What Is Neurotherapy And Neurofeedback?

About neurofeedback

How Brain Therapy Helps

Neurotherapy, also known as neurofeedback (NFB) or electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, is a type of therapy that uses electrical brainwave activity to help people learn to control their thoughts and behavior.

It’s literally a type of biofeedback for the brain.

Neurofeedback is based on operant conditioning, a type of training that involves rewarding patients to inhibit certain brain wave frequencies and increase other frequencies.

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What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a process in which people learn to gain control over their bodily functions and feelings by learning to recognize the signals of those functions.

Neurotherapy/neurofeedback uses EEG readings from electrodes placed on the scalp to give people information about their brain wave activity. By responding to this feedback, users can learn how to adjust and control their brain activity to affect their mental and emotional states.

For example, neurotherapy can help people with anxiety by teaching them how to control the amount of stress hormones in their body. It can also assist with ADHD, depression, insomnia, and even addiction.

Research has shown that EEG biofeedback has been effective in helping people with these conditions by teaching them to recognize their emotional and mental states. It can also help people learn how to actively modify the activity in their brain, helping them to better manage stress, improve concentration, and increase relaxation.

The success rate commonly quoted by clinicians and in published scientific research for neurofeedback for certain conditions is 75%-80%.

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EEG biofeedback is often used in conjunction with psychotherapy and other treatments. For example, if someone is struggling with depression, their therapist may recommend EEG biofeedback in addition to cognitive therapy.

Neurotherapy sessions require some equipment so they are conducted in clinical settings with a trained professional. This professional will attach sensors to the patient’s scalp. These sensors read the electrical signals that your brain produces and then displays them as graphs or sounds on a computer screen.

The patient (that’s you) will be watching the screen for visual feedback. This helps them to learn how to control the patterns that appear in the readout. You’ll do this by relaxing and focusing on a particular task, such as trying to make your breathing slow down.

It’s like playing a video game or a computer game with your mind.

During these neurotherapy sessions, the patient will be taught techniques on how to self-regulate the activity within their brain. This could include deep breathing and relaxation exercises such as meditation or guided imagery.

It may seem that this type of therapy is new but in actuality, it’s been studied by researchers for decades.

Neurotherapy is based on the premise that we can use information from the brain to identify patterns of maladaptive thinking and behavior that may be interfering with our ability to function in everyday life.

Through neurotherapy, we can learn how to modify and manage these patterns, allowing us to create healthier patterns and lead more productive lives.

It is important to note that neurotherapy should not be used as a standalone treatment and should always be used in conjunction with other therapies or medications as appropriate.

Though many of the studies were designed to target a particular condition, neurofeedback does not directly target conditions. Instead, it elicits change in a variety of brain-based conditions by harnessing the brain’s capacity to change itself when it is not operating properly.

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Neurotherapy is a non-invasive, safe and effective treatment option for those suffering from anxiety. It can be used as an alternative to medications or in conjunction with them.

For individuals who have tried other treatment options without success, neurotherapy may be a viable option.

In this article I’ll explain the many positive changes you may be able to expect from this type of therapy and answer some common questions that I hear from my patients about neurotherapy.

Is Neurotherapy The Same As Brain Mapping?

No, neurotherapy and brain mapping are two different things. Brain mapping involves measuring the electrical activity of a patient’s brain to better understand how it is functioning or to diagnose a particular neurological disorder.

Brain mapping is often conducted by placing a cap of electrodes on the patient’s scalp and then taking a recording of the brain’s activity on a computer. The patient does not necessarily view this as it is happening.

Neurotherapy, on the other hand, uses electrodes placed on the scalp to send mild electric currents into the brain in order to alter its electrical activity. This technique is designed to help people manage conditions like anxiety, depression, and ADD/ADHD. It can also be used to reduce chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and even enhance athletic performance.

Neurotherapy has been around for decades but it has only recently started to gain more attention as a viable form of therapy. While the two therapies have some similarities, they are very different in terms of the way they are used and their intended outcomes.

