Depression and Neurofeedback
What is Depression and How Can Neurofeedback Help?
We often associate being depressed with feeling sad or down. These feelings of sadness, for many of us often pass after a few days. However, depression can be much more than just feeling sad. Depression can cause emotion and physical problems. People who are depressed often have a hard time doing their daily activities, or even just getting out of bed to start their day. It can affect their sleep, study, work, appetite and enjoyable activities. Some people who suffer from depression can have these symptoms for weeks, months, or years at a time. In very severe cases, depressed individuals may have hallucinations, delusions, or withdraw from reality.
Most people with depression are given medication to take every day. These medications are used to alter the chemicals in the brain to improve emotions. We can use Neurofeedback to improve depressive conditions as well. Many depressed individuals have difficulties sleeping and experience anxiety on top of feeling depressed. It has also been found that someone with depression has a dominance of slower brainwaves. We can train these brainwaves to perform the way we want them to, and reduce the depressive symptoms by using Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback, also known as EEG (electroencephalogram) Biofeedback, is a painless training system which trains the brain to perform more efficiently with the individual’s active participation.
Using EEG to Understand the Brain
First, we need to find which areas of the brain are not performing the way they should be. In order to find these abnormalities, we measure the client’s brain waves by recording these activities while they wear a cap which has 19 different sensors on it. This process is called EEG. Once we have analyzed the EEG, which is known as qEEG, we will know which areas of the brain we want to train. Once we identify the area of the brain to exercise, we place a sensor on this location of the head. Where the sensors are placed is specific to the individual, and the issue we are trying to address. We train these areas by having the client watch a movie, and if their brain waves are not in the parameters we have set, their movie will pause.
Our brains want the movie to continue to play, so this reinforces the brain to perform within the parameters which have been set. During this process the neurons (cells in the brain) change. Once we have trained the neurons to perform the way we want them to, the brain will learn to match these parameters without being reinforced by Neurofeedback. The depressive symptoms you had will start to decrease, and you will feel more rested and have more energy throughout the day. After consulting your doctor, you may be able to decrease the medication you had been taking every day for these symptoms.