Depression and Neurofeedback

By July 3, 2017 July 6th, 2017 No Comments

Neurofeedback can help reduce depression.

depressionBrain mapping allows trained individuals to view electrical activity in multiple regions of the brain. Ranges of brain wave activity within the regions predict mood and resilience. Treatment of depression with neurofeedback has resulted in more positive thinking patterns and a reduction in ways of thinking that have been associated with depression.

Standard treatment protocols frequently prescribe medications before assessing neurotransmitter levels or brain wave activity. This approach is effective only 33% of the time. The majority of patients prescribed anti-depressants will have no effect at all or side effects that force patients to stop medications and seek alternative therapies.

The proper treatment of depression requires a comprehensive assessment of metabolic, endocrine, and immune disorders along with brain wave activity or quantitative encephalography (qEEG). Neurofeedback treatment begins to tap at the root of depressive symptoms. When neurofeedback is combined with genetic, neurotransmitter, and hormone testing, a more complete and whole treatment plan will produce positive outcomes without the risk of side effects.

Neurofeedback Research Supporting Treatment of Depression

The Efficacy of Neurofeedback in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: An Open Labeled Prospective Study.

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2016 Mar;41(1):103-10. doi: 10.1007/s10484-015-9315-8.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of neurofeedback on depressive symptoms and electrophysiological disturbances in patients with major depressive disorder. We recruited participants suffering from depression to evaluate efficacy of left prefrontal beta with alpha/theta training. An 8-week, prospective, open-label study was undertaken. Twenty participants were recruited. The treatment protocol was twice or three times a week training of beta at F3 with alpha/theta at Pz for 8 weeks. When every visit, patients were received beta training for 30 min, and then alpha/theta training for 30 min. Baseline, 4 and 8 week scores of; the Hamilton rating scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Hamilton rating scale for Anxiety (HAM-A), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)-II, the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Clinical global impression-severity (CGI-S), and pre- and post-treatment resting state EEGs were compared. Interhemispheric alpha power asymmetry (A score) was computed for homologous sites F3-F4. Pre- and post-training clinical assessments revealed significant improvements in HAM-D, HAM-A, BDI, and CGI-S scores. Cumulative response rates by HAM-D were 35.0 and 75.0 % at 4 and 8 weeks, respectively, corresponding cumulative remission rates by HAM-D were 15.0 and 55.0 %, respectively. No significant differences were found between pre- and post-treatment A score. Neurofeedback treatment could improve depressive symptoms significantly. In addition, anxiety symptoms and clinical illness severity decreased significantly after neurofeedback treatment. Despite its several limitations, such as, small sample size and lack of a control group, this study suggested neurofeedback has significant effects in patients with major depressive disorder.

Neurofeedback and networks of depression

Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2014 Mar; 16(1): 103–112.

Recent advances in imaging technology and in the understanding of neural circuits relevant to emotion, motivation, and depression have boosted interest and experimental work in neuromodulation for affective disorders. Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to train patients in the self regulation of these circuits, and thus complement existing neurofeedback technologies based on electroencephalography (EEG). EEG neurofeedback for depression has mainly been based on models of altered hemispheric asymmetry. fMRI-based neurofeedback (fMRI-NF) can utilize functional localizer scans that allow the dynamic adjustment of the target areas or networks for self-regulation training to individual patterns of emotion processing. An initial application of fMRI-NF in depression has produced promising clinical results, and further clinical trials are under way. Challenges lie in the design of appropriate control conditions for rigorous clinical trials, and in the transfer of neurofeedback protocols from the laboratory to mobile devices to enhance the sustainability of any clinical benefits.

Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression and Anxiety

Journal of Adult Development, Vol. 12, Nos. 2/3, August 2005 (C 2005)

A robust body of research documents that there are biological predispositions that often exist for depression, anxiety, and obsessive–compulsive disorder. However, new research has shown that medication is only mildly more effective than placebo in the treatment of these problems. In treating these conditions, neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) may offer an alternative to invasive treatments such as medication, ECT, and intense levels of transcranial magnetic stimulation. This paper reviews the neurofeedback literature with these problems, finding particularly positive research support for the treatment of anxiety disorders. New findings on the neurofeedback treatment of depression are presented.