Conditions Treated - The Neurofeedback Institute
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-311,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,boxed,,qode-title-hidden,footer_responsive_adv,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,qode-theme-ver-17.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.5.5,vc_responsive

Conditions Treated

There are a number of symptoms and conditions that neurofeedback can address. Below are some of the conditions that have most favorably responded to this treatment:

  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep dysregulation
  • Tics
  • PTSD
  • Headaches
  • Depression

All of the above conditions represent neurological over-arousal, under-arousal and/or an electrical imbalance in the brain. Since neurofeedback teaches the brain to stabilize and synchronize its activity, it makes it possible to address all these issues through a non-invasive process.

Unlike other techniques that provide only temporary relief, neurofeedback helps the brain to build pathways and allows long-term stabilization of function, given that you train for a sufficient period of time. Since every individual is unique, the training period necessary for sustainable effects varies from person to person. As with any other intervention, a traumatic emotional and/or physical event or a neurodegenerative condition may cause regression.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Neurofeedback & ADHD
John has Attention Deficit Disorder, he seems mesmerized by the spaceship that is traveling through the multi-colored tunnel. He appears almost joyful as he sees his points accumulate and successfully completes the game’s next level. Except for the presence of the sensors on his head and the lack of a joystick, this scene would be a normal occurrence in any of today’s households. John would be just another kid playing a video game. However, John is not just playing a standard video game, he is actually undergoing neurofeedback training and learning to self-regulate his brain.

What is Attention Deficit Disorder?
The principle characteristics of ADHD are inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms tend to appear over several months, often with the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity preceding those of inattention, which may not emerge for a year or more. Different symptoms may also appear in different settings depending on the demands that the situation may pose for the child’s self control. A child who “can’t sit still” or isdisruptive will be noticeable in school, but the inattentive daydreamer may be overlooked. The impulsive child, who acts before thinking, may be considered a “discipline problem,” while the inattentive child, who is sluggish and passive, may merely be viewed as unmotivated or “lazy.” Since these symptoms vary within the population and across different settings, ADHD is not easy to diagnose.

Are there any other options?
Neurofeedback is an innovative, non-invasive treatment option that has been found to have significant success in addressing ADHD symptoms. Neurofeedback is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function mor eefficiently. It addresses problems of brain disregulation, such as ADHD. A person diagnosed with ADHD can train the brain to pay attention. This is done through the use of EEG biofeedback. Sensors are placed on the scalp to listen in on brain activity. The signal is processed by computer and information is extracted about key brain wave frequencies. This information is presented to the individual in the form of a video game. The person is effectively playing the videogame with their brain. To optimize brain regulation, specific frequencies are diminished, while others are promoted. Eventually, the brain wave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, more regulated performance. Thus, the person is better able to focus, pay attention and control their impulsive urges.

What else is neurofeedback good for?
Neurofeedback addresses problems related to numerous brain dysfunctions. It may be beneficial if you are experiencing an anxiety or depression related disorder, attention deficit, headaches, migraines, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders and/or have a child who is manifesting signs of a behavioral disorder and/or developmental disorder (such as autism). It can also be beneficial to improve overall performance, as is the case with peak performance training. Many of today’s top athletes and business leaders have sought this training to take their “game” to the next level.

Other conditions

The breakthrough study on the application of neurofeedback/ EEG biofeedback to treat alcoholism was performed by Eugene Peniston, psychologist on the staff at Fort Lyons Veterans Administration Hospital in Colorado. The treatment outcome for alcohol addiction treatment for Vietnam veteran pilots was abysmal at the time. Peniston had personally experienced biofeedback and neurofeedback at the Menninger Clinic, where an early research group in EEG biofeedback was continuing its work. The group was aware of the benefits of EEG biofeedback for alcoholism, but that was not their real interest.

Peniston took the method back with him to Fort Lyons where he undertook a controlled study. The results were striking. Every veteran who did the neurofeedback (ten out of ten) was no longer abusing alcohol after the training, whereas everyone in the control group, which received the regular in-patient treatment, continued the pattern of addiction after release. The contrast could not have been more dramatic.

These results were then replicated by others. The result is that we now have a technique for the remediation of alcohol dependency that has high predictability.
back to list of conditions »

Anger Management
One of the easiest conditions to work with using neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback is anger control. One trains the brain, and anger simply falls away.

The capacity for anger remains. What has been gained is a measure of control. Our internal experience of untrammeled anger is that it is a good fit to the circumstances. After neurofeedback, the outside world just doesn’t seem quite so deserving of our anger. Our perceptions both of ourselves, of the other, and of the situation will have broadened, and that is an unalloyed good.
back to list of conditions »

There are any number of ways in which a person’s physiology canbe trained to function in a calmer fashion at lower levels of physiological arousal or state of agitation. A lot of the work with anxious people involves teaching them the ways in which they can help their own condition with conscious influence on their own physiology.

A simple change in breathing strategy, for example, can bring about profound changes in health and well-being. One does not have to go around thinking about one’s breathing all the time, either. The learning of new ways of functioning will lead to the adoption of new habits by the body-mind. One is consciously engaged with one’s physiology only a small fraction of the time-perhaps when one is under challenge, or one is standing on the threshold of a command performance.

Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback can help as well. Gently the brain is trained to operate out of a calmer place. Initially this may take the anxious person out of his or her historical comfort zone. Even if this is actually a zone of discomfort, it is still what the person is accustomed to. The loss of anxiety may actually seem like the loss of a kind of safety. Anxiety may not feel good; but it is at least keeping the person alive! The sudden disappearance of anxiety may leave the person feeling exposed and insecure.

So it is important to train people toward calmer states while keeping them within their comfort zones. The training is therefore highly individualized, and that is the breakthrough that neurofeedback has made possible.

