All posts by Karen Van Winkle

The ADHD Success Story

As the office manager at BiofeedbackWORKS, one of the most common phone calls I receive is from a parent who has a son or daughter with symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They tell me how their child struggles to pay attention in school, has difficulty focusing on tasks, and behaves impulsively at home. Lately, I’ve been receiving similar calls from adults who notice themselves having trouble concentrating on projects at work or at home.

They usually want to know two things: whether Neurofeedback can successfully treat their symptoms and if the results will last.

ADHD is a well-known disorder in youth, and research shows that there has been a global increase in rates of ADHD in adults during the last decade. Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD has been conducted and studied since the 1970’s. In fact, ADHD was one of the first disorders treated with Neurofeedback training. A meta-analysis conducted by Arns et al. (2009) reviewed studies of Neurofeedback’s efficacy in treating symptoms of ADHD including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Many studies included a control group whose treatment involved an equal level of cognitive training and client-therapist interaction. Arns et al. (2009) found that Neurofeedback is an efficacious treatment for ADHD as it had medium to large effect sizes on symptoms. That means that the Neurofeedback treatment group effect averages were above 69-79% of the control group averages. Neurofeedback successfully improves ADHD symptoms and the amount of improvement is large.

Along with their results, Arns et al. (2009) included follow-up data from the studies in their meta-analysis. Many authors found that the results gained from Neurofeedback remained stable indicating that the brain continues to regulate its EEG after training has ceased. Not only are benefits maintained, they are increased. Some studies found during a 3-month and 6-month follow-up that all scores on measures of symptoms had continued to improve since treatment had ended. This shows that Neurofeedback is far superior to stimulant medication which does not increase or even maintain symptom improvement after it is stopped.

So the answer is yes – Neurofeedback is an extremely beneficial and long-lasting treatment for children and adults with ADHD. It is so successful that it even continues to improve symptoms after treatment has ended. At BiofeedbackWORKS, I have enjoyed hearing many success stories from individuals with ADHD symptoms. Parents often report that their children’s teachers are amazed by how much better they are behaving and performing in school. Adults share that they are enjoying achievements at work due to their improved focus and attention. If you or someone you care for is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, grab your phone and make that call. Let us help you create your own ADHD success story.

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Karen Van Winkle

  • Karen Van Winkle
  • Office manager and EEG Technician
  • BiofeedbackWORKS in Virginia, PLLC
REFERENCES
  • Arns, M., de Ridder, S., Strehl, U., Breteler, M., & Coenen, T. (2009). Efficacy of neurofeedback treatment in ADHD: The effects on inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity: A meta-analysis. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 40(10), 180-189.
  • Chung W, Jiang S, Paksarian D, et al. (2019). Trends in the prevalence and incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among adults and children of different racial and ethnic groups. JAMA Netw Open, 2(11). doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.14344

A Migraine Journey: How Neurofeedback and pROSHI changed my life

I was a typical migraineur – carrying medicine with me wherever I went forever worried I’d be attacked with a dreaded migraine. While my over-the-counter medication would help in the moment, it caused me to wake up day after day with that same pounding migraine and increasing frustration. If I had not found neurofeedback, I’d still be that same hopeless migraineur.

When I began working at BiofeedbackWORKS, I was excited and intrigued by the effectiveness of neurofeedback. I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life for the better. As a new employee, I received a few sessions of standard neurofeedback training of my own. The modality I found most helpful to reduce pain in the midst of a migraine was a set of LED flickering light glasses called pROSHI. These glasses work by sending a standardized signal to the brain which the brain mimics. As a result, the brain is trained to return to a calm, relaxed, awake state. By switching between different colored glasses, the flexibility of the brain increases. After experimenting with a few different colors, I found that the oceanic (blue/green) glasses successfully reduced my head pain. I left the office in amazement at the potential of the pROSHI to be an effective solution to my migraines.

pROSHI II+ effective solution for migraines

pROSHI II+ effective solution for migraines

Curious to learn more about the pROSHI, I searched online for any research articles on the subject. Interestingly, I found a study completed by Harvard Medical School researchers published in 2016. The researchers found that exposure to green light exacerbated migraine headaches the least. They further concluded that it may be therapeutic to migraineurs by reducing headache intensity. I was amazed to learn that this research supported what I had personally experienced. Thanks to neurofeedback and pROSHI my migraines are now extremely rare, much less painful, and easily relieved. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce pROSHI to fellow migraineurs at BiofeedbackWORKS so they too can experience life migraine free!

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Karen Van Winkle

  • Karen Van Winkle
  • Office manager and EEG Technician
  • BiofeedbackWORKS in Virginia, PLLC
REFERENCES
  • Davis, C. (2013, August 6). pROSHI User’s Guide. Retrieved from Mind Machines: https://www.mindmachines.com/proshi-users-guide/
  • Noseda, R., Bernstein, C. A., Nir, R. R., Lee, A. J., Fulton, A. B., Bertisch, S. M., … Burstein, R. (2016). Migraine photophobia originating in cone-driven retinal pathways. Brain: a journal of neurology, 139(Pt 7), 1971–1986. doi:10.1093/brain/aww119

Other diagnosed illnesses and problems for which Neurofeedback training has been known to help reduce symptoms

Below are other diagnosed illnesses and problems for which Neurofeedback training has been known to help reduce symptoms: Tourette’s Syndrome, Seizures, OCD behaviors and thoughts, Chronic Illnesses, and even Chemical Toxicity

Tourettes, Seizures, OCD (Thoughts and behaviors, such as “stuckness”, addictions i.e. Gambling or Hoarding.

All three of these are displayed by differences in the brain from a “normed” sampling of a high performing population of same gender and age as the client. Tourettes Syndrome and OCD are both viewed as anxiety based, when identifying these type abnormalities in the brain they are often identified by an imbalance of bands widths, i.e. high beta waves in bursts are centered over the top of the brain affecting the motor strip and/or the Cingulate Gyrus.

Sometimes Seizure activity is present or even overlooked as a cause for symptoms related to behavioral disturbances. Best identified in the RAW EEG, seizure conditions are identified by a specific wave bands surging or spiking. We work with a certified neurologist to review the recorded EEG and offer an opinion based symptoms correlated with the EEG. Through this process we are able to identify sieaures as well as a more, mild case, described as “epileptic wave form” activity which can be common. In either case neurofeedback helps the brain to regulate its behavoir..

Biofeedbackworks looks at how the brain presents itself apart from the “normed”, which is an averaged group of the general population and we are able to identify the derivation from the norm. We do this by relying on the qEEG for guidance in designing a treatment plan. The client’s behaviors/symptoms are a result of imbalances and we know that the brain is reacting to stressors that contribute to the underlying symptoms seen outwardly.

We also recommend counseling after neurofeedback has begun to help align new strategies with newly formed brain function.

Chronic illness: Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Lyme, Fibromyalgia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

For people suffering with a chronic disease, like Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), EDS, Lyme, or Fibromyalgia; pain management, foggy brain and attention are often challenges. Pain can increase during treatments, bouts of fatigue, and emotionally demanding times. Life becomes a complex series of decision making about nutrition, exercise, and balance of what one can do, often creates limiting lifestyle choices. Neurofeedback is useful to help stabilize the symptoms caused by these diagnosis which helps the body recuperate and start the healing process.

Neurofeedback is primarily targeting the brain to help create a tolerance, flexibility and balance for functioning. The effect is that neurofeedback is helpful in reduction of symptoms such as; pain, fatigue, cognitive fogginess, memory loss, and irritability. All of these result from the human body’s system being overtaxed as it is trying to fight or repair chronic problems. Symptoms such as these threaten mood, calm, and hopefulness. Even when positive interventions are implemented, such as new medicines, supplements or detox, the body doesn’t accept changes easily and intolerance leads to other co-morbid issues such as anxiety and depression. Neurofeedback can help regulate and strengthen the body’s immune system and support brain function, which leads to higher levels of resilience.

Although neurofeedback will not cure any of the chronic illnesses, it can help by being part of a maintenance plan that helps all other interventions work better.

