Neurofeedback written by: padhia
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Neurofeedback is an alternative treatment that helped me immeasurably while going through the hell of my detox. (And it was actually covered by my insurance!) I went 2x a week for several months, and although it has been almost 2 years, I still can feel the lasting results as far as the ability to control my anxiety.

What is neurofeedback? Well, let me start by saying there are two very different types: one is invasive and one is not. The first practitioner I had a consultation with practiced the invasive kind, which is not as barbaric as it sounds. All it means is that sound wave is transmitted into your brain through an electrode in response to undesirable brain waves.  I didn’t like the sound of this, as I didn’t want my brain to rely on yet another outside influence. I wanted to train it to function on its own, and so I decided on the non-invasive method, which teaches the brain to correct itself using auditory and visual rewards. Although I did look into it,  I also did not like the sound of the at-home-do-it-yourself solutions out there. This is serious, leave it to the professionals.

From the website www.eeginfo.com: “Neurofeedback is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show that information back to the person. And we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns. This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is also called EEG Biofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the system (the central nervous system) to function better.”

It is actually used more commonly than you might know- top athletes use it to tune up their minds in order to have peak performances, high level executives who are under incredible pressure use it to be able to remain calm and have clear minds, it is one of the forms of treatment for soldiers coming back from overseas suffering from PTSD, children / adults with ADD/ ADHD and autism, etc.

The woman who I went to was a psychologist who was so impressed with the results from neurofeedback that she made it a major part of her practice. I sat in a recliner watching a monitor. She placed electrodes on two different places on my head. I believe the protocol is to start off in certain areas, and then after a certain number of sessions move the electrodes to align with different centers in your brain. on the monitor a space ship was flying through a colorful tunnel with a trail of colorful smoke behind it. As it flies, it passes over little shiny diamonds which make a noise. the electrodes were monitoring the different types of waves that my brain was producing. Subconsciously, your brain wants to hear the noises as it picks up more diamonds, wants to see the smoke trail, wants the ship to move forward so that you can see what is around the corner, wants the music to keep playing. As long as the different waves are kept with in certain ranges these things continue and your brain is rewarded. Once waves start to spike out of the acceptable ranges, these reinforcements slow down and eventually stop. in this way, certain brain frequencies are promoted and undesirable ones are diminished. The doctor is monitoring the waves you are producing and making any adjustments accordingly. A typical session lasts 30 minutes. I believe the recommended number of sessions is 20-30. The results are permanent, once your brain has trained a certain number of times.

The first sign that it is working, which is usually after the first session, is that you become sleepy at bedtime and fall into a deep sleep and remain asleep throughout the night. After that, other things like anxiety, brain fog, depression, etc. begin to improve. I started going for neurofeedback during my detox from the antidepressants and was able to completely get off Ambien pretty quickly, which I relied heavily on. I was also able to cut my xanax dosage by about 75%, which was pretty remarkable considering how ridiculously bad the anxiety had gotten during the detox.

Although overall I would highly recommend neurofeedback to anyone detoxing off antidepressants and suffering the effects of the detox, brain zaps, anxiety, etc. I have to talk about the negative part of the experience as well. There are certain norms that are used, and if your brain falls outside of these ranges it can be hard to determine what frequency they need to use. In my case, it kept changing because my brain was going haywire from the detox. There were several times where they used the wrong frequency and my anxiety actually worsened. What happened in these instances was that I called the doctor and went right back the next morning and she re-did the session on a different frequency. This always fixed it. You can feel the results immediately. Just know that there is some guesswork involved. It is science- but it is an inexact science since everyone is different. I recommend you educate yourself on this and if you think it would be beneficial, find a very experienced practitioner, as this will help reduce the guesswork.

Even though it has been quite a long time since I have been back, I still can feel my anxiety rise and then I feel myself in my mind shutting it down and not letting it get out of control like it used to. I can’t explain the feeling, but I know that I am controlling my brainwaves to a certain extent, because I can make myself feel the same serenity that I was able to learn to create during those sessions. A great example would be the sheer terror that I used to feel on an airplane. I would literally have to eat Xanax like they were tic tacs. Now, somehow I have the ability to just return to that place where my brainwaves are behaving. It is really quite remarkable.

For more info:

http://www.eeginfo.com/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/health/05neurofeedback.html

http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/61/neurofeedback/

http://www.isnr.org/

The Balto Bunny Community is a place to Process. Check out this discussion going on right now in the Triumph forum: 100% love (1 posts - last post 2 years, 10 months ago)

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