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Wellbeing

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 Peak Performance Training

Neurofeedback training has been demonstrated to improve cognitive skills, emotion regulation abilities, and psychophysiological functioning. Athletes, business and medical professionals, and musicians and other performers have used neurofeedback to elevate their functioning in these domains to superior levels. Neurofeedback, particularly for peak performance training, is best when used in an individualized treatment approach. After acquiring information about one’s individual brain wave activity, target areas can be identified to help that individual learn new, more effective ways of problem solving and dealing with stressful, high-pressure situations. Therefore, neurofeedback is best when it is targeting the “‘right brainwave, at the right time, …

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Using Neurofeedback to Lower Anxiety Symptoms Using Individualized qEEG Protocols

Anxiety disorders currently affect about 18% of the United States population, reported in women twice as frequently as in men. These individuals suffer from chronic and severe symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. There are many evidence-based treatments for the broad scope of anxiety disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure-based treatment, medication, and meditation. Neurofeedback has also been supported by previous research in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Kerson, Sherman, and Kozlowski (2009) trained participants by decreasing alpha waves until they were sufficiently suppressed, and then the focus shifted to improving alpha symmetry. As a result, they found improvements in …

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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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Neuromodulation and neurofeedback treatments in eating disorders and obesity

As the neurobiological understanding of eating disorders has evolved in recent years, nontraditional treatments involving neurofeedback have been developed. Extreme differences among eating disorders, ranging from severe food restriction to binge eating, may result from differences in one’s neurobiological make-up. Increased understanding of these differences has informed the development of these novel treatments involving neurofeedback. Dalton et al.’s (2017) literature review summarizes the existing researching investigating the efficacy of neurofeedback training, along with other neuromodulation interventions, in the treatment of various eating disorders. Neurofeedback training as an intervention for eating disorders has been explored in two randomized controlled trials. In …

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Neurofeedback is the best available front-line treatment for ADHD: What is the evidence for this claim?

The primary characteristic of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is impaired executive functioning and attentional processes. These impairments involve difficulty in self-regulation which is often seen as attentional difficulties, impulsive behaviors, and hyperactivity. Furthermore, these impairments typically cause difficulty in school, social, and home settings, particularly in the organizational skills required to function efficiently in daily life. ADHD is the most common diagnosis given to school-age children in the United States, occurring in about 11% of children, and occurring more frequently in boys than girls. Medication, behavior therapy (e.g. neurofeedback training), or a combination of the two, are the most typical …

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Neurofeedback improves foreign language learning

When people learn foreign languages, it is often difficult for them to discriminate and learn sounds that do not exist in their native language. Speech sounds are a part of language-specific memories that develop categories relevant to one’s native language during childhood. Some sounds, such as “L” and “R” in English, may have two separate speech sound categories. The same “L” and “R” sounds in Japanese, however, fall within the same speech category. Therefore, it can be difficult for native Japanese speakers to differentiate similar sounding words with differences involving L’s and R’s. This auditory discrimination has shown to be …

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Neurofeedback: A noninvasive treatment for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans

One in five veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traditional treatments for PTSD include pharmacotherapy with medications and talk therapy, but both are limited. Pharmacotherapy addresses the symptoms of PTSD but produces side effects and does not address the underlying cause of the symptoms. Talk therapy for PTSD often focuses on recalling and re-experiencing traumatic events in an effort to relieve the ongoing symptoms. This recall of traumatic events activates the brain’s limbic system, creating a strong emotional reaction. This reaction can be counter-therapeutic and potentially impair left frontal lobe functioning, impairing self …

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