Depression and anxiety orders are two of the most common mental illnesses in the US. It’s reported that almost 40 million Americans live with some form of anxiety, while over 16 million Americans have at least gone through one episode of depression in a year.
The numbers paint a terrifying picture, yet it can be challenging to find the right treatment.
The majority of healthcare professionals recommend medication, meditation, and talking therapy. No doubt, all of these methods are quite effective. However, it can take some time for them to produce the desired results, and they may cause side effects as well.
So, is there an alternative treatment method that works quickly and doesn’t cause any side effects?
Yes, there is: neurofeedback therapy.
But what exactly is it? And is what people say about it true?
Well, there’s only one way to find out.
What Are Brainwaves?
To understand neurofeedback therapy, first, it’s essential to know how our brains work.
The human brain produces electrical impulses – known as brainwaves – between brain cells. They’re responsible for our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Whenever we’re feeling anxious or stressed out, the brain cells malfunction. As a result, our mind becomes overly reactive to threats and gets fixated on negative memories, which, in turn, causes brain inflammation.
But your brain can teach the cells to calm down through neurofeedback therapy.
What Is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Also known as neurotherapy, neurofeedback therapy refers to measuring your brainwaves using an EEG machine. After that, depending on how hyperactive your brain cells are, a few intensive brain training exercises are suggested.
Fortunately, neurofeedback therapy, for the most part, is a low-effort, simple, and painless procedure. In fact, the only thing you need to do is sit back, relax, and watch your favorite film or listen to your favorite song. As you’re doing so, the EEG measures your brainwaves using small sensors placed on your scalp.
If your brainwaves get too high, it indicates anxious thoughts. When that happens, the screen will be dimmed, so your mind focuses on the video instead of the anxious thoughts.
During a typical 30-minute session, this can happen multiple times, allowing your brain to improve. After a few sessions, your mind becomes much better at staying within the lines and helps you gain control of your thoughts.
Treating Depression with Neurofeedback Therapy
An individual can be depressed for many reasons. With that said, scientists have discovered that a person can suffer from depression if there’s an imbalance between the left and right frontal lobes of the brain. The brainwave activity becomes much slower on the left side, making people feel tired, disinterested, and unmotivated. Neurofeedback helps restore balance and boosts your self-esteem. Additionally, it can:
Whenever we’re feeling good, happy, or positive, the left frontal area of our brain becomes much more active than the right area. On the other hand, if you’re feeling depressed, isolated, or lonely, the right lobe becomes more active than the left one. In neurofeedback therapy, your therapist can intentionally target the left frontal part of your brain, improving your mood and reducing symptoms of depression.
Feeling worthless, consistently blaming yourself for everything, and believing things won’t get better are the most common symptoms of depression. And often, these can occur when there’s low-to-no connectivity between the right anterior superior temporal and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) parts of the brain. But neurofeedback therapy can manipulate the connectivity, making you feel less vulnerable.
The Answer Is…
To sum up the blog: yes, neurofeedback therapy is an effective alternative for neurobehavioral problems treatment. Moreover, since it’s all about teaching your brain how to heal itself, the effects can be permanent.
If you’d like to know more about neurofeedback therapy, feel free to get in touch with us at Central Florida Neuropsychology. We follow an educational approach to address your mental health issues and thus, promote healthy minds, bodies, and behaviors.