Chemotherapy recovery:

Recovery from Chemotherapy is arduous and emotionally taxing. Fear that the level of personal function has been changed forever is overwhelming. “Time heals all wounds”…BUT, with cancer survivors, time is even more precious. Using neurofeedback to help get the brain get back “on-line” Brain-fog is a residual symptom from chemotherapy, 99.9% of the time, which can be cleared greatly with neurofeedback training. This is done by reconnecting pathways and stimulating neuronal activity.

Chemical Toxicity and Molds:

Toxins affect some brains by making them “sensitive” to environmental effects (sounds, lights, and smells). There is no way to predict who will be affected by some toxins. Whether everyday chemicals found in cleaning solutions, hazmat waste, or molds have emerged as a prevalent issue creating toxic reactions. Little is known about recovery from such insults to the brain. Symptoms effects can be: cognitive impairment, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, seizures or migraines. Neurofeedback can help rebuild the pathways that don’t exist as they used to. This occurs by stimulating the neurons in the brain that are needed to retrain the brain back to optimum function.

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Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children: Behavioral and Academic issues facing adoptive families

TREATMENT:

Individuals with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) typically present as having extraordinary difficulty with relationships, especially intimate relationships and parent/child bonding. This difficulty is generally accompanied by oppositional behavior, angry outbursts, attention issues, impulsivity and lack of empathy for others. A majority of children with RAD develop these symptoms as a response to trauma experienced at an early age, fetal alcohol syndrome, and/or genetic predisposition to stressors in life.

Neurofeedback therapy can produce significant improvements in clinical symptoms of RAD, such as anxiety, depression, anger/irritability, and opposition. Treatment can also reduce other symptoms or behaviors such as lying, insomnia, attention, poor hygiene issues, tendencies towards running away, and obsessive behaviors. Neurofeedback is a treatment based on neuroscience that works directly with the brain by creating better communication between lobes and networks of the brain and improved balance in brain wave activity. The result is that the child is able to recognize, monitor and self-regulate his or her emotions.

Traditional treatments for RAD such as psychotherapy (counseling, play therapy) are useful tools but insufficient in creating global changes in the child’s behavior. With the added help of Neurofeedback as an intervention, the child becomes more aware of the coping strategies that he/she has not been able to utilize. Neurofeedback works directly with the brain to allow individuals to recognize, monitor and self-regulate which leads to improvement in health and quality of life.

BRAIN FUNCTION:

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 low alpha activity as well as temporal lobe abnormalities are seen in individuals with anxiety. Research has shown that alpha and theta enhancement neurofeedback training can be an effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
At BiofeedbackWORKS in Virginia, neurofeedback training is based on in-depth assessments such as 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.. Based on presenting symptoms, training is matched to the client’s needs and performed at specific placements on the scalp using state of the art S-Loretta 19 channel Z-Score, 2+ channel Z-score and amplitude technology as well as Infra Low neurofeedback (ILF) and Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). 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.

COMORBIDITY:

Studies show that anxiety disorders such as RAD are more likely to co-occur with other disorders, and this has important clinical implications in diagnoses and treatment. Examples of co-morbid disorders include depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

GENERAL BIOFEEDBACK:

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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REFERENCES
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author
  • Beck, A. T., & Clark, D. A. (2012). The Anxiety & Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution. The Guilford Press.
  • Beck, A. T., & Clark, D. A. (2011). Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders: Science and Practice. The Guilford Press.
  • Demos, J. N. (2005). Getting Started with Neurofeedback. W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Hammond, D. C. (2005). Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression and Anxiety. Journal of Adult Development, Vol. 12, 2/3, 131-137.
  • Hammond, D.C. (2005). Neurofeedback with anxiety and affective disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14, 105-123.
  • Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 617-627.
  • Myers, J. & Young, J. S. (2012). Brain wave biofeedback: Benefits of integrating neurofeedback in counseling. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90(1), 20-29.
  • Thompson, M. & Thompson, L. (2003). The Neurofeedback Book-An Introduction to Basic Concepts in Applied Psychophysiology. The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.