What is Neurofeedback Therapy? + Potential Side Effects

Are There Any Side Effects to Neurofeedback?

What is Neurofeedback Therapy? + Potential Side Effects

Patients who are considering Neurofeedback often ask if there are any adverse side effects to the therapy. As a general rule, most neurofeedback patients experience little or no adverse effects.

In fact, many find the sessions relaxing and calming. And many experience a new sense of energy following them.

However, before you begin any form of therapy it’s a good idea to be aware of what to expect from the treatment including any negative side effects that can occur.

Neurofeedback is the premise that patients, guided by providers, can retrain their brains to operate more effectively by changing the pattern of the brain’s electrical activity, otherwise known as brain waves.

It is brain waves that determine our state of consciousness, arousal and ability to control our bodies and our minds. If they are being produced at an optimum level, then our ability to think, feel and function well is assured.

But if these waves are too fast, too slow or not produced appropriately in particular sections of the brain, neurofeedback can be used to retrain the brain to address these issues.

Before reviewing the type of side effects patients may experience during or after a neurofeedback session, here’s a short list of things to keep in mind about how neurofeedback functions.

1. Everyone is different and so is their reaction to neurofeedback

Generally, most people have little or no adverse reaction to neurofeedback sessions. But each of us may react differently, at different times to the same stimuli. So trust your own experience. If you have a reaction to a session, tell your therapist about it in as much detail as you can so they can see what adjustments can be made to make you more comfortable.

2. Different parts of the brain react differently to therapy

Depending on your QEEG scan, your neurofeedback therapy targets specific locations in your brain for training that consists of increasing or decreasing brain wave frequencies in these areas.

But some sites in the brain may be more challenging to treat than others, leading to side effects more frequently.

Fortunately, your QEEG, a good neurofeedback practitioner knows how to target areas in the brain that are more ly to produce positive results without risking an adverse reaction.

3. Changing brain wave frequency can impact the emotions and brain function

If you’re attempting to retrain certain areas of the brain to increase the frequency of beta waves and/or gamma waves, the increase may result in racing thoughts, feelings of panic and generalized anxiety temporarily.

On the other hand, when slower frequencies are the goal, patients may experience feelings of fatigue and have trouble concentrating. Sometimes they have the sense of depersonalization.

But these reactions are temporary and should lessen as therapy continues.

4. Pre-existing neurological conditions can cause side effects

Before you begin treatment, always tell your neurofeedback provider about any neurological condition you may have such as epilepsy. Such conditions can cause side effects that others don’t experience. The neurofeedback therapy may or may not have a positive effect on your condition but it is important to minimize the possibility of adverse reactions as much as possible.

5. The experience of your provider is key to lowering the risk of side effects

Working with a neurofeedback provider who is poorly trained, uses outdated equipment or doesn’t do a complete QEEG before training could lead to less than optimum sessions including suffering from adverse side effects.

Here are some of the side effects some patients may experience before, after and even during a neurofeedback session

Anxiety: This can occur from nervousness about electrodes being attached to the head or just because patients feel nervous before undergoing any medical procedure. Anxiety may be felt following the session, too. Once therapy is underway, these feelings should dissipate with the recognition that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Brain fog: Neurofeedback generally reduces brain fog and “spacey” feelings. But if the practitioner isn’t properly trained, patients may find it difficult to focus during and after a neurofeedback session. Generally, however, brain fog will decrease and disappear as therapy continues.

Chattering teeth: This is a very rare reaction but some patients have reported that their teeth chattered after therapy as if they were out in very cold weather.

Cognitive impairment: Although neurofeedback was developed to aid and enhance cognitive function, if training is carried out incorrectly it could adversely affect cognitive performance.
Depersonalization: This is the feeling that you’re disconnected to your mind and body and observing yourself from the outside.

It can result from changing electrical activity in the brain that heights a patient’s overall awareness. Some people find this sensation more disconcerting and uncomfortable than others. Eventually, patients adapt to the sensation and their new level of consciousness.

Depression: Neurofeedback has proven to be a highly successful therapy for depression but in some cases, when the speed of slower brain waves is increased, a sense of depression may occur in patients not previously afflicted. anxiety, this negative reaction is usually temporary.

Dizziness: Patients may experience this sensation during and after the session, probably from the change in brain wave patterns.
Fatigue: Increasing or decreasing the speed of brain waves can cause some patients to experience fatigue for a short while.

Headaches: These can occur from training faster waves of higher frequencies or targeting the wrong sections for training. In some patients they have been known to escalate into full-blown migraines.

