Neurofeedback does not specifically target any disorder. Instead Neurofeedback changes timing and activation patterns in the brain. The goal is to slowly guide your brain back into normal, healthy ranges and reconnect neural pathways that have been disconnected. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which in turn impacts a variety of symptoms.
There is a significant amount of research available showing the effects of neurofeedback on various neurological conditions. To view this comprehensive research, please click one of the boxes below.
Neurofeedback is intended for people with neurological and nervous system conditions. Here is a list of symptoms that are shown in research studies to be clinically responsive to neurofeedback:
• ADD / ADHD
• ANGER MANAGEMENT
• AUTISM / ASPERGER'S
• BIPOLAR DISORDER
• BRAIN INJURY
• CHRONIC PAIN
• HEAD INJURIES
• LYME DISEASE
• MEMORY LOSS
• OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)
• PARKINSON'S DISEASE
• POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
• SLEEP DISORDERS
• SUBSTANCE ABUSE
• WEIGHT LOSS
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM NEUROFEEDBACK
Anxiety sufferers are often overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out. Some can't concentrate due to their intense internal focus. Others obsess about specific things. Anxiety is easily detected if someone appears outwardly nervous. At other times, anxious people can appear calm but their brain seems to never quiet down. They can't stop thinking. The constant internal chatter can get so bad that it interrupts their sleeping and steals their quality of life. They don't live in the present, they constantly worry about the future or live in the past. Helping people learn to calm or quiet themselves is by far the best and most effective solution for anxiety. Learning to decrease anxiety gives sufferers hope as they take control of their lives. Biofeedback and EEG neurofeedback are two of the quickest and fastest ways to teach people to learn to help themselves, and it's easy to learn. These technologies have been used for many years with solid, proven results. It's true, one can learn how to decrease anxiety and remain calmer with neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback training has been used with several thousand autistic spectrum children over the last 15 years, by hundreds of clinicians. There have been several research studies published to support these efforts. What's the first thing parents consistently report as their children start training? They usually notice their child is calmer, manages emotions better, and doesn't get overwhelmed as easily. There are many other changes, as noted below, but these are typically the first.
Brain training via neurofeedback teaches the brain to maintain a consistent state. Learning self-regulation allows a person to achieve mood stabilization. After beginning neurofeedback, clients commonly comment that they can once again "trust their brain." What does this mean? Bipolar clients undergoing neurofeedback training report less susceptibility to mood swings, increased ability to focus, and reduced anger. Their ability to function increases as they find themselves less reactive and increasingly able to respond and act appropriately.
Pain is one of several sensory systems that keep us apprised of the status of our bodies. As we hurry through our daily lives, we usually view pain at the very least as an inconvenience, if not a major disruption. It's fortunate that we have our pain sensors - they provide a valuable warning to us that we need to stop and take care of ourselves. For chronic pain, neurofeedback can help reduce pain or perhaps how the brain manages pain, even in severe cases.
Feeling down or depressed from time to time happens to most people. Usually such feelings pass, and a person can improve his or her mood naturally. However, some people cannot break out of a depressed state over an extended period of time. In those cases, a person is considered to have clinical depression. However, there is much research that shows that depression is neurological, not psychological. Certain brain patterns are frequently linked to depression. Therefore, training the brain through neurofeedback has a powerful ability to treat depression. With neurofeedback training, the brain practices a healthy pattern of mood regulation. Sometimes people with depression notice improvement after only a few sessions. However, for the brain to fully learn, more training is required. In time, the brain learns to regulate mood on its own.
A seizure disorder can be explained as a brain that has lost stability. People with seizures can regulate and stabilize their brains through neurofeedback training. Eighteen well-run research studies show how effective neurofeedback training can be in the reduction of seizures. Interestingly, this research began with studies performed on cats. In an experiment to determine neurofeedback's effectiveness to combat seizures, it was found that cats with neurofeedback training, when exposed to a chemical, experienced far fewer seizures than those without the training.
At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term, sleep disorders. An additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool for helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. Over 3,000 licensed health professionals such as psychologists, therapists, and doctors now use this new technology daily with patients. As a group, they report significant and consistent improvements for client sleep problems. Many brain training options can help as well as making lifestyle changes and changes in sleep "hygiene". A skilled neurofeedback clinician can review many different options with clients to help them assess what's most appropriate for their problem, including several brain regulating technologies such as Alpha-Stim and Brain Music.
Many of the methods used and promoted to help people with learning disabilities are intended to help a person compensate for, or work around, their learning difficulties. Neurofeedback actually improves learning skills by training the areas of the brain relevant to learning or executing skills such as math, reading, and auditory and visual processing. Research studies show that several areas of the brain coordinate in the learning process. These separate parts of the brain communicate with each other at extremely fast speeds. If the timing of the communication is even slightly off, there can be impairment in the ability to learn. New research shows that this "connectivity training" seems to consistently improve learning difficulties. Neurofeedback training can improve the coordination and communication between different areas of the brain. Improved timing in the brain has a significant impact on one's ability to learn. Neurofeedback directly targets the coordination and communication between areas of the brain to improve timing, and therefore learning.
Although neurofeedback training can stop a migraine while it is occurring, stopping individual migraines is not the main goal. Training with neurofeedback can be very effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraines over the long term providing real relief for people suffering from migraines. Deborah Stokes, Ph.D, a neurofeedback clinician in Alexandria, VA. recently published a study that showed significant improvement in migraines using neurofeedback. The study was co-authored with Martha S. Lappin and entitled "Neurofeedback and biofeedback with 37 migraineurs: a clinical outcome study". The study found that, with neurofeedback, 70% of migraine sufferers have a significant reduction in the frequency of their migraines.
OCD & OBSESSIVE THINKING
With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a person can't stop repeating specific behaviors or stop his or her brain from repeating particular thoughts. A substantial body of research shows that problems with OCD are related to the functioning of areas in the front of the brain. If that part of the brain is working too slowly or quickly, a person is unable to stop repeating certain thoughts or behaviors. Many therapists and other health professionals using neurofeedback to treat OCD note marked reductions in OCD symptoms in their clients after neurofeedback training. People with OCD relate that, after neurofeedback training, they do not really need to make an effort to stop unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors. They say that their minds are much quieter. With neurofeedback training, the brain learns to respond to situations in a more conventional and healthy manner.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious type of anxiety caused by an extremely stressful event or series of events. People who suffer from PTSD are looking for a method to treat their symptoms, and unfortunately, many people experience only limited benefit after trying various therapies and medication. Neurofeedback trains the brain to produce a calm state as well as regulate stress response. In addition, the specific areas of the brain affected by PTSD can be targeted. Frequently, the first sign of improvement is that a client sleeps better. Then other symptoms begin to improve. After sufficient training, someone with PTSD can maintain a calm state on his or her own. When a person has reached this stable state, neurofeedback treatments can be decreased until no further trainings are necessary.
STROKE & TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Stroke and TBI involve injuries to the brain. Therefore, to treat those injuries, the brain itself needs to be targeted. With neurofeedback, the brain is exercised. Brain training is completely individualized, and the specific areas of the brain affected by the stroke or TBI are targeted during neurofeedback therapy. Often in the case of stroke and TBI, a neurofeedback practitioner will utilize a qEEG brain map to determine which areas should be targeted. A variety of symptoms can be improved through neurofeedback training, such as speech, movement, mood regulation, behavior control, and headache reduction. Neurofeedback works because the brain regulates each of these issues. For people recovering from stroke and TBI, neurofeedback training can be particularly helpful in improving speech. During neurofeedback training, the specific areas of the brain related to speech can be targeted. In this way, the areas associated with speech can be strengthened and improved. In fact, some neuropsychologists believe that neurofeedback is actually rehabilitating the damaged speech areas of the brain rather than just dealing with compensation.
Many people think addiction is due to a lack of self-discipline, but addiction is physiological, not psychological. People with addiction are often called "weak" by their family and friends, but addiction is a disease, and it is very hard to change. Addicts struggle with emotions such as guilt and shame, anger and frustration. Addiction is a brain disease, a mental health disorder that severely debilitates a person in all aspects of his or her life. In addition, people with addiction frequently suffer from other mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Neurofeedback targets the brain disorder of addiction. Through neurofeedback, a person's brain is retrained. Teaching the brain how to be calm, focused, and relaxed helps a person think more clearly. Neurofeedback training provides a solid base on which to build recovery and prevent relapses. It helps teach the tools one needs to cope long term.
For a brief overview of how neurofeedback can help with various neurological conditions, please see the conditions listed below.
People with ADD can have a variety of symptoms. They can be easily distracted, impulsive, and inattentive However, ADD is not laziness or a psychological problem – it's a brain problem. Doctors know ADD is not laziness; that's why they prescribe medications. Unlike medication, neurofeedback trains the brain, resulting in significant improvement in ADHD/ADD symptoms, With neurofeedback, people can increase self-control and attention. According to health professionals who use neurofeedback in their practices, over 85% of clients with ADD/ADHD learn to increase focus, reduce impulsivity, and manage their behavior when they train with neurofeedback on a consistent basis.
EPILEPSY / SEIZURES
OCD / TOURRETTE'S