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What is Neurofeedback Therapy for Depression?

Mood and anxiety disorders are among the common mental disorders in the US. It includes various psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and depression[1]. Depressive disorders are characterized by severe and persistent sadness, which interferes with normal function and frequently results in a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. Treatment options for these disorders generally include pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy. However, not all patients respond to these therapies, and some may experience adverse effects.

A therapy method known as neurofeedback, called EEG (electroencephalogram) biofeedback [2], gives clients instant feedback from a computer-based program that measures their brainwave activity. The program helps patients identify their cognitive patterns and attempt to change them by using auditory or visual cues. Clients can learn to control and enhance their brain function through this approach, which should help to lessen the symptoms of numerous neurological disorders and mental health conditions.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback. Biofeedback refers to obtaining information and metrics about physiological functions—such as heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature—to understand and change existing bodily processes. Neurofeedback does the same but specifically for brain activity.

neurofeedback therapy for depression
Neurofeedback therapy can lead to behavioral changes for relaxation and better mood.

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Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy

The most significant benefit of neurofeedback therapy is that it can display the brain’s inner workings. This can display reactions to things you weren’t consciously aware of, which can help you identify unhelpful behaviors and work to change them.

Another benefit of neurofeedback therapy is that it shows your brain’s reactions in real-time. This allows you to understand your reactions better and see them from an unbiased source. This is particularly good for those that struggle with anger management7 as they can often be sensitive to outside input.

The benefits of neurofeedback therapy include:

Neurofeedback therapy helps you manage stress better.

  • Neurofeedback therapy improves stress management by helping you develop a mental strategy to respond better to stressful scenarios.

Neurofeedback therapy offers an alternative treatment.

  • Neurofeedback therapy offers an alternative option for people who do not respond well to such modern medicines. It also does not come with the adverse effects commonly associated with psychiatric drugs.

Neurofeedback therapy can be learned and mastered.

  • In neurofeedback therapy, you learn how to achieve greater control of your brain and consciously access the desired brainwave state. Once mastered, you develop a skill that can last for a lifetime.

Neurofeedback therapy puts you in charge of your mental health.

  • Neurofeedback can be empowering as it puts you in charge of your mental health. It allows you to master your emotions and consciously summon brainwave states.

What is Neurofeedback Therapy Used For

Mental health professionals have used neurofeedback therapy for treating a variety of neurological disorders such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Attention disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Schizophrenia
  • eating disorders
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Memory loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Substance abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injuries

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Neurofeedback Therapy for Depression

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects people of all ages. 20% of the world’s population deals with depressive episodes during their lifetime. Also, 30% of people diagnosed with depression do not benefit from antidepressant medication or psychotherapy alone. Neurofeedback can help improve the mental health of those who have not responded to antidepressants or therapy.

Neurofeedback therapy for depression is a non-invasive procedure that can improve executive function and reduce the symptoms of depression. Moreover, side effects are limited. It can be a beneficial practice for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Neurofeedback Therapy for ADHD

ADHD can be caused by too much slow or fast-wave activity in the brain. Neurofeedback treatment can help reduce symptoms by changing how the brain communicates and optimizing the activity that occurs in specific brain regions – and it is effective without medication (and medication side effects). In one article, researchers show the efficacy of neurofeedback for ADHD to be a Level 5, considered efficacious and specific. This was done by evaluating research where neurofeedback was used in treating ADHD.

Neurofeedback Therapy PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric condition caused by experiencing (or observing) a severe threat or traumatic event. As a result, our body’s natural (or adaptive) way of managing stress – our fight, flight, and freeze response – can become stuck. When this happens, the resulting traumatic memories may cause us to struggle to manage our thoughts and feelings, we may feel chronically hyper-alert, and we may have a hard time feeling safe and secure.

Neurofeedback uses QEEG and brain mapping to identify the areas of a patient’s brainwaves that require training to reduce PTSD symptoms. A study conducted on patients with PTSD showed that neurofeedback reduced abandonment issues and identity impairment and revealed improvement in brain function and affect regulation.

neurofeedback therapy for depression
Neurofeedback is a pain-free approach that doesn’t involve medication. That means you won’t have any contradictions with other medicines you might be taking. 

Neurofeedback Therapy for Anxiety

Anxiety is a prevalent mental health disorder that affects children and adults all over the globe. People with anxiety disorders can experience chronic worrying, fearfulness, trouble relaxing, restlessness or feeling on edge, and irritability. When anxiety is severe, it can affect a person’s ability to manage their daily activities and relationships.

