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qEEG-Guided Neurofeedback: Individualized Treatment for Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety disorders affect nearly a third of the U.S. population (NIMH, 2017). Symptoms of anxiety can range from inconvenient to debilitating, adding to the importance of research into effective treatments for the disorder. Of these treatments, biofeedback, particularly neurofeedback, has emerged as a viable option. Numerous studies (Singer, 2004; Kerson, Sherman, & Kozlowski, 2009; Walker, 2009; Scheinost et al., 2013) demonstrate the anxiety-reducing effects of neurofeedback interventions. They are not, however, without their limitations. A common trend among neurofeedback interventions is the use of “canned”, or pre-programmed, protocols designed to treat specific symptoms. While this method is convenient, critics argue …

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The Key to Happiness in the New Year

Although many of you will be making New Year’s resolutions, there really is only one thing that can truly provide happiness and well-being in the coming year. This thing can be allusive, difficult to maintain at times, stress-inducing, and require hard work, however, the more time and effort dedicated towards it, the closer you get to overall happiness and even joy. You guessed it; the key to your consistent well-being begins with relationships. The topic of adult satisfaction and development was first studied at Harvard in 1938. The longitudinal study has continued on the 19 living participants (now well into …

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What Does Suffering From Social Anxiety Really Mean?

Approximately 15 million American adults struggle with a debilitating social anxiety disorder, yet fewer than five percent of these individuals seek treatment. Often thought of as “social phobia,” many chalk the symptoms up to being shy, introverted or socially inept, however, the intense fear and discomfort felt in a group setting goes far beyond any personality trait. The disorder can interfere with work, school, interpersonal relationships and overall well-being. Social anxiety disorder is a clinical diagnosis distinguished by crushing anxiety and extreme self-awareness of one’s own actions, demeanor or behavior in ordinary social situations. The chronic fear of being watched …

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Brain Waves and Heart Rates: How Neuro and Biofeedback Can Help Children With Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can manifest in a number of behaviors, including social impairments, difficulty regulating emotion, and behavior repetition. While the underlying cause of these behavior patterns is still up for debate, some research has indicated a particular brain wave, known as mu rhythms, may be involved. Mu rhythms get suppressed, or turned off, when we copy someone else’s behaviors. In children with Autism, however, this wave does not turn off, with one exception: watching and copying familiar people. These findings indicate that children with Autism are capable of suppressing the mu rhythm, the brain just doesn’t do it …

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Digital Addiction: Increased Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression

The use of smartphones in our daily lives has increased to the point of widespread digital addiction. The American Society for Addiction and Medicine and the American Psychological Society both recognize behavioral dependency, in addition to dependence on a substance, as indicative of addiction. Similar to substance addiction, digital addiction appears to have some neurological basis of support. Humans have developed automatic reactions to surprising stimuli, and from an evolutionary perspective, this has been beneficial to our survival. However, in the modern world, we are often triggered for this response by digital notifications, creating inherent distractions. When individuals choose to …

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Biofeedback and Anger Management

Anger is an emotion that most people are familiar with. This emotion occurs on a continuum, meaning that the level of anger felt by an individual can vary greatly. Anger can be expressed appropriately, but when anger is suppressed, individuals may express their anger in problematic ways. Biofeedback in a noninvasive mind-body intervention that teaches individuals how to better control their physiological experiences, such as muscle tension, heart rate, and breathing. Biofeedback has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, ADHD, headaches, insomnia, and chronic pain. In the treatment of anger, however, there is little research investigating …

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Neurofeedback for Disorders Associated with Criminal Offending

Neurofeedback training has been successfully used in the treatment of a variety of disorders. Existing research has identified EEG frequency deviances in disorders that are associated with criminal offending, such as the following. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most well researched disorders that has been treated by neurofeedback training, and also demonstrates some relationship to criminal activity considering its associations with inattention, impulsivity, and lacking inhibitory control. In EEG-based literature, ADHD appears to concern an excess of slow frequencies like delta and theta, as well as reduced beta waves and sensori motor rhythm (SMR). About 60% of …

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Alpha-Theta Brainwave Neurofeedback Training: An Effective Treatment for Alcoholics with Depressive Symptoms

Alpha brainwaves are thought to be associated with feelings of well-being. Theta waves are connected to a day-dreaming or pre-sleep state. Beta brainwaves are associated with concentration, or anxiety and confusion. Delta waves indicate sleepiness or sleep. Alcoholics tend to show deficient alpha activity during an eyes-closed relaxed EEG. It is possible that this deficient alpha activity is characteristic of alcoholism and could therefore be used to identify individuals with this predisposition. Research has demonstrated that alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback therapy is very effective in the treatment of alcoholism, and particularly in achieving abstinence from alcohol. Saxby and Peniston’s (1995) study …

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What is Neuroplasticity?

Simply put, neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to learn and adjust its functioning accordingly. Neuroplasticity is the ability for neurons and neural networks to change their connections and functions to adapt to any type of change, such as new information, development, stimulation, or damage. When one’s environment changes, or certain events are experienced repeatedly, neuroplasticity allows your brain to adjust to these changes or repeated experiences. In repeated experiences, your brain is repeatedly activating the same brain areas and neuronal connections in response to this experience. As a result, the neurons that are communicating strengthen their relationship over time to …

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Neurofeedback training for major depressive disorder: recent developments and future directions

Major depression is a disorder characterized by sad mood, loss of pleasure, and other affect-related, cognitive, and physical symptoms. Major depression is a very common and debilitating disorder, which is frequently recurrent in individuals and often has significant personal, social, societal, and economic costs. Nonetheless, the use of neurofeedback training for major depression is a relatively novel area. Efforts in developing neurofeedback techniques for use with major depression will be highly beneficial for the clinical psychology field, for neurofeedback is less invasive and leads to fewer side effects than other treatments for depression, such as deep brain stimulation and pharmacological …

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