How Does Neurotherapy Work?

As mentioned earlier, during a neurotherapy session, sensors are placed on the scalp to measure brain waves. These brain waves are displayed on a computer screen in real time, and the patient is typically asked to perform tasks that require them to change their brain waves in some way.

For example, they might be asked to try to relax or focus their attention. As the patient’s brain waves change, the computer provides feedback in the form of a sound or visual cue.

The idea is that over time, the patient will learn to control their brain waves in a more efficient way, leading to improved symptoms. Neurotherapy is thought to work by helping the brain to reorganize itself and develop new neural pathways, which can lead to changes in behavior and cognition.

What Does Neurofeedback Do To The Brain?

The brain essentially functions via electrical currents throughout the organ itself. This electrical energy is measured in 3 different brainwaves.

Beta waves – which are normal, everyday mind activity – happen when we’re awake, alert and focused on tasks. The speed of these electrical currents determines the intensity of our psychological state.

Alpha waves – associated with a relaxed state – are slower than Beta waves. This happens when we’re in a more passive, meditative and relaxed state.

Theta waves – oscillating at an even slower rate – happen during periods of deep relaxation or meditation, as well as deep sleep.

If your brain is producing more theta waves than alpha or beta, then you may feel fatigued, foggy, etc.

So, the purpose of neurofeedback is to help you achieve an optimal state by balancing the levels of alpha, beta and theta waves. Neurofeedback promotes self-regulation by helping you focus on improving your own performance, rather than simply relying on the use of medication or external factors.

By understanding your brainwave frequencies, neurofeedback therapy can help you gain control over them to optimize your mental functioning.

What Does Neurotherapy Help With?

Neurofeedback treatment can help people with a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, traumatic brain injury, sleep disturbances and addictions.

It has also been known to help those suffering from chronic pain, headaches and migraines.

Neurotherapy can be used as an adjunct therapy alongside traditional treatments such as psychotherapy, medication management or in cases where these treatments have not yielded results.

It can provide a more comprehensive and personalized approach to mental health care, allowing clients to gain greater insight into their own emotions and behaviors.

You can see in this article that this treatment works well for addictions and anxiety. But it can also be used to treat ADHD and Depression.

Read more about how neurofeedback works for ADHD – click here.

Read more about how neurofeedback works for Depression – click here.

Does Neurotherapy Work For Addictions?

Neurotherapy can be used on its own or as part of a more comprehensive approach to treating addiction. By using it in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques, individuals struggling with addiction can gain greater control over their thoughts and behaviors relating to the addictive substance.

Studies have shown that neurofeedback decreases cravings and improves general mental health in Opiate–dependent patients. Other studies suggest that it may be even more effective than pharmacotherapy alone in treating addiction in the long term.

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This therapy teaches clients skills to manage cravings and triggers, helping them break free from their addictions. It can help individuals understand the underlying causes of addiction and learn how to cope with the associated feelings and emotions in healthier ways.

It helps clients develop self-awareness, which is an essential component for successful long-term recovery from addiction.

By combining neurotherapy with other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, individuals can gain greater control over their thoughts and behaviors relating to the addictive substance.

Neurotherapy is not a cure-all for addiction; however, it can be an invaluable tool in helping individuals find relief from the physical, mental, and emotional effects of addiction.

Does Neurotherapy Work For Anxiety?

The short answer is yes, neurotherapy can work for anxiety.

Studies have shown that Neurotherapy can be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Research conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 90% of individuals who completed a course of neurotherapy reported reduced levels of anxiety.

…regulating the connectivity between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex (through fMRI-guided neurofeedback) can lead to a sustainable and persistent intervention to control anxiety, even after neurofeedback is stopped. This study highlights the effectiveness of newer methods of neurofeedback in the treatment of psychological and psychiatric conditions by self-regulation – the goal of neurofeedback therapy.

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In addition to the studies mentioned, there are also many anecdotal reports that suggest neurotherapy is beneficial for anxiety. Individuals who have undergone neurotherapy report feeling calmer and having a greater sense of control over their emotions.

They may also find it easier to manage stressful situations and be more resilient in difficult times.

How Long Does It Take For Neurotherapy To Work?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the individual’s needs, the type of neurotherapy being used, and the number of sessions.

Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before noticeable changes in symptoms are achieved with neurotherapy.

A treatment plan should be developed with a therapist and the patient to outline their goals and objectives for each neurotherapy session. This helps ensure that therapy is tailored to the individual’s needs and can be adjusted as progress is made.

However, many patients experience positive results even sooner. In some cases, benefits can begin to be seen after only a few sessions. It’s important to note that results may vary from person to person based on the specific techniques being used and their individual needs.

It is also important to remember that neurotherapy is not a “quick fix” for any condition or problem. Rather, it is a long-term approach which requires commitment and patience in order to experience the full benefits.

Additionally, it may be helpful to work with a therapist who is experienced in neurotherapy techniques, as they will be able to provide guidance and support throughout your treatment process.

Ultimately, though results can vary for everyone based on their unique situation, most people can expect to notice changes in their symptoms and overall well-being after several sessions of neurotherapy.

Over time, these improvements will become more significant as you work with your therapist to refine the techniques and tailor them to your needs.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss if neurotherapy could be helpful for you

How Long Do Neurofeedback Results Last?

The longevity of neurofeedback results varies from person to person and is dependent on the severity of the issue being treated.

Neurofeedback training is a process that requires regular practice in order to reinforce good habits and build new pathways for information processing. In general, the more committed one is to engaging in active neurofeedback sessions, the more long-term the results will be.

The research suggests that for most individuals, after about 10-20 sessions of neurofeedback training and continued practice of the strategies learned, noticeable improvements in symptoms can persist for months to years.

At the end of a course of neurofeedback, individuals will leave with knowledge about their brain patterns and how they influence their daily functioning. They will have learned coping strategies that will remain with them, even if the training itself doesn’t last permanently.

Is Neurotherapy Safe? Are There Any Side Effects?

The short answer is yes, neurotherapy is safe. Neurotherapy involves the use of non-invasive technologies to stimulate brain activity in order to improve mental and physical health.

Research has demonstrated that these treatments can be effective for treating a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, addictions and PTSD.

Neurotherapy is generally considered safe, with no serious or long-term side effects. However, as with any medical treatment, it is important to consult with a qualified health professional before beginning any neurotherapy treatments.

Your doctor can assess whether the benefits of neurotherapy outweigh the risks for you and your condition. They will also be able to provide you with advice on the best type of neurotherapy for your individual needs.

Most Common Side Effects Include:

Although there are no serious side effects with this treatment method, there are some mild common ones that have been reported.

They include:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • muscle tension
  • increase anxiety or depression
  • cognitive impairment
  • fatigue
  • general discomfort

These effects are usually mild and short-lived, but it is important to be aware of them before considering treatment.

If you experience any severe or persistent symptoms after beginning neurotherapy, contact your doctor immediately.

Who Can Do Neurofeedback Therapy?

Neurofeedback therapy is often provided by mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, family therapists and counselors. It may also be offered by specialized neurotherapy centers and practices, as well as medical clinics.

Many medical insurance plans cover neurotherapy, so it’s important to discuss coverage with your provider before beginning treatment.

For more information about our counseling and neurotherapy services, contact us today via email or call us at 404-449-1236.

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Laurie Newcomb, MA, LPC, NCC, CCTP

Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, NCC, CCTP My goal for each therapy session is to respect the client, allow them to be heard, appreciate where they are coming from, and help guide them through their struggles or issues. My approach to therapy is to utilize an integrative approach with clients. What this means is that I utilize different approaches for different people, as we are not all alike. Whether you're suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other kind of challenge, you want a therapist you feel comfortable with and who can help you bring about change. I have experience working with substance abuse, anxiety, depression, trauma, and life transitions. I am personally passionate about assisting clients who have endured trauma in their life. I am certified in trauma therapy and continue to work with clients with substance abuse.