Anxiety and restlessness can lead to fatigue and trouble maintaining focus or concentration. Soon, day-to-day tasks feel like burdens. Worrying makes it more difficult to sleep. Anxiety and stress can lead to health problems. Most specifically, uncontrolled stress or anxiety can affect adrenaline and cortisol production, reduce the production of growth hormones, and lead to abnormal activation of the immune system and inflammatory responses in the body. Neurofeedback is a non-intrusive way to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders and improve daily functioning.

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Neurofeedback Therapy Side Effects

As a non-invasive where nothing enters your body, whether needles or medications, side effects are minimal. However, individuals may experience dizziness from interacting with the video game or other input options like dry or reddened eyes.

Besides that, you might encounter reactions to the treatment as you continue the sessions. Depending on which brainwaves you focus on during treatment, you may have emotions that go along with them. There’s also a chance of encountering neurofeedback therapy side effects if you have epilepsy. Discuss any health concerns or neurological conditions with the therapist before beginning.

How much does neurofeedback therapy cost?

Some medical and psychological insurance plans may cover neurofeedback for various conditions. Reimbursement to the client varies by carrier and by the plan. If you go to a clinic, the start-up costs are between $750 and $1500 for an assessment including a QEEG. Session costs are between $100 and $270 for 30 to 40 minutes of training.

If you do 40 sessions the cost of neurofeedback would be $4000 to $10800 plus start-up costs of $750 to $1500. Some practitioners do several more QEEGs at additional cost to check progress as they don’t check as they train you. This doesn’t consider the time and costs for fuel, etc, traveling to and from a clinic.

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Neurofeedback Therapy at Home 

Can you do neurofeedback at home? Yes, you can do neurofeedback at home. Advances in the internet and neurofeedback equipment now allow clients to receive neurofeedback remotely from anywhere in the world. 

What factors make home training worth considering?

  • Distance. There may not be any trained providers nearby.
  • Convenience. Some people’s schedules make it extremely difficult to complete regular in-office visits. Consistency is important.
  • Some situations require ongoing, long-term training. Though it might take more sessions on home equipment than in-office training, it may be easier to do numerous sessions at home.
  • Since neurofeedback helps you rewire your brain, more frequent training at home can make a huge difference.
  • You (or a family member) may be uncomfortable training in an office setting due to health or other concerns.
  • Several family members may wish or need to train, which may be financially more feasible with a home system.

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Rehab for Major Depressive Disorder and Substance Use Near Me

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is often accompanied by substance abuse or dependence. The mental health field has long discussed whether these conditions are independently occurring disorders or are overlapping illnesses intertwined by common etiologic and vulnerability factors. The initial presentation of depression can be obscured by the overriding symptoms or side effects of a substance use disorder (SUD).

In the general population, the prevalence of a current substance use disorder in persons with Major depressive disorder (MDD) ranges from 8.5 to 21.4%, with a lifetime prevalence of comorbid SUDs ranging from 27 to 40% [6]. Co-occurring depression has an adverse effect on the course of SUDs. Current depression predicted poorer treatment response and higher rates of relapse.

People who suffer from depression can experience severe sadness that lasts weeks or even months at a time. It’s common for those battling mental illness to also struggle with substance abuse. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine which condition came first. People faced with prolonged periods of profound sadness may reach for drugs or alcohol to ease the pain, feelings, and other symptoms.

However, substance use can actually make depression symptoms more severe. Clinical depression alone increases the risk of accidental injury, suicide, and other forms of self-harm. Add in drugs or alcohol, and the threats to the person’s mental and physical health can be extreme.

To determine the most effective ways to treat depression and substance abuse comorbidity, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. 

Detox Treatment

The first step in treatment is medical detox. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to substance abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the emotional effects of alcohol withdrawals.

Psychotherapy

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. 
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis programs treat both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab for depression and substance use, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

If you or your loved one suffers from alcohol and depression, help is just a phone call away. Professional addiction treatment is necessary for fast and effective recovery. Contact us today at We Level Up treatment facility. We provide utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We offer an enhanced opportunity to return to a fulfilling and productive life.

neurofeedback therapy for depression
For people struggling with the co-occurring disorders of depression and drug or alcohol addiction, inpatient treatment offers a sober, safe, and guided environment where both conditions can be effectively addressed.
Sources:

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK253825/
[2] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531603/
[3] NCBI – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27303609/