Head Pressure: This is a relatively uncommon reaction but sometimes is experienced in the section of the brain undergoing training.
Low energy: For high-energy people who are being treated to reduce hyperactivity, neurofeedback may seem to result in low energy.

In fact, the change they are experiencing is the positive effects of an adjustment from too much activity to a more normal pace.
Muscle tension: This may be caused when therapy isn’t properly administrated especially when training is in the higher frequencies such as beta and gamma.

Neurofeedback administered correctly is unly to cause this reaction.
Social Anxiety: Sometimes those who have a history of anxiety in social situations feel a greater sense of anxiety after a neurofeedback session.

Tiredness: any other form of exercise and training, neurofeedback can be tiring, especially if too much training is attempted before the patient is ready.
Vocal changes: Occasionally patients’ seem to experience changes in their voices. This maybe due to an increase in anxiety. In which case, the change should be temporary, once the stress has lessened.
Worsening of Symptoms: Ironically, while neurofeedback is prescribed to improve brain functioning by enhancing electrical activity, there is a possibility that these changes may cause the symptoms of depression, ADHD, anxiety and other conditions to worsen. This effect is usually temporary but maybe caused by improper training.
We hope this information is helpful to you. In a week or so, we’ll discuss how to reduce or learn to cope with any side effects experienced with Neurofeedback therapy.

About Chicago Mind Solutions
Based in Northbrook, Illinois, the licensed specialists at Chicago Mind Solutions work with children and adults to overcome symptoms and concerns related to dysfunctions in the brain with the help of neurofeedback therapy.

A non-evasive approach to improving neuroplasticity, Chicago Mind Solutions is one of a select number of neurofeedback providers in the US offering its patients’ access to Brain Avatar by Brainmaster Technology.

This advanced technology gives patients the opportunity to view in real-time the entire process of enhancing the brain’s neuroplasticity as a three-dimensional image. For more information about Chicago Mind Solutions, visit ChicagoMindSolutions.com

Source: https://chicagomindsolutions.com/are-there-any-side-effects-neurofeedback/

What Is Neurofeedback And Does It Work?

What is Neurofeedback Therapy? + Potential Side Effects

By Toni Hoy

Updated March 06, 2020

Reviewer Kay Adkins, LPC

Source:pixabay.com

Neurofeedbackanditsapplicationsareclassedunderpsychophysiology,which,accordingtotheonlinedictionary,is”thestudyoftherelationshipbetweenphysiologyandpsychologicalphenomena.”Tounderstandneurofeedback,oneneedstoglancebackatthehistoryofitsorigins.

Invertebrates,thenervoussystemcomprisestwoparts-thecentralnervoussystem(CNS),whichconsistsofthebrainandthespinalcord.Theotherpart,theperipheralnervoussystem(PNS),issubdividedintothreeseparatesystems,ofwhichoneistheAutonomicNervousSystem(ANS).TheANSregulatesfunctionssuchasdigestion,heartbeat,circulation,etc.

Birthoiofeedback

Formostofthe20thcentury,itwasbelievedthatapersoncouldconsciouslycontrolonlytheCNS.Incontrast,theANSwasobservedtofunctionautomaticallyandbeyondpossibleconsciouscontrolorawareness.

OnlytheCNSwasthoughtresponsivetooperantconditioning,which,essentially,istheuseofstimulantssuchaspunishmentandreinforcement,tochangeormodifybehavior.

ThefamousexperimentsconductedondogsbyIvanPavlovinthe1800sisprobablyoneofthebestexamplesofoperantconditioning.

Forobviousreasons,therewasstrongresistancetoexperimentationwithinstrumentalcontrolofANSresponses.However,numerousstudieseventuallyshowedthathumansandanimalscouldcontrolcertainANSresponsesthroughinstrumentaltraining.

Inpracticalterms,itmeansthat,throughinstrumentsthatprovideinformationontheactivityofasysteminthebody,apersoncanself-regulatethesesystems.Thiscouldbecalledthebirthoiofeedbackasweknowittoday.

Biofeedbacktherapyisdonewiththepurposeofimprovinghealthandperformance,and,accordingtotheAssociationofAppliedPsychophysiologyandBiofeedback,thesechangesarelasting.Itcouldevenmeanthatcontinueduseofaninstrumenteventuallybecomesunnecessary.

Neurofeedbackisaformoiofeedbackthatallowsforself-regulationorainfunctionthroughstimulationandmentalstrategies.Thetherapeuticaimistoincreasebrainefficacyandtotreatspecificdisorders.

NeurofeedbackspecialistandresearcherSiegfriedOthmer,Ph.D.,says:”Ourintellectualabilitiesandemotionalresourcescanbeconsiderablyenhancedwithneurofeedbacktraining.”

