Neurofeedback (NFB) is a non-invasive treatment that can help you achieve symptom relief from conditions like anxiety, ADD, and depression. It works to teach you how to regulate your brainwaves by offering real-time feedback through visual and audio cues.
During neurofeedback sessions, electrodes are worn while watching videos or playing games. or listening to music. These activities encourage operant conditioning by showing rewards based on your brainwave responses.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Neurofeedback therapy can help manage anxiety-spectrum disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also help reduce depression, which often co-occurs with anxiety and is characterized by feelings of sadness, low motivation, and hopelessness.
During sessions, you receive real-time feedback as your brain shifts into a more relaxed state. It helps you learn what it feels like to relax and how to do so independently. Once you’ve learned to control your anxiety, you can continue practicing this ability even after your sessions end.
One study showed that neurofeedback training can improve mood and decrease depressive symptoms by regulating frontal lobe activity. Theta wave neurofeedback can be particularly effective for reducing depression because it’s associated with positive emotions and promoting calmness. It is also non-invasive, self-generated, and controlled by the patient, which significantly reduces the chance of unwanted side effects.
Neurofeedback therapy involves the placement of electrodes on the head to monitor brainwaves and provide real-time feedback. For example, if you produce beta waves, the screen will brighten; if you inhibit those same brainwaves, the screen will dim. Over time, you can learn to control your brainwaves and improve your mental health.
Regarding ADD and ADHD, neurofeedback therapy helps restore the prefrontal cortex as the dominant brainwave and increases focus, concentration, and impulse control. It also reduces the negative symptoms of anxiety and depression while fostering better mood regulation.
You can find neurofeedback therapists in your area by using an online directory that allows you to narrow your search based on qualifications and specialties. It’s important to visit potential therapists before starting treatment and ensure you feel safe, respected, and heard. Finding an experienced therapist that meets your needs may take a while, but it’s well worth the effort.
Neurofeedback can help with sleep, which can be a problem for many people. Studies have shown that patients can improve their sleep patterns when they learn to inhibit specific brain wave frequencies.
Over time, most clients who receive neurofeedback therapy report that they can sleep better. The treatment helps them re-learn what it feels like to be calm.
During a neurofeedback session, electrodes are placed on the scalp, and brainwave patterns are monitored. The results are then displayed as lines, graphs, or simple video games on a computer screen.
The patient can practice inhibiting specific brain wave frequencies and increasing others, similar to how they would exercise a muscle. It allows them to become more skilled at reaching their goal. It is one of the benefits of neurofeedback therapy that has been shown to benefit anxiety disorders, ADD and ADHD, and other neurological and mental health conditions.
Increases Cognitive Function
Neurofeedback is a form of brain training combining operant conditioning with real-time feedback. During a session, electrodes on the scalp track brainwaves, and a specialist returns that data to you via a video screen. During the feedback, you learn to inhibit specific frequencies and increase others.
For example, if you’re experiencing anxiety, increasing alpha waves and decreasing beta waves may help. Similarly, if you’re experiencing depression, improving mood regulation by inhibiting delta waves and increasing theta waves can bring relief.
The way that neurofeedback works is by rewarding the brain for maintaining healthy, efficient brainwave patterns. These rewards, whether music, a movie, or a video game, are shown on the computer in real time. It helps to encourage the brain to “prune” dysfunctional patterns and develop healthy ones. Neurofeedback can be used alone or with talk therapy and psychiatric drugs.