Teeth-clenching and teeth-grinding are quite common, and they appear to be nothing more than a problem of disregulation of motor control, complete with a label. The brain can be trained toward better self-regulation, and the symptoms subside. This is even true for nocturnal bruxism, because indeed the brain is still in charge even while we are asleep. The neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback alters patterns of regulation, and these carry over into sleep.

Ironically, the first thing that a client may observe with neurofeedback for bruxism is that he may be clenching more rather than less. Actually, we strongly suspect that what is really going on is that the person is simply becoming more aware of the clenching that had been happening beneath his notice. Among other things, neurofeedback is training in awareness. After three or four sessions, the person will observe the clenching subsiding.

Successful neurofeedback may make it possible for the client even to leave the nocturnal mouth guard on the night table. Jaw aches may be seen to disappear. If bad habits should happen to reassert themselves after some while, an occasional booster session can be helpful in restoring good regulation.
back to list of conditions »

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is no known remedy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and neurofeedback does not constitute a remedy either. However, it can be helpful as part of an overall treatment program. In the early days of our work, we would feel gratified if we could boost the energy level of the chronic fatigue sufferer. However, these benefits often proved merely transitory. Sometimes the person would feel so energized that he or she would immediately plunge back into the maelstrom and then relapse soon after. So a more gradual building of support for a higher level of function is more appropriate. The symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome overlap considerably with those of Fibromyalgia, where we can be helpful as well.
back to list of conditions »

Chronic Pain
One of the prominent applications of biofeedback has been to the area of chronic pain. Most recently, it has been found that EEG biofeedback can be particularly helpful here as well. Startling results are coming out in which profound symptom relief can be obtained within a single session, although these gains are usually transient. Over time, clients can be trained to the point where these gains can be held onto permanently.

Chronic pain patients exhibit a variety of disregulations, not only pain. But when pain is present, it rises to the top of our hierarchy of needs.

It is the central fact of chronic pain that it has a significant component involving central regulation, and this fact frustrates all of the medical approaches to pain that attempt to address the source of the pain. The late Professor Liebeskind at UCLA, who specialized in pain, liked to recite a casein which a chronic pain patient was subjected to one procedure after another. As a tenth and final attempt to resolve the pain, a kind of frontal lobotomy was performed on the woman. Her pronouncement afterwards: I still feel thepain, but now I no longer care. Although this history is fortunately not being repeated anymore these days, the story does resonate with modern thinking. We may not be able to extinguish chronic pain, but we may be able to move the person to where he or she is the master, not the victim of the pain experience. That sense of mastery may be the key to what is doable at the present time.
back to list of conditions »

It is mystifying why the efficacy of biofeedback for headaches is not widely recognized, because this has been the case for a very long time.

So let us spread the good news: Biofeedback and neurofeedback are excellent remedies for both what are called “tension” headaches and for migraines. In fact, treating migraines is not substantially more difficult, and it is not significantly less effective, than treating ordinary tension headaches. What this is really saying, of course, is that nearly every personis already carrying the remedy for their own headaches with them. Their nervous systems simply need to be trained toward better self-regulation.

We can go further. Clinical success in dealing with migraines is greater for neurofeedback than for almost all other conditions in our own experience. And we can go further still. Most people who seek out neurofeedback for migraine are not those who have an occasional migraine. These people tend to make do with whatever medical remedies are available. We tend to see clinically those who have had a debilitating migraine history for many years, and they finally found their way to our office. And yet the neurofeedback training is efficacious for such people.

In the event that there should be a breakthrough migraine now and then even after the neurofeedback training series is completed, the client may choose to have a booster session along the way, or else avail themselves of neurofeedbackhome remedies.

One of the newer approaches just involves the training of cortex to a higher level of activation. This tends to abort an incipient migraine. One is reminded of research with cluster headaches showing that breathing pure oxygen can abort the headache. Training the cortex to higher operating temperature may be accomplishing the same thing: making more oxygen available to the pre-frontalcircuitry, sufficient to abort the migraine mechanism.

Our objective, of course, is not merely to abort migraines as they are coming on, but to get rid of them entirely. With modest attention to lifestyle issues and risk factors, this should be achievable with neurofeedback for the vast majority of migraine sufferers.
back to list of conditions »

Garden-variety insomnia tends to fall into two categories: difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep through the night (or of falling asleep again after nocturnal waking). We distinguish between these because in some approaches they train somewhat differently. There is an association between the sleep-onset difficulty and anxiety, and between the sleep maintenance issue and depression. And just as we might train depression and anxiety somewhat differently, the same goes for the related sleep issues.

Good sleep is more than the absence of insomnia. The training of brain function gives one the possibility of achieving sound sleep even if one has not experienced it since perhaps infancy! This is one area where neurofeedback diverges from medical remedies for insomnia. The medications do help one sleep, but by and large they extract a price. Over the long term there is the hazard of dependency, and over the short term there may also be a price to pay in terms of quality of sleep.
back to list of conditions »

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
This type of behavior is neurologically kin to Tourette Syndrome (TS). Almost everything we say about neurofeedback for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) applies to TS and vice versa. The techniques are identical, and our recent breakthrough with respect to OCD also applies to TS.

This condition benefits greatly from training of the pre-frontal lobes because it centrally involves the dopamine circuits that project there. It also benefits greatly from the tailoring of the protocol to the person, which is what has made the recent clinical gains possible. The most intractable cases ofOCD appear to respond to training at very low frequencies. The implication in the neurophysiological realm is that we are dealing with a condition of extreme over-arousal. The implication in the psychodynamic realm is that we may be dealing with a condition grounded in a trauma history. Both considerations call for training at very low frequencies as part of the protocol.
back to list of conditions »