TypesofNeurofeedbackTherapy

TraditionalorEEGNeurofeedbackhasbeeninusesincethe1970s.Electrodesthatrecordbrainregionsareplacedontheperson'sscalp,andthenstimulatedwithvarioustreatmentprotocols.

Source:wikipedia.com

ThereareseventypesofEEGneurofeedbacktherapiesthatworkwellforthetreatmentofvariousdisorders.Traditionally,twobrainsensors,twoearsensors,andthegroundisused.Thetreatmentcanbetailoredtotheindividualintrainingsurfacebrainactivity,exceptinthecaseofLORE-TAandfMRIneurofeedback.Thesetherapiesallowforwholeanddeepbrainstimulation.

EEGNeurofeedbackisversatileinitsapplicationbutrequiresgreatexpertisetoadminister.

  • Frequency/PowerNeurofeedback:Thisisthemostfrequently-usedneurofeedback,alsocalled'surfaceneurofeedback.'Twotofourelectrodesareusedtochangetheamplitudeorspeedofspecificbrainwavesinparticularareasofthebrain.FrequencyNeurofeedbackisused,inparticular,totreatADHD,anxiety,and
  • SlowCorticalPotentialNeurofeedback:Thistypeofneurofeedbackisusedtotreatepilepsy,ADD,ADHDandmigraines.
  • Low-EnergyNeurofeedbackSystem:Thisdeliversaweakelectromagneticsignaltochangetheperson'sbrainwaveswhiletheyaremotionlesswiththeireyesclosed.ItisknowntobeeffectiveinthetreatmentofADHD,insomnia,traumaticbraininjury,restlesslegsyndrome,fibromyalgia,anxiety,depression,and
  • Hemoencephalographic(HEG)neurofeedback:Thisgivesfeedbackoncerebralbloodflowandisusedfortreatingmigraines.
  • LiveZ-scoreneurofeedbackisusedtotreatinsomnia.
  • Low-resolutionelectromagnetictomography(LORE-TA)isaneurofeedbacktechniquethatinvolvestheuseof19electrodes.Thisallowsforsimultaneousneuro-traininginmultipleareasofthebrain,asopposedtosingleareaswiththemorecommontwo-sensorneurofeedback.Itisusedtotreataddictions,depression,andobsessive-compulsivedisorder.
  • Functionalmagneticresonanceimaging(fMRI)isanewtypeofneurofeedbackthat”regulatesbrainactivitybasedontheactivityfeedbackfromdeepsubcorticalareasofthebrain.”fMRIneurofeedbackisusedtotreatanarrayofconditions,includingADHD,ADD,depression,anxiety,Parkinson'sdisease,evenphobias.

Source:rawpixel.com

'Brandnameneurofeedbacksystems'referstobraintrainingsystemsthat'stimulateandencourage'thebrainto'reset'andself-correct.Anumberofthese'packagedbraintrainingsystems'areavailableonthemarket.

Theabovemostofteninvolvesadual-sensorneurofeedbacksystemandavarietyofpre-programmedbraintrainingprotocols.Adeviceisusedtorecordaperson'sbrainwaveactivitythroughelectrodereadings.

Theseresultsarethenprocessedthroughspecializedcomputersoftware.Thetherapeuticaimisforthepersontopromotesomefrequenciesanddiminishothersbyusingmentalstrategies.

Withavideoandaudiointerface,thepersonplaysagamewithonlytheirbrainsignalstotrainvariousfrequenciesthatallowforspecificphysiologicaloutcomes.

TreatmentProtocols

Thefollowingarebrainwaveprotocolsusedtostimulatetargetedareasofthebrain.Thelistisnotexhaustive.

Source:rawpixel.com

AlphaProtocol

Thealphawaveinabrainisassociatedwithcalmandrelaxed,yetalertandfocusedbrainfunctioning.Itrelaxesmusclesandeventuallyleadstosleep.Researchhasshownthatmeditationincreasesalphabrainwaves.

Treatment:

  • Painrelief
  • Stressandanxietyreduction
  • Improvesmentalperformance
  • Improvesmemory
  • Treatsbraininjury.
  • Deepmusclerelaxation
  • Decreasesheartrateandregulatesbreathing

BetaProtocol

Betawavesareindicatedforimprovingmentalperformance.Itshouldbeappliedtocare,asinappropriatebetaactivityusuallyresultsindepression,ADHDorinsomnia.Betawavesarealsoassociatedwithproblem-solvingandfocus.

