Anxiety

Neurofeedback is an Evidence-based Method to reduce Anxiety

Anxiety presents in various forms of persistence and severity:

 –  Intermittent Anxiety, triggered by specific situations: Social anxiety, fear of heights, phobias

 – Persistent Anxiety, where a feeling of hypervigilance becomes a general state that affects our sleep, focus and general functioning

 – Extreme Anxiety, where Trauma, Paranoia or Panic Attacks become physically debilitating 

Neurofeedback to treat Intermittent Anxiety, including Fear of Heights, social anxiety and phobias
Neurofeedback to treat extreme anxiety where trauma, panic attacks, paranoia and nervous breakdowns are debilitating

Anxiety can take many forms:

– a recurring, almost obsessive worry about things in our personal life

– a chronic fear or hyper-vigilance

– stress, exhaustion, distractibility and sleep disorders

– trauma we’ve experienced and never digested properly

 – Panic Attacks and other paroxysmal manifestations. 

Stress, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, and consequently lack of deep sleep, difficulty in getting the mind to rest, insomnia and lack of focus in daily life are the consequence.  This often results in harmful behavioural patterns as social fears are amplified, and then often masked with self-medication.  Consequently, anxiety is often experienced with symptoms of depression and PTSD.

Worse even, some people experience panic attacks, an overwhelming culmination of anxiety resulting in physical debilitation.  

Dr. Corydon Hammond finds in his 2005 paper, “Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression and Anxiety” that neurofeedback training results in “enduring improvements approximately 80% of the time”, with most perceiving a difference after between three and six sessions; a “very significant improvement” after 10-12 sessions, and more so after over 20 sessions.  

Neurofeedback is a safe, effective, non-invasive, drug-free method to combat anxiety. 

See here for a summary of research demonstrating the effectiveness of neurofeedback for anxiety.

Neurofeedback London practices The Othmer Method and Brain Map-based Personalised Brain Training

With the Othmer Method of neurofeedback training, we can achieve calming and improved emotional self-regulation.  

Brain Map-based Personalised Brain Training lets us target specific brain areas.  There are many sources of anxiety.  With a qEEG brain map we can see dysrhythmia in specific areas of the cortex that may contribute to anxiety.  Personalised Brain Training then lets us train these areas as part of a holistic approach to optimal cortical integration.   

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)79666 99430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io 

Neurofeedback London-Brighton-Manchester does not provide diagnosis nor medical interventions nor medical advice and is not medically trained.  By engaging in neurotherapy, you confirm that you have sought medical advice and are keeping your relevant medical professional informed of therapy progress.

Neurofeedback is a form of complementary therapy and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine.  qEEG brain map-based neurofeedback training takes a more holistic approach to brain functioning, rather than just focusing on medical symptoms.  It is not intended as a form of diagnosis nor medical intervention nor medical advice per the disclaimer.

Personalised Brain Training for Anxiety

A qEEG brain map analysed with proprietary software developed by one of the founders of the field of neurofeedback is the premise for Personalised Brain Training.  There are numerous sources of anxiety from a neurological perspective.  By mapping and interpreting the connections between brain areas of the cortex, we can target our neurofeedback training. 

Typically, the dysrhythmic brain areas in people with anxiety have functions also involved in self-nurture, motivation, autobiographic self, monitoring outcomes and consequences of actions, and perception of personal space.  Many of these areas are also impacted in other pathologies, such as depression, focus issues, OCD, insomnia and PTSD.  Anxiety is therefore frequently diagnosed together with one of these, or a different diagnosis supersedes it. 

A brain map is not a diagnostic tool.  As such we are less interested in nomenclature, but rather in localising brain areas whose dysrhythmia is contributing to anxiety.  By addressing these, we find that other comorbidities are usually resolved in the process as well. 

Brain Maps and Personalised Brain Training

Personalised Brain Training is a neurofeedback training method devised by founders of the field, Barry Sterman and David Kaiser.  

 

Every Brain is individual and different, therefore Personalised Brain Training neurofeedback

We take a holistic approach to healthy brain self-regulation, rather than categorisation or diagnosis.  In our view, and experience, symptoms resolve when our system is balanced.

Neurofeedback Training calms the mind and restores functionality

A brain map is an analysis of brain wave behaviour as measured by a qEEG recording.  We record 20 minutes of the brain activities with a 19-sensor qEEG recorder.  There is no stimulation, and contact between the sensors and the head is via an easily removable gel applied to specific points.  From this recording, we can generate a brain map using Kaiser Neuromap software.  

qEEG recording of brain waves is analysed to generate a brain map in form of a Kaiser Neuromap

The functional connectivity between various brain areas allows us to see vulnerabilities to character traits or behaviour patterns.  

Kaiser Neuromap brain maps show character traits for neurofeedback

Neurofeedback training is a process where we give the brain feedback about its own activity at a particular cortical site in real time, via visual, auditory or tactile means.  There is no direct stimulus to the brain and the sensors attached are for measurement of cortical EEG, or tiny electrical currents detectable on the surface of our head.  This signal is then amplified and analysed by software in real-time, and this information is used to provide feedback to our brain.  

Neurofeedback process illustrated by electrode measurement analysed and transformed into feedback via a movie in visual and auditory form for the preconscious mind to process and adapt its behaviour to in a learning process.

 We use a movie of choice as the feedback mechanism – our conscious mind engages with the film, and feedback is delivered by small changes in volume or picture size.  Our pre-conscious mind adapts its behaviour to preserve the more comfortable volume and picture size, and learning occurs.

Neurofeedback helps restore functional connectivity in key neural networks

Neurofeedback training is safe, effective and non-invasive. 

Neurofeedback training is safe and non-invasive shown in a picture using Othmer Method

Neurofeedback is evidence-based. 

Neurofeedback is evidence based therapy with a wealth of over 3,500 peer-reviewed research reports per PubMed neurofeedback

 

Guided by a Kaiser Neuromap, our neurofeedback training targets specific brain areas, neural hubs and networksThis improves integration of the  brain area we are training, as well as its network and sub-cortical connections.

Developed by a founder of the field of neurofeedback, and with a wealth of over 3,000 brain maps and thirty years’ of experience, Personalised Brain Training uses advanced neurofeedback protocols.

qEEG-brainmap takes under an hour to obtain and is a non-invasive process.  A nineteen-sensor cap is comfortably fitted and we record about twenty minutes of brain activity.  Using specialised software, we obtain a visual analysis which we will communicate verbally.  This also forms the basis of our training plan.  Note that we do not provide diagnosis.

qEEG brain map for personalised brain training in neurofeedback

This brain map approach is unique in that it analyses the connectivity of a functional brain area, rather than simply geographic areas of the brain.  

Connectivity is a measure of regional integration of specific brain areas with other areas and key networks.  This is a relative measure – to be meaningful, it has to be referenced to a baseline.  Rather than use an average as a reference, we compare results to a set of hand-picked individuals who are both high-performing professionals and well-balanced individuals.  Our ability to engage with others, form friends and alliances, and make consensual decisions is deemed as important for success as professional specialisation and technical performance.

functional brain area, as first delineated by Korbinian Brodmann in 1909, was first defined by variations in the number of layers in its grey matter.  This difference in physical property still holds as a valid way to separate brain regions, and each has its own function while being connected to other areas of the cortex via white matter, as well as to the brainstem, in particular, the thalamus.  With a brain map, we gain insights into both cortical integration (how well the area connects with its surrounding areas), as well as its thalamo-cortical integration. 

Neurofeedback training relies on real-time EEG measurement, analysis and translation into feedback

Neurofeedback Training Sessions

Personalised Brain Training aims to optimise the cortical connectivity, as well as promoting improved thalamo-cortical connection.  Neuroplasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain to make new connections, is an essential and continuous process that underpins our ability to learn.  With brain training, we can promote this process.  

Protocols are generally around 30-45 minutes per brain area that we train; as such, training sessions are ideally around 90-120 minutes.  This corresponds to the average length of a movie.  This is also the length of our ultradian rhythms – attention cycles that govern our day, letting us perform at more than 100% at peak, and less than this at trough – think of the lull we experience around lunchtime.  By training the brain throughout a complete cycle, we are more likely to provide the brain with a challenge at different points in its attention cycle for a more comprehensive training. 

The primary feedback mechanism in Personalised Brain Training is auditory, that is, a subtle change in volume.  The brain recognises this, preconsciously, while our conscious mind is focused on the movie, and corrects its behaviour to preserve the continuity of the watching (or listening) experience.  A secondary, visual feedback mechanism can be activated, whereby the picture size changes too, though this is optional in cases of high visual sensitivity (e.g. migraines).   

We can track progress by remapping the brain at intervals, usually after every 20 hours of training.  Ten sessions will give a good indication of responsiveness, which besides subjective feedback we can ascertain with a further remap.  With neurofeedback training, we are showing the brain a more efficient state during a session.  Upon repetition, the brain learns to adopt this new state.  The person has to then implement this new learning in their life.  Internal changes have to be externalised.  Training success depends on this ability thus results can vary.  

Neurofeedback training begins with two to three sessions per week and the frequency of training can then be adjusted to need and symptom improvements.  Intensive courses involving two or more sessions per day can also be accommodated.

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)7966 699430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io to arrange sessions.

The Process

Brain Map

We record qEEG brain activity for about 15-20 minutes.  This process takes about 30-45 minutes overall and we discuss results a few days later via call or in person.  This provides the basis for the Personalised Brain Training Plan. 

Neurofeedback Sessions

 Comfortably watching a movie of choice, we train specific brain areas per our Personalised Brain Training Plan.  Sessions are two hours (shorter if necessary), and ideally we aim to do two or three per week.  Alternatively, intensive courses can accommodate two sessions per day.  Generally, we would look to do 40 hours or 20 sessions.

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)7966 699430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io to arrange sessions.

Neurofeedback is a Proven Treatment for Anxiety

The effectiveness of neurofeedback training for anxiety was first recorded four decades ago in 1978.  Since then, there have been over 120 peer-reviewed research papers published on neurofeedback and anxiety.  Academic interest in this application of neurofeedback has picked up notably during the last three years.    

Dr. Corydon Hammond finds in his 2005 paper, “Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression and Anxiety” that neurofeedback training results in “enduring improvements approximately 80% of the time”, with most perceiving a difference after between three and six sessions; a “very significant improvement” after 10-12 sessions, and more so after over 20 sessions.  

Improving emotional regulation with neurofeedback represents a “novel intervention to control anxiety”.   Just a single session resulted in a statistically significant improvement in anxiety.  

Contamination anxiety was improved in a lasting way in this study .

Twenty sessions of neurofeedback training led to a significant improvement in sleep, anxiety and depression evaluations.  The same disorders plus inattention showed significant improvements when conducting ten or more sessions in a naturalistic setting.  Anxiety was reduced in Canadian Aboriginals during seven days of two hour training.   Fifteen sessions reduced GAD symptoms. 

Neurofeedback improved depressive symptoms in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) patients, with significant decrease in anxiety and clinical illness severity noted as a result of the training.   Cognitive depression was reduced here.  Anhedonia and comorbid anxiety in MDD where also improved in this recent study.  Increased happiness ratings and decrease in anxiety was documented with related increased activity in specific brain areas.  

Post-operative depression and anxiety, pain, difficulties sleeping and attention and memory problems were resolved in 20 neurofeedback sessions.  The 45-year old female was able to return to work subsequently.  Postcancer cognitive impairment (PCCI) sufferers (a substantial subset of breast cancer survivors) found strongly significant reduction in anxiety, as well as somatisation and depression, after twenty neurofeedback sessions.  Anxiety, as well as depression and tinnitus were greatly reduced during stroke rehabilitation, plus improvement in speech fluency, word finding, balance and coordination, attention and concentration. 

Ten neurofeedback sessions improved symptoms of pain and fatigue, anxiety and depression in fybromyalgia patients.  Neurofeedback was also found to reach maximum effect within four weeks.

Multiple Sclerosis sufferers saw depression, fatigue and anxiety reduced, and the results were maintained at a 2-month follow-up.

Alpha Theta neurofeedback training reduced anxiety in competitive ballroom dancers, as well as increasing cognitive creativity. 

Neurofeedback provided benefit to high functioning ASD with regard to anxiety.  

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome patients found a significant reduction in cognitive deficits, anxiety and depression; noticeable improvement in memory and neurological functioning, and significant reduction in alcohol intake on follow-up.  Impulsivity, anxiety and depression were improved in long-term abstinent delinquents.   Sharp reductions in self-assessed depression were found in alcoholic outpatients, as well as reduction in anxiety, after twenty Alpha-Theta sessions.  

The physical basis of how neurofeedback training can be applied to reduce maladaptive rumination and anxiety was confirmed here.  

Neurofeedback is a form of complementary therapy and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine.  qEEG brain map-based neurofeedback training takes a more holistic approach to brain functioning, rather than just focusing on medical symptoms.  It is not intended as a form of diagnosis nor medical intervention nor medical advice per the disclaimer.

The Othmer Method for Anxiety:  Mental Calming and Trauma Resolution

First, neurofeedback works on emotional and physical calming.  The effects are often felt within the first few sessions; further training allows these to become permanent.

This is done with ILF training using the Othmer Method, whereby the parts of the brain responsible for physical symptoms, for core emotions such as fear and anger, hyper-vigilance and paranoia, for self-control and conscious obsessive thoughts are trained.

Often, anxiety is rooted in some form of Trauma.

Once sufficient calming is achieved, Alpha Theta training is used to address underlying trauma, issues or memories which haven’t been digested, and enable the brain to process these, consciously and subconsciously.  Importantly, Neurofeedback training aims to resolve trauma subconsciously, without having to relive the trauma.  Alpha-Theta Training, a very relaxing protocol, allows our brain to reach deep states during which it is able to separate the event from the emotions attached to it, and store these memories and associations in a safer place.

Adding Synchrony training can further soothe, improve memory and concentration, and generally restore a healthy sense of self-worth and connectedness with our environment.

Results can be sustainable and long-lasting.

Anxiety and Physiological Arousal – Improving Brain Self-Regulation with the Othmer Neurofeedback Method

Each person has their individual arousal and performance curve.  We move up and down this curve over the course of the day as we are confronted with situations.

At the high end, extreme arousal constitutes a hyper-vigilant state mentally, and the physical symptoms to match, e.g. higher heart rate, blood pressure, sensory alertness and readiness to respond.  This is useful in emergencies -“fight or flight” – but ignores necessary rest and recuperation, as well as an awareness of the future and resultant needs for foresight and preparation; it also places unsustainable stress on the body and consequently is not a state that should one should be in continuously.  At the other extreme, a low arousal state is essential for good rest and sleep, but is not suited to the range of demands in our daily routine, which can include times of high levels of alertness, varying degrees of physical preparedness,  repetitive tasks with different concentration requirements, and all kinds of emotional states paired with their concomitant physiology.

The ability to shift arousal state to the requisite level for the situation at hand is what is meant by good self-regulation of the brain.  It is this quality that neurofeedback training seeks to improve.

Alpha Theta Brainwave Training for Unresolved Trauma

The root cause of anxiety can be an unprocessed experience, or possibly a trauma one isn’t even conscious of anymore.  A variation of neurofeedback training, Alpha Theta, aims to induce a deep state of relaxation during which it is possible to safely digest such issues and enable them to enter the long term memory, free of the feared emotional association.  From clinical experience, the processing of emotions and memories appears to happen particularly when we are crossing from the meditative Alpha state into dream-intense Theta; during Alpha Theta training, the brain is given information as to which state it is in – the music changes, basically, though we add other auditory components such as chimes, gongs and binaural beats.  We are not forcing the brain to do anything, other than to relax by being in a quiet, comfortable setting wearing eyeshades and headphones.  In a twenty to thirty minute session, the brain shifts between Alpha and Theta dominant states repeatedly, and processing of experiences happens at subconscious and conscious level.

Alpha Theta training can be very deep, and requires a certain calmness of mind in order to be tolerated – it is an eyes-closed exercise during which unwanted experiences may surface, though many are dealt with by the unconsious mind.  Digesting experiences means separating the emotion from the event and enabling the brain to file the entire trauma differently, in a form that is accessible yet not tainted with negative or adverse feelings and associations.  During Alpha Theta training, this can occur without reliving the event consciously, which can be highly efficient both in terms of time and effort.  We would generally add this training after at least ten ILF Othmer Method sessions aimed at calming, though readiness can vary.

Synchrony Training for Stress & Anxiety

Infra-Low Synchrony training engages the Default Mode Network directly, and we have seen many cases where this has led to an improved sense of self-worth and a strong feeling of connectedness to our environment where this was lacking before, obscured by chronic stress and symptoms of anxiety.