During the past several years technological advancements used in analyzing neurofeedback for anxiety have been helpful in managing problems pertaining to anxiety-depression, attention deficits, behavior disorders, sleep disorders, and migraines. In the past, an electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to diagnose brain disorders using flat discs attached to the scalp, which captured the transmission of electrical impulses from the brain. The equipment used to collect the information printed out a brain wave pattern graph reflecting the brain’s activity.
So what is neurofeedback therapy? It’s a method used by mental health professionals to monitor real time feedback of the brain’s activity for individuals suffering from these symptoms. Today, this therapy is used to retrain the brain to change its response pattern when certain wave configurations associated with these abnormal behaviors occur. As the adverse pattern is identified by the brain, the brain is stimulated to respond as a result of the learned self-regulation training, which allows the central nervous system to function better and improve the quality of life. It’s a gradual learning process for the brain and the individual as both go through tests to develop a customized approach.
When awake, the bands used to assess the condition are called wave frequencies. The four bands are alpha, beta, theta and delta waves. In some conditions the frontal brain areas have excessive or deficiencies of one or more of the waves. This is where the self-regulation training comes into play to help retrain the brain’s response and reduce impulsive or incorrect behaviors.
- Alpha waves occur in relaxed states, no active thinking or interaction
- Beta waves occur with interactions; thinking or solving problems
- Theta waves occur during drowsiness, daydreaming or napping sleep, and can involve restless
- Delta waves occur during deep sleep
The risks are minimal and the benefits can be significant for the individual as the training continues. During the training the individual views the brain wave printouts the practitioner explains the activity and how to alter the responses through training. As the brain begins to accept the new responses as part of its normal function, it will naturally re-enforce them. The advances in this form of alternative therapy have added to its success, yet each behavior or condition may differ in how quickly the improvements take hold.