Anxiety Related Disorders: Panic, Stress-Related Disorders
Fear, worry and anxiety are normal emotions that are part of everyday living. They are necessary to our survival. They “keep us on our toes.” But when they persist for a long period of time, they begin to work against us. Emotions that are more intense, involve mistaken or exaggerated evaluation of danger, impair personal interactions, and are resistant to new ideas can fall into the diagnosis of anxiety.
Neurofeedback has been found to be an efficacious intervention for anxiety by directly modulating the specific brain regions whose dysfunction is implicated in the disorder. Training can produce significant improvements in clinical symptoms. Neurofeedback works by targeting the areas of the brain that specifically contribute to feelings of anxiety. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive approach that addresses the underlying biological factors associated with anxiety without the side effects of medication. Neurofeedback is a treatment modality based on neuroscience that works directly with the brain to empower individuals to recognize, monitor and self-regulate brain wave activity to improve health and quality of life through symptom reduction.
At BiofeedbackWORKS in Virginia neurofeedback training is based on in-depth assessments and is matched to the client’s needs. Based on presenting symptoms, the quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG, or quantitative brain map), IVA test (test for auditory and visual attention and impulsivity), and regular check-ins (2-3 times per week), training is done at multiple sites using state of the art S-Loretta and up to 19 channel training technology. Training may involve increasing abnormally low brain wave frequency or inhibiting abnormally high brain wave frequency. Although at first the changes may appear to be transient, after repeated sessions, long lasting changes are gradually achieved.
Traditional treatments for anxiety disorders include medications, psychotherapy (counseling), as well as stress and relaxation training. Although talk therapy promotes the healing of psychological issues, not all conditions improve through this intervention. Similarly, many patients do not respond favorably to pharmacological approaches or may only be able to achieve the desired changes while the medication continues to be taken; in addition, negative side effects often are experienced.
In contrast, neurofeedback works directly with the brain to allow individuals to recognize, monitor and self-regulate brain wave activity. This leads to improvement in health and quality of life through symptom reduction.
Advances in understanding the nature of anxiety disorders played a key role in the development of innovative treatments such as neurofeedback. Compelling evidence shows unusually large decreases in alpha activity as well as temporal lobe abnormalities in individuals with anxiety. Research has shown that alpha and theta enhancement neurofeedback training can be an effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
Studies show that anxiety disorders are more likely to co-occur with other disorders, and this has important clinical implications in diagnoses and treatment. The presence of anxiety disorders in conjunction with other disorders is associated with a more persistent course of disturbance, increase in symptom severity, and increased impairment in social, occupational, or other major areas of daily functioning. Examples of co-morbid disorders include depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette’s Syndrome, traumatic brain injury (TBI) as well as attachment and oppositional disorders to name a few.
In view of this, at BiofeedbackWORKS neurofeedback protocols are individualized to the unique neurophysiological characteristics of each individual. This is achieved through the use of quantitative brain map (qEEG) assessments, an industry standard for evaluation of brain function.
Peripheral or General biofeedback consists of traditional modalities such as heart rate variability, hand warming and breathing monitoring. The goal is to teach individuals how to activate their parasympathetic nervous system and deactivate their sympathetic nervous system thus calming themselves in what previously would have been volatile situations.
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