Treating anxiety disorders and other mood disorders is a very delicate process for doctors, therapists and patients. Each individual is unique, where different types of anxiety disorders can respond differently to various forms of treatment.
One major aspect to consider in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders is the severity of side effects in direct conjunction with many medications. These medications can become addictive, and it is not uncommon for them to be abused.
However, there is one anxiety treatment that is gaining major attention from the scientific and medical communities, as well as among those suffering with mood and anxiety disorders. This treatment method is known as direct neurofeedback. It can be used as a primary or complementary treatment for those suffering with anxiety. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this noninvasive treatment.
Brain Training: What is Direct Neurofeedback?
Direct Neurofeedback can be described as “rebooting a computer.” The mind is much like an advanced computer, and direct neurofeedback can essentially help to rewrite the software of your brain. It can assist in stimulating brain waves that are frozen, stuck or repeating.
Mood and anxiety disorders can come along with some strong/repetitive feelings, attitudes, cognitive receptors and pin-pointed behaviors. Direct neurofeedback can cause a disruption of brain patterns that are considered dysfunctional or abnormal. Think of it like resetting the brain back to its “factory settings.” This leaves room for healthy and productive thought patterns that can lead to healthier behaviors.
Enacting direct neurofeedback in anxiety treatment consists of connecting electrodes to the patient’s head to measure brain waves. But don’t worry – these electrodes do not cause any pain. They do emit very tiny, undetectable signals that work to help “rewire” the brain throughout several treatment sessions.
Improvements start slow in the beginning but pick up after sessions continue. Eventually, these improvements can be permanent, leading to the need for no further treatment. Dr. Dubin of the Dubin Clinic explains that many patients do not require further treatment after about 20 sessions. While this may seem like a lot to some, it is nothing in comparison to a lifetime of medications, therapy, counseling and other treatment methods.
In addition to mood disorder and anxiety treatment, direct neurofeedback has been studied in the use of the following disorders:
- ADHD treatment
- Depression (this is one type of mood disorder)
- PTSD treatment (this is classified as a type of anxiety disorder)
- Treatment of TBI and memory loss
- Autism treatment
- Pain management
- And more…
Please remember that direct neurofeedback is not considered a cure for these disorders, but is a promising form of treatment. It can be used as a complementary treatment alongside medications and therapy or counseling. Alternatively, it can be used alone. This is up to the doctors and patients to decide after a diagnosis has been made and options are discussed.
How is Direct Neurofeedback Used in Anxiety Treatment?
Anxiety and mood disorders (like depression and general anxiety) are two of the most common mental disorders in America. It is estimated that 40 million adults in America are suffering with a mood or anxiety disorder. That is almost 20% of the population.
Another alarming statistic is that less than 40% of those suffering seek treatment. Many people may fear medications with intense side effects or the possibility of addiction. However, direct neurofeedback is an option to try without physical side effects or the possibility of substance abuse.
There are numerous forms of anxiety disorders that can be medically diagnosed and accounted for. Two common types that have been studied with the use of direct neurofeedback are: general anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research with neurofeedback in the treatment of these disorders has shown expansive promise and hopeful results.
Anxiety treatment with direct neurofeedback may involve feedback given to the patient in the form of sounds or video images. This can be positive or negative feedback based upon the brain activity that is occurring. Again, within about 20 sessions, many patients have long-lasting results.
The use of direct neurofeedback in mood disorder and anxiety treatment shows much promise for the future of noninvasive treatments. If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering with a mood or anxiety disorder, please reach out to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. If you have any other unanswered questions or concerns, please visit/contact the Dubin clinic website by clicking here.