Treatment:

  • Inducesfocusandattention
  • Improvesreadingabilityandcomputationalperformance
  • Reducesworries,OCD,andover-thinking
  • Treatsalcoholismandinsomnia
  • Reducesanxiety,epilepsy,anger,andstress

Alpha/thetaProtocol

Thisprotocolisoneofthemostpopularformsoftrainingforstress-reduction.

Treatment:

  • Improvesseveredepression,addiction,andanxiety
  • Increasescreativity,relaxation,andmusicalperformance
  • Helpswithhealingoftrauma

DeltaProtocol

Thesearetheslowestbrainwavesandassociatedwithdeepsleep.

Treatment:

  • Painreduction
  • Improvesinsomniabyreducingconcerns
  • Alleviatestraumaticbraininjury,severeheadaches,andlearningdisorders

Gammaprotocol

Thegammabrainwavesareassociatedwithcognitiveprocessingandmemory.Astheyspeedup,memoryrecallingisfaster.

Treatment:

  • Promotescognition,mentalsharpness,andproblem-solvingtasks
  • Improvespoorcalculationandbrainorganizing
  • Increasesinformationprocessing
  • Improvesshort-termmemory
  • Reducesmigraineattacks

Thetaprotocol

Thetabrainwavesareinvolvedinbrainactivitiessuchasmemory,emotion,creativity,meditation,sleep,andhypnosis.Itisalsoobservableduringthefirstphaseofsleepwhensleepislight.

Treatment:

  • Reducesanxiety,depression,anddistractibility
  • Curbsdaydreaming
  • TreatsADHDandemotionaldisorders.

WhoCanGiveNeurofeedbackTherapy?

TraditionalEEGNeurofeedbackisahighlyspecializedtherapeuticmodalitythatrequiresgreatexpertiseandcontinuoustraining.Practitionersareusuallyqualified,doctorsorpsychiatrists.Learninghowtousesoftwarewithpre-packedtreatmentprotocols,ontheotherhand,doesn'trequirerigoroustraining.Inmostcases,itissimplyamatteroflearningthesoftwareandhowtoworkwiththeinterface.

WhoShouldAvoidNeurofeedbackTherapy?

Personssufferingfromepilepsyshouldonlyconsultwithneurofeedbacktherapistswhoarealsoqualified,doctorsorpsychiatrists.

Thistherapyhasdemonstratedefficacyinthetreatmentofepilepticseizures,butitshouldbeadministeredwithgreatcareandskill.

Importanttonote-thefactthatapatientsuffersfromepilepsyshouldneverbeconcealedfromamedicalpractitionerbeforeembarkingonanyformoftherapy.Neurofeedbacksystemswithpreloadedprotocolsshouldbeavoidedastheycaninduceseizures.

Itisalsocontraindicatedforpersonssufferingfromseverepsychiatricdisorders.Symptomsshouldfirstbestabilizedbeforetreatmentisstarted,andthenonlyundersupervisionbyaqualifiedmentalhealthpractitioner.

WhatAretheSideEffects?

Source:rawpixel.com

Unfortunately,neurofeedbacktherapyhasbeenassociatedwithadverseside-effectssuchasincreasedanxietyandagitation,mania,nausea,fatigue,hypersomnia,panicattacks,seizures,moodswingsandincreaseddepression,tonamebutafew.Thesewereduetooperatorincompetenceormistakes,whichfurtherunderscorestheneedtoinsistontreatmentonlybyqualifiedpractitioners.Neurofeedbackdoctorsshouldalsobevigilantinwatchingforsideeffects.

IsitSafeforChildren?

Neurofeedbacktherapyhasbeenverysuccessfullyemployedtohelpchildrenandadolescentswiththefollowing:

  • ADD,ADHDandOCD
  • Developmental,speechandlearningdisorders
  • AutismSpectrumDisorder,autism,Asperger's
  • Post-traumaticstressdisorders,anxiety,sleepproblemsandbraininjuries

Ithasbeenshowntoimprovecorticalfunctionandteachesself-regulation.Again,neurofeedbacktherapistsshouldbechosenwithcare.

Neurofeedbacktreatmentshouldalsobeadministeredcautiouslyforchildrenwithseverebehavioralproblems.

Neurofeedbackasatherapeuticmodalityhasimmensevalue,withpromisingprospectsforevenmoreapplications.However,thereisnosilverbulletthatcanfixeverything.Often,neurofeedbacktherapyispairedwithcounselingortherapybecause,assomeoneputit,neurofeedbacktherapycanfixthebrain,whilepsychologicalorcounselingtherapycanfixthemind.

Bothareinvaluableinanyholistichealingjourney.Supplementsandmedicationareanecessaