause nausea, vomiting, and other intolerable side effects. In certain instances, antidepressants have no impact, and patients continue to experience depression and anxiety symptoms despite their medication use.
Also, doctors may recommend neurofeedback and other alternative therapies to alleviate depression and anxiety. Alternative therapies used to treat depression and anxiety include:
- Ketamine Therapy: Ketamine therapy involves the use of an FDA-approved anesthetic shown to relieve depression and anxiety symptoms. It delivers results similar to those associated with antidepressants, but these results may last only a few days or weeks.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, commonly referred to as “talk therapy,” helps an individual build the coping skills necessary to deal with depression and anxiety. Many forms of psychotherapy are available, including individual, play, and group therapy options. Each type of psychotherapy is designed to help a patient identify the root cause of depression and anxiety symptoms and explore ways to treat these symptoms.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses to stimulate neurons in the brain. It is non-invasive, has few side effects, and does not require any medications. Plus, TMS therapy is FDA-approved to help treat and heal the brain.
There is no shortage of depression and anxiety therapies, and choosing the right treatment may be difficult. Fortunately, Achieve Medical Center is a unique, multidisciplinary, private psychiatric and mental health practice that helps patients find the right depression and anxiety therapy.
At Achieve Medical Center, our philosophy is to deliver comprehensive and compassion care to children and adults. To accomplish our mission, we work as a team to analyze our patients on a biological, psychological, and social level. This enables us to help each patient discover the best way to manage his or her depression and anxiety symptoms.
Schedule a Neurofeedback Training Consultation at Achieve Medical Center
For individuals who are considering neurofeedback or other alternative depression and anxiety therapies, Achieve Medical Center is available. We offer six locations in Southern California and three locations in Oregon, along with expert staff who understand what it takes to treat depression and anxiety symptoms. We also allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about our patients and their depression and anxiety treatment goals. In doing so, we work closely with each of our patients to help them achieve long-lasting depression and anxiety symptom relief.
Achieve Medical Center provides free consultations for individuals who are considering neurofeedback or other depression and anxiety therapy options. To schedule a consultation with Achieve Medical Center, please call us today at (858) 427-5060.