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“Using neurofeedback to retrain the brain corrects depression, and produces a brain state that is less vulnerable to depression.”
Drs. Baehrs and Rosenfeld
Short-Term Intervention for Medication Resistant Depression
If you have medication-resistant depression, consider this: According to a recent study, it could be gone completely, or symptoms reduced by 50% or better in two or three weeks with results quite probably being permanent.
We are now offering this short-term intervention program at our clinic.
Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair become pervasive and won't go away, it may be depression. Depression can be circumstantial, but it can also indicate an imbalance in brain function.
How can Neurofeedback help with depression?
Neurofeedback training is a drug-free alternative treatment that helps to modify and rebalance the brainwave patterns that contribute to depression. Over 30 years of research has shown that depression is associated with an imbalance of fast brainwave activity between the left and right hemispheres at the front of the brain. This is a clear indicator for the state of depression, and points to a biological predisposition. Neurofeedback training allows the person suffering from depression to directly address and modify this imbalance, resulting in better emotional regulation.
Who Can Benefit from Neurofeedback for Depression?
Neurofeedback training is an alternative for individuals who do not want to take medications, whose depression does not respond well to medications, or who have difficulty managing antidepressant medication regimens. While medication can speed up brainwaves temporarily, it does not correct the underlying brainwave problem. Neurofeedback focuses on resetting the brain, with the goal of affecting an enduring change. Positive results in follow-up studies of up to five years have indicated that ongoing medication may prove to be unnecessary once the brain has been regulated and balanced.
What is the science behind this?
Dr. Cory Hammond of the University of Utah School of Medicine treated 36 patients suffering from depression with neurofeedback training in a case series research model. He demonstrated "consistently positive results in an estimated 75% - 80% of cases", with an average 28 point improvement in the depression scale of the MMPI. Improvements were also noted in other scales measuring anxiety, obsessive rumination, withdrawal, introversion, and ego-strength. "Most patients perceived a difference within three to six 30-minute sessions, felt a very significant improvement after 10–12 sessions, and usually completed treatment within 20–22 sessions".
Neurofeedback training produced significant improvement in depression with a population of veterans with alcoholism and a veteran group with post traumatic stress disorder in two randomized, control group studies conducted by Penniston and Kulkosky (1990) and Penniston (1993). Saxby and Penniston (1995) replicated this result in non-veteran substance abusers.
As Hammond noted: "It is interesting that research has found that antidepressants do not correct the type of brainwave pattern that we see (underlying depression). Thus, medication treatment for depression appears to still leave intact the biological predisposition for becoming more easily depressed when unpleasant life circumstances come along".
Why Medications don't always work
Depression medication may be the most advertised treatment for depression, but that doesn't mean it is the most effective. Depression is not just about a chemical imbalance in the brain. Over 120 scientific studies describe and document abnormal brainwaves in people who suffer from depression. Medication may help relieve some of the symptoms of moderate and severe depression, but it doesn't cure the underlying problem, and is usually not a long-term solution. Antidepressant medications also come with side effects and safety concerns – and withdrawal can be very difficult. If you're considering whether antidepressant medication is right for you, learning all the facts can help you make an informed and personal decision about how best to treat your depression.