Applications of neurofeedback

Treatment of anxiety with neurofeedback

Treatment of anxiety Neurofeedback Luxembourg

Video conferencing: Neurofeedback, an effective treatment for anxiety

This conference presents how we work in Luxembourg to help those suffering from generalized anxiety disorders and others (phobias, OCD…).

An effective and natural treatment for anxiety

n the space of only a few decades, our pace of life has changed drastically. Unfortunately, this has been to the detriment of our physical and mental health: stress, ruminations, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, stomach aches, sleep disorders, memory and concentration difficulties, palpitations… These symptoms are the obvious sign that anxiety is becoming chronic.

Still not well known, although it has been around for more than 50 years, Neurofeedback is an effective, non-invasive, painless and risk-free treatment for anxiety, with long-term benefits. It has been offering an alternative solution for people suffering from anxiety since 1970. In 2016, it is finally recognized as a level 4 intervention by the Evidence-Based practice for anxiety.

In early research, anxiety was reduced by increasing alpha waves in the brain (relaxation waves). Garrett & Silver’s (1976) study of 163 students showed that anxiety was reduced by over 30% in the neurofeedback group, a significant difference from the control group. When an assessment was repeated a year and a half later, the induced changes and improvements were still present (Watson et al., 1978). These results have since been repeated and verified many times.

A quick and permanent solution for anxiety

Example of a Brainmap (qEEG) of a person with anxiety: fast beta and high-beta waves in excess (in red: ruminations, anxiety…) with a deficiency of slow delta/theta waves (fatigue, bad sleep) and alpha (difficulties to relax) in blue

See the relevant page for more information on qEEG & brain waves →

Thanks to our experience and knowledge, we have developed a unique practice, specific to our office. This allows us to act on several levels of anxiety and related disorders:

Targeted and personalized therapy without drugs

Many people ask: how to treat severe anxiety without anxiolytics?

Neurofeedback does not only work on instant stress reduction or muscle relaxation. Be aware that feeling anxious is never the only symptom you have. Unfortunately, it is accompanied by many mental and/or physical manifestations.

Depending on your life history, your personality, your resources… you will present various symptoms, at different intensities. Although there are similarities, one anxious person is not representative of all anxious people.
We observe this every day: the brains of our clients, although having the same diagnosis of anxiety disorders, can be totally different. To ensure effective treatment of anxiety, we believe it is imperative to personalize the treatment. This is the strength of the qEEG Neurofeedback we employ. Unlike medication: we measure before we act, to make sure we are going in the right direction with each of our clients.

See the relevant page for more information on the Process → 

Post-treatment results for anxiety

Here are the results before and after 12 sessions of neurotherapy for one of our clients:

Before

After

Here are the symptoms we can act on:

In some cases, the above symptoms may mask the real origin of your difficulties: sometimes generalized anxiety disorder is only a symptom of what is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anxiety vs stress: the differences

According to WHO (World Health Organization) studies, 260 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety and related disorders, both children and adults.

Stress is a physiological reaction of our body

It is the fruit of evolution allowing us to mobilize resources quickly to flee or protect ourselves from a danger. In our lives, we will all experience it, but its duration must be very short! Once the event has passed, you return to your basic state: calm. If not, it may be a sign of anxiety.

Anxiety is a psychological reaction

Normally punctual, stress has become too present in our current societies. By dint of it, it becomes harmful and when it becomes chronic, many symptoms appear. In the long run, it leads to important psychic and physical disorders!

Note: anxiety prolonged over several years leads to depression and/or burn-out.

Symptoms & long term effect

1. Psychological symptoms

2. Physical & physiological symptoms

3. Neurological and cognitive symptoms

The hormones produced by the reaction to stress will reach the brain and modify its constitution. Its activity will change.

The amygdala is responsible for sounding the alarm in the event of a potential danger (for example, when we are walking in the forest and we hear a noise). This message is sent to the prefrontal cortex whose role is to evaluate the threat by means of a rational judgment: "Is the danger real? No, there is no lion in the forest, I am not afraid of anything". Once the potential threat has been eliminated, the nervous system returns to normal and the amygdala immediately goes back to sleep.

When anxiety becomes chronic, the amygdala is activated almost permanently and the prefrontal cortex no longer plays its role: it becomes deactivated. As the brain is a muscle, the more we use an area, the more neurons and connections it will contain, the "stronger" it will be. It is a vicious circle that is set up. The brain no longer leaves the state of stress; it is no longer in the present moment. Without relaxation, the whole nervous system is irritated and overactive = state of hypervigilance.

4. Long-term negative consequences

Short termLong term
Tense musclesMuscle pain and headaches, migraine
Tapping into energy resourcesInsomnia and chronic fatigue
Minimized immune systemSusceptibility to infectious diseases
Stopped cell renewal and growthEarly aging or growth arrest in children
Increase in blood glucoseRisk of diabetes
Increased blood pressureHypertension and arteriosclerosis
Reduced or inactive reproductive systemDecreased fertility and libido, erectile dysfunction / menstrual cycles
Digestion stoppedDigestive disorders

The body and our nervous system can handle a minimum of stress but when it becomes chronic it can do great damage

Traditional treatments for anxiety

Drugs

Medication is the best known solution for anxiety disorders. The most commonly used are Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Temesta, Valium, Lysanxia…). They are only available by prescription, unlike neurotherapy. You do not need a prescription to come in for sessions.

Medication should be seen as a crutch, i.e., an aid to move forward during a difficult and painful period. In no case should this treatment become a treatment for anxiety over the very long term (taken for 5, 10, even 30 years). Unfortunately, this is very often the case, but you should know that even if the medication is effective, it will not cure you. Often, as soon as they are stopped, the symptoms come back, if the underlying cause has not been explored. In addition, they can be accompanied by very unpleasant side effects.

They are not contraindicated in conjunction with Neurofeedback sessions, on the contrary. And above all, never stop your medication abruptly without talking to your health care professional, because this can be dangerous.

Therapy

Never underestimate the part played by the events you have experienced, the education you have received, your personality, your beliefs (nothing to do with religion here)… in your mental health. It is important to take care of yourself.

Going to a psychologist does not make you weak or crazy. Do not hesitate to push the door of a professional (systemic therapy, EMDR, CBT…).

Activities and alternative medicine

In addition to your medication, therapy and/or sessions, you can implement practices in your daily life. Note that what will make them effective is the consistency of a regular practice.

Meditation

There are many different ones: find the one that suits you (note that you should avoid mindfulness if you have a psychological trauma or depression).

Neuromeditation

Meditation is complicated when you are anxious, sometimes impossible to calm your thoughts. There are affordable and effective devices that allow you to do meditation assisted by EEG (contact us for more information).

Yoga

It is a very gentle sport that combines well with meditation. Don't underestimate its power on your well-being! There is special yoga for anxiety, trauma, etc.

Cardiac coherence

Our brain has a direct influence on our heart: it beats faster if the emotion is strong, but the reverse is also true: the speed of the heartbeat influences our brain. Cardiac coherence allows us to regulate the speed of our heartbeat to match our brain. You can apply the 365 method on a regular basis.

Acupuncture

It is effective for many problems related to stress and emotional management difficulties: anxiety, sleep, worry, sadness ... It allows to rebalance the emotions and the mind.

Food supplements (always consult your doctor)

Did you know that more than 70% of French people are deficient in magnesium? It is an important mineral for our mental and physical health because it is necessary for more than 300 enzymatic reactions. In particular the production of energy (its lack leads to real fatigue). Stress causes magnesium to leak directly into our urine and our body does not synthesize it, so it is important to provide it through a varied diet. A magnesium deficiency increases stress, and stress increases magnesium deficiency.

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