Technology has helped analyze biological data to fully understand the life around us, including our bodies. It plays a significant role in terms of health. With it, we get access to cures for existing illnesses. At the same time, we get to identify different kinds of diseases that can impair the quality of life of humankind.
Nowadays, the number of cases of chronic illnesses are on the rise. The World Health Organization has included mental diseases in this category due to their long persistence and draining effects. Current medical research has given more light to the mechanisms of various conditions like anxiety.
Anxiety is a common disorder that is a subjective psychological experience. Its symptoms include excessive worrying, trouble focusing when doing tasks, insomnia, and fatigue. Chronic anxiety, and the stress that results from it, can activate immune and inflammatory mechanisms that promote disease progression.
Commonly found co-morbidities in people with chronic anxiety include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Another common chronic mental illness is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a mental health disorder that may occur to people who have experienced or witnessed excruciating events like accidents, violence, and death.
Symptoms may appear anytime: after a month, or it can be years after the traumatic experience. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms vary per person. It all depends on the nature of the triggering memory or emotion.
With the increasing understanding of these illnesses comes an increase in the demand for effective, long-lasting, drug-free, and non-invasive treatments.
An alternative approach used to regulate anxiety and reduce PTSD symptoms is neurofeedback therapy. There has been evidence for the effectiveness of brain-specific alterations brought by neurofeedback therapy in controlling anxiety.
In PTSD, exposure-based therapy is currently one of the most effective treatments.
However, a significant number of patients back out of this treatment. The constant exposure to the traumatic triggers can often be unbearable for the patients.
Neurofeedback therapy is a promising novel treatment that bypasses the need for harsh stimuli for treating PTSD. Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about neurofeedback therapy if you have questions regarding this approach.
What is Neurofeedback therapy used for?
Neurofeedback therapy can address various dysregulation of the brain. Therapists typically use neurofeedback as an intervention for conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, behavioral disorders, autism, emotional disturbances, brain damage, etc.
Currently, there are an estimated over 15,000 practitioners who are using this therapy method in their practice.
Aside from its medical application, neurofeedback also has non-medical applications. It helps improve performance and accuracy in sports, arts, music, and dancing.
Does neurofeedback therapy really work?
Many studies have noted the effectiveness of neurofeedback therapy as a treatment for various conditions. Furthermore, being a non-invasive procedure, it is readily available for use. However, like other therapy methods, neurofeedback has its clinical limitations and cons.
Since it requires multiple sessions to achieve optimal performance, it may take several months for its effects to show. It’s also important to note that neurofeedback effects are not long-term and will need regular sessions for effects to be evident.
Can neurofeedback be harmful?
In general, neurofeedback results in little or no harmful or adverse effects. While some report experiencing side effects, these side effects are not dangerous and eventually subsides after some time. It happens as a part of the transition process from the procedure.
Also, note that manifestation of neurofeedback side effects are more frequent when you have pre-existing neurological conditions. In such cases, make sure to inform your provider about your condition before undergoing treatment.
Does insurance cover neurofeedback therapy?
Many health insurance plans now include neurofeedback therapy in their coverage. However, in most cases, the insurance coverage would only be applicable for a selected list of conditions. It varies from different companies and insurance plans.
You may check with your insurance provider and confirm their coverage details on neurofeedback.
Who needs neurofeedback?
People with brain-related, cognitive, and behavioral conditions can benefit from neurofeedback therapy. It is helpful for all ages, from children, adolescents, adults, and seniors suffering from cognitive loss.
Thousands of individuals with neurological and medical conditions have benefited from the powerful intervention of neurofeedback. Therapists also use neurofeedback as an adjunct intervention along with other therapy methods.
Can I do neurofeedback at home?
Nowadays, there are a variety of mobile neurofeedback systems you can use in the comfort of your home. Some neurofeedback providers would rent their software units to clients. In this process, you will only need to send your sessions to your therapists for feedback.
There are also neurofeedback systems that use EEG sensors available for purchase in the market. However, note that these are not as effective as the units used by therapists.
How quickly does neurofeedback work?
Neurofeedback results typically happen gradually as you undergo multiple sessions. Sessions for neurofeedback usually last an average of 20 weeks, typically conducted once-a-week. For most cases, you will see initial progress within 15 sessions of the therapy.
