There are so many different medications and types of therapy out there, and it can be exhausting trying to find the right combination for you. Many people don’t like the idea of taking medication for mental illnesses, nor do they like the idea of talking to a stranger about their most intimate personal problems and thoughts, even if said stranger is sworn to confidentiality. Regardless of whether or not that’s you, in your search for the best treatment option for you, you may consider neurofeedback therapy.
Neurofeedback therapy works by providing a non-invasive treatment method for brain-based conditions, like many mental illnesses, that works with your brain to help it develop healthier patterns of activity. With how it isn’t the most common treatment, many people wonder whether or not neurofeedback therapy works or if it’s just another fad. If it did, wouldn’t it be much more widespread?
Here’s what you need to know about what neurofeedback therapy is, how neurofeedback therapy works, and whether or not it’s a treatment method that can help you.
What Is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback therapy, also known in the medical world as electroencephalography (EEG), is a non-invasive treatment method that controls and measures your brain waves. Neurofeedback therapy works to encourage your brain to build healthier pathways and change your brain’s structure in order for it to function better and improve your thought patterns and your feelings.
It does this through giving your brain the support it needs in order to adapt and change to healthier functioning, through a property known as neuroplasticity. Neurofeedback therapy works by essentially retraining your brain by speaking to it in its own language: with brain waves.
What Are Your Brain Waves?
As mentioned previously, neurofeedback therapy works by speaking to your brain in its own language. Your brain waves are how your brain communicates. In general, your fast brain waves, also known as gamma and beta waves, are associated with focus, alertness, and concentration. Your slower brain waves, such as alpha and theta waves, are associated with relaxation, memory, and creativity.
When you have a mental illness, your brain waves patterns can get disrupted, which leads to symptoms such as anxiety, if you have too much fast brain wave activity, or ADHD, if you have too much slow brain wave activity. Neurofeedback therapy works to regulate your brain wave activity so that your brain can function properly again.
Does Neurofeedback Therapy Change Who You Are?
Most people hear that neurofeedback therapy works by retraining your brain and get startled and alarmed, thinking that this means it will change who you are as a person. No need to fear! Neurofeedback therapy doesn’t change who you are; it only helps your brain communicate in a healthier, more balanced way by forming better pathways and regulating your brain waves. It won’t change your personality or interests or anything or the sort.
How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?
Neurofeedback therapy works by measuring your brain waves and providing feedback. When you have neurotherapy, you’ll typically watch a video or play a game while wearing a band or cap with electrodes on it that will measure your brain wave activity, no needles involved. As you watch your movie or play your game, the EEG will monitor your brain waves in order to regulate them accordingly.
It does this by providing audio-visual feedback which reinforces positive brain wave activity in line with your treatment goals. For example, if your thoughts go in negative directions, your screen will dim, and then it will brighten with your thoughts. This can happen hundreds of times in a single 60 minute session, training your brain to associate the brighter screen with positive emotions and better focus. Over time, this causes your brain to create new pathways in order to more easily achieve these sensory rewards.
The immediate response of the screen to your brain’s activity helps your brain learn what it needs to do to keep the screen bright. Over the course of 40 or so treatments, your brain becomes more balanced and efficient through the neuroplasticity process. This reinforces positive thought patterns and better brain wave regulation.
Conditions Neurofeedback Therapy Can Help
Neurofeedback therapy can help a wide range of conditions. Given that we use our brain waves for everything we do, neurofeedback therapy works for many different brain-based disorders and issues, such as:
- Mental illnesses
- Developmental delays
- Behavior disorders
- Neurological issues
- Brain injuries
- Peak performance
Risks Of Neurofeedback Therapy
Everything has risks associated with it. Since neurofeedback therapy is non-invasive, the side effects usually consist of things such as: sleepiness, headaches, brain fog, nightmares, anxiety, and insomnia. So long as you see a professional who knows how to use their equipment correctly, you won’t have to worry about whether or not neurofeedback therapy is harmful.
Does Neurofeedback Therapy Really Work?
In short, yes, but it depends on the person. Everyone reacts differently to everything, after all. Whether or not neurofeedback therapy works for you depends on whether or not it is a good fit for your condition or whether or not the right system for their needs is being used. There are several studies that support the fact that neurofeedback therapy works and is an effective treatment method to improve your brain function and structure.
Are You Considering Trying Neurofeedback Therapy?
Ogden Psychological Services offers professional neurofeedback therapy. Our goal is to help you find relief from your symptoms and enjoy life again. We’ve found that neurofeedback therapy helps many of our patients find their way to a healthier, happier life. Contact us today to learn more about neurofeedback therapy or to set up an appointment.