Top 14 Questions About Neurofeedback Therapy (Neurotherapy) for Brain Disorders
October 18, 2018
While every patient is unique, learning more about how neurofeedback works and what it can do for you will help you make an informed decision about the process. MyBrainDR hears from potential patients every day –we have collected our most commonly asked questions, along with their answers, for your review. We hope that these details will help you learn more about how neurofeedback works and are ready to answer any additional questions or concerns you may have.
- What Is Neurofeedback?
Also called EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, neurofeedback uses technology to identify patterns and irregularities within the brain. Once a pattern or issue is detected, it frequently may be modified, using audio and visual cues to change timing and activation patterns in the brain. Neurofeedback does not target any condition, but instead slowly guides your brain back to normal ranges, allowing your brain to return to a healthier pattern. Over time, this process of finding and correcting irregularities can help ease issues associated with a variety of conditions, resulting in relief without drugs or chemical intervention. Neurofeedback is not new; it has been used for decades to help patients with a wide range of diagnoses and issues and continues to improve and evolve.
- What Conditions Does Neurofeedback Help?
Neurofeedback is used to restore the brain to a healthier pattern and provides relief for patients suffering from Anxiety, Depression, OCD, ADD, ADHD, Stroke, Tinnitus, Memory Loss, Insomnia, and more. In addition to these conditions, neurofeedback has been making recent headlines as a treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury (including Concussions) and Autism. While neurofeedback is often used to assist those suffering from a wide range of medical conditions, it is also used to improve performance, enhance clarity and attain desired outcomes. Athletes, scholars and other experts in their fields use neurofeedback as a way to optimize their brains, so they may achieve peak performance.
- Will Neurofeedback Help Me?
Neurofeedback has a high rate of success with many conditions, particularly Anxiety/Depression and ADD/ADHD and significant success rates with other conditions. MyBrainDR helps both adults and children (over the age of six), dealing with many brain imbalance conditions. The best way to determine if neurofeedback will help you is a consultation with the doctor at MyBrainDR. You’ll be able to talk about what you’ve been experiencing and learn how this process may help you. Since each patient is unique, the doctor may recommend an initial brain scan, or Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG), to determine if this beneficial program will help you feel better and eliminate or drastically reduce your symptoms, helping you return to the life that you enjoy! This scan will produce a map of your brain, indicating if irregular brainwave patterns exist, and will assist the doctor in determining if neurofeedback is the best option for you. In addition, a customized nutritional program may be recommended for your condition to further accelerate recovery to the life that you want return to.
- What Is a Brain Map?
A brain map showing the results of the brain scan is used to determine and assess your current brain state; it will uncover any brainwave patterns that may be causing you trouble. During the qEEG brain scan, a snug-fitting cap fits over your head; built-in sensors will listen to, monitor and measure the electric activity of your brain. The scan is painless, stress-free and takes about a half hour to complete. A brain scan is the first step in the neurofeedback process and used to assess your current status by measuring five distinct types of brainwaves. Once the scan is complete, the doctor reviews the scan by accessing details about each of the distinct types of brainwaves, including any that are out of balance, and target the treatment for optimal results.
- Will Neurofeedback Affect my Personality?
Neurofeedback will not change your personality – it will simply train your brain to work more effectively and enhance your overall mental balance and mood. Most people feel calmer, less stressed and better able to focus after beginning neurofeedback, but the process does not change your core personality, beliefs or memory.
- What Can I Expect from a Typical Session?
You’ll start with an initial assessment and analysis to determine how neurofeedback may best help you. Next, our skilled and knowledgeable team will work out a protocol that will effectively target your concerns and symptoms. Once we have a treatment plan, you’ll visit our center twice a week for 30-minute neurofeedback sessions.
During your sessions, you’ll relax and enjoy a calming visit that includes sound and video of your choice, while wearing special glasses and sensors monitoring the areas that are being trained. You’ll find the experience restful and soothing, and a way to “reset and recharge” as the treatment works to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms you’ve been experiencing. As you attend neurofeedback sessions on a regular basis, your brain will become more and more adept at maintaining healthy brainwave patterns without assistance.
- How Do I Get Started with Neurofeedback?
Getting started is easy; contact the MyBrainDR office and schedule a time to come in and talk about what you have been experiencing. This is also the ideal time to get answers to your specific questions and learn more about neurofeedback.
Once you have the details you need and we’ve determined that you may be a good candidate for neurofeedback therapy, we’ll set up a brain scan, or qEEG session, to evaluate your current condition and determine if/how we can help you best. After that, we’ll create a program designed to target your specific concerns and move forward from there.
- How Do You Determine What Is Needed?
Once we have your personal brain map and the details about what you are experiencing, we compare your qEEG/brain map with our extensive normative database to see which specific areas of your brain need to be rebalanced. We use this data to craft a customized program and training session schedule designed specifically for you.
- How Long Until I Feel a Difference?
Most people find the neurofeedback process and training relaxing – some feel relief and results immediately, but every patient is different. Most of our patients begin to feel the benefits of neurofeedback in 3-4 weeks, or 6-8 sessions.
- How Long Do Neurofeedback Results Last?
Since neurofeedback works to train your brain to make effective connections and create positive changes, the results last. Completing neurofeedback is like learning any other skill – from riding a bicycle to swimming or knitting, once you acquire the skill you will retain it. Some patients do like to return and review on a regular basis – pediatric patients who are constantly experiencing growth and change may need to return occasionally, just as they return to a doctor, speech therapist or physical therapist, as gains are made.
- Will Neurofeedback Interfere with my Medication?
Since neurofeedback is drug-free and designed to retrain your brain, it does not interfere with the medications you currently take. Certain medications of the Benzodiazepines class may conflict with the results of neurofeedback. You should continue taking medication as prescribed. Once results start to occur, it is recommended to have a meeting with your prescribing doctor to discuss if reductions or eliminations are possible. DO NOT stop taking your prescription medication without consulting with your regular physician.
- What about Side Effects?
In over four decades, there have been very few reported side effects and neurofeedback is considered safe for all patients.
- Are Biofeedback and Neurofeedback the Same Thing?
Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback; it is designed to specifically target brainwave patterns. Other forms of biofeedback may target and regulate other body parts and functions, from blood pressure to heart rate.
- What Kind of Insurance Do You Accept?
As of 2018, most health insurers do not cover brain mapping and neurofeedback training as treatment for most brain-related conditions, but we would be happy to check with your insurance company. MyBrainDR does offer payment options if needed. If you have an FSA or HSA, you may use that account to cover neurofeedback therapy and brain scans.
Still Have Questions?
These are the most commonly asked neurofeedback questions we receive – but if you have concerns or questions that are not covered here, please get in touch. You can call or schedule a time to come in and discuss your specific needs and learn more about the process from our team – and decide if medication-free, risk-free neurofeedback is right for you.