Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time.
Examples of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Phobia
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Whatever form of anxiety you have, Neurofeedback brain training can help.
How Neurofeedback can help anxiety?
With Neurofeedback, you train your brain to remain calm and moderate your response to stress so that anxiety is minimized and occurs less frequently. With sufficient training, your brain learns to maintain healthier patterns.
Neurofeedback has proven to help reduce anxiety long term and allow people to wean off medication with their doctor’s supervision.
What is Neurofeedback training?
Neurofeedback Training is a simple, painless, drugless and non-invasive therapy. It trains the EEG or brainwaves using operant conditioning. Operant conditioning uses auditory and visual feedback to reward the brainwaves when they change in the desired direction to relieve seizures. An individual learns to control his own brainwaves through the help of visual and auditory feedback.
Neurofeedback training is simple, painless, drugless, non-invasive and virtually has no harmful side effects.
How does Neurofeedback work?
Neurofeedback is a way to quantify and train brain activity.
The basic principles of how neurofeedback works are deceptively simple.
Communication between groups of cells in the brain generates thoughts, sensations, actions and emotions. This activity is detectable in the form of brainwaves – electrical impulses generated by your brain activity.
During a neurofeedback session, electrodes detect your brainwaves to see your brain in action. A computer compares your brain activity to targets or goals for you to reach. Through operant conditioning, sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain reaches your goal and when not – when you are activating or suppressing the target area of the brain.
Through this simple method, you learn how to quiet brainwaves associated with anxiety and increase brainwaves associated with optimal brain function. Much like physical exercises strengthen and develop specific muscles, the more your brain is exercised into reaching a new more comfortable, more efficient position, the better and stronger it gets.
How do we decide what needs to change?
A thorough assessment is done to determine what the difficulties a person is experiencing along with the history of the problem, family history, and an assessment of brain functioning. A quantitative EEG (QEEG) is performed to collect data under different conditions, eyes closed, eyes open, reading and doing a performance task. We look at the results of the way the brainwaves are working, and we run the results against a normed data base that is the same as the person’s age, gender and handedness. We determine a direction for treatment based on the symptoms of the individual and the quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG).
How long does it take?
The length of neurofeedback training sessions always depends on the condition, age and health of the patient as well as any other health conditions that are present and need supportive treatment. We find that an average number of sessions to get a significant change to occur are around 20-30 sessions. However, rarely does a case resolve completely in that few sessions. It usually takes around 40 to get the best results. Individuals that have other health concerns need to recognize that Neurofeedback alone cannot do everything and there needs to be a comprehensive understanding and treatment of the overall health problems.