Note that different people react differently from neurofeedback sessions. Hence, some patients may require fewer sessions, and others may need more.
Does neurofeedback really work for anxiety?
Studies have shown that undergoing neurofeedback therapy results in statistically significant improvement of anxiety symptoms. These studies show that neurofeedback training results in reduced anxiety for the majority of cases.
The parts of the brain responsible for generating anxiety symptoms are the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. What neurofeedback does is to regulate the connectivity between these two, resulting in controlled and reduced anxiety.
What happens during a neurofeedback session?
During a neurofeedback session, your therapist will instruct you to sit in a chair. They will then attach electrode sensors to your scalp, which will read the electric signals generated by your brain.
Using an EEG program, your therapist will assess the information about your brainwave frequencies. Thereafter, it will start to direct your brainwave activity towards a more controlled pattern.
How many neurofeedback sessions are needed for anxiety?
Neurofeedback sessions for anxiety typically require around 20 sessions. Within these 20 sessions, your brain gets 72,000 repetitive brain network exercises as the feedback occurs every half second. This process enables you to reshape the networks of anxiety in your brain.
What is the best neurofeedback system?
There are a variety of available neurofeedback systems. Do note that the best system would vary on your condition. You have a wide range of choices from one sensor, two sensors, multi-sensor, 19 sensors or more, LoRETA neurofeedback, etc. The prices of these neurofeedback systems also vary depending on its range of functions.
Starting with a two-sensor system will enable you to gauge the process and evaluate if the process is fit for you.
Can neurofeedback help with weight loss?
Neurofeedback can help stabilize your physical and emotional health towards a balanced state. This includes your appetite and cravings. Neurofeedback can train your brain to develop and control your body’s feeling of hunger and fullness.
Furthermore, the procedure can help you deal with weight loss positively by reducing negative thoughts in your mind.
What is the difference between biofeedback and neurofeedback?
It is easy to get confused with the differences between biofeedback and neurofeedback. But in essence, neurofeedback is a subcategory of the broader biofeedback. While biofeedback monitors the body’s physiological process, neurofeedback focuses on observing the brain’s activity.
Moreover, while biofeedback only provides visual observation, neurofeedback actually works directly to “train” your brain.
How much does RenuYou cost?
RenuYou’s neurofeedback sessions cost an average of $80 to $100 every session. While they offer various payment plans, it’s not typically covered by insurance. They recommend undergoing an average of 40 sessions to achieve the desired results and effectiveness of the neurofeedback process.
In summary, neurofeedback therapy is a promising alternative method to treat mental illnesses without drugs and unnecessary distress. It is a subcategory of biofeedback that concentrates on observing brain activity using electrodes and sensors. In contrast, biofeedback checks the physiological processes of the human body.
People experiencing cognitive and behavioral conditions due to afflictions on the brain can benefit from neurofeedback therapy. It can supplement treatments that target dysregulation in the brain, including anxiety and PTSD. It has been clinically studied and has shown effectiveness in many research.
Interestingly, it can also train your brain to control your appetite and cravings. Therefore, it can also help tremendously in weight loss.
As with many non-invasive treatments, neurofeedback results occur gradually after several consistent sessions. It usually takes place at least once a week in about 20 weeks. This therapy brings little to no unwanted side effects. If there are any, side effects are temporary and not threatening.
Some insurance plans now cover payment for neurofeedback therapy. It is best to contact your insurance provider for more details.
Recent advances in technology have enabled mobile neurofeedback more accessible. Some therapists rent out their software so patients can use them at home. After use, patients will only need to send back the therapy session data for feedback.
Meanwhile, there are different neurofeedback systems available for various conditions. There is the one-sensor, two-sensor, multi-sensor, LoRETA neurofeedback, and more.
RenuYou’s neurofeedback sessions can cost an average of $80 to $100 per session. It is highly recommended to undergo about 40 sessions to achieve its benefits. RenuYou offers various payment plans that can accommodate any of your needs.
Because of its effectiveness and long-term benefits in managing anxiety and PTSD symptoms, neurofeedback therapy is an alternative approach worth exploring. Just be sure to consult first with your therapist.