Geraldine is a lifestyle and wellness writer. She writes about substance abuse, mental health, and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
We might all be familiar with psychotherapy or talk therapy. You talk with a therapist, and they use different techniques to help you sort through something affecting your mental health. It’s often used to treat depression, anxiety, and even addiction. But, when we talk about Neurotherapy, it often feels like we’re talking about science-fiction.
Neurotherapy is based on how we think, feel, and act. It looks at how our central nervous system operates and its impact on these physiological processes. Some believe this might be what we need to address mental health illnesses from a 360-degree perspective. Keep reading to find out if this is the case or not.
Neurotherapy, also called neurofeedback therapy or electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, is a drug-free alternative to help improve brain function. It’s a type of treatment based on the idea that you can alter the way your brain operates with real-time displays of your brain’s electrical activity.
There are different types of Neurotherapy treatments:
- Frequency neurofeedback training
- Slow cortical potential neurofeedback
- Low-energy neurofeedback system
- Hemoencephalography neurofeedback
- Lize Z-score neurofeedback
- Low-resolution electromagnetic tomography
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
What Can Neurotherapy Help With
In essence, Neurotherapy can help with any condition that causes changes in the brain. A variety of conditions and symptoms are related to brain dysregulation. Some of the most common conditions treated with Neurotherapy include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic pain
- Learning disabilities
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep disorders
- Substance use disorders
Techniques Used in Neurotherapy
A Neurotherapy session typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. The number of sessions a person need varies, but it's rare for a person to need more than 40 sessions.
During a typical Neurotherapy session, you'll sit in a chair with electrodes on your scalp. This is entirely painless. They help measure patterns of brain wave activity. In essence, brainwave activity is the signal your brain produces when it receives stimuli.
The therapist will guide you through simple activities while they record the impulses in your brain. Depending on the type of session, you’ll be asked to watch images on a screen, play a video game, or listen to music to change those brain impulses. They use this for brain mapping, which will help them determine treatment in the long term.
Over time, your brain figures out how to develop and sustain the desired brainwave patterns.
Overall, neurofeedback is more likely to be used for brain-based issues. This includes seizures, disruptive behavioral disorders, and developmental delay. Neurofeedback can be helpful to those with birth trauma, cerebral palsy, and an acquired brain injury. However, it can still be beneficial for people with PTSD, particularly those with substance use disorders.
Because addiction alters the brain’s chemical pathways and long-term substance abuse can alter the brain’s function, neurofeedback can help self-regulate the process. So far, studies point that neurofeedback is a promising therapy to treat fear-related disorders, including PTSD.
In addition, there are three main benefits of neurofeedback that make it even more promising to treat various conditions:
- It’s non-invasive since there’s no need for medications or interventions
- It provides long-lasting effects that last long after the treatment ends
- Produces no side effects that could interfere with existing conditions
Is It Really Effective?
Research proves that Neurotherapy can be an excellent form of a treatment plan for several conditions. One study found that 57% of people with severe anxiety and 45% with severe depression improved significantly after 30 sessions. Another study found that 62% of participants with migraines reported significant or total improvement of their symptoms.
There are also comprehensive reviews that show neurofeedback can offer positive results for people with cocaine, alcohol, and video or computer game addictions. It may even decrease food cravings, showing the potential to treat obesity.
In most of these studies, researchers noted that Neurotherapy could work on its own. But most studies showed even improved effectiveness when used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy and other traditional psychotherapy approaches.
One Final Thing
While Neurotherapy is a promising treatment for many conditions, it’s costly, time-consuming, and requires month-like commitments. These factors make it a bit less appealing than other treatment methods.
Before you dive in, consult with your doctor to see if Neurotherapy is the best treatment option for you. They may refer you to a local neurotherapist to test the waters. You can also ask about other therapies that could help your condition.
Remember, while treatment might have the proper studies to back them up, if it doesn’t feel right for you, it probably isn’t. Mental health is a very individualized subject that must be treated with personalized and comprehensive treatment that aligns with your unique needs.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Geraldine Orentas
Amrita from Banglore on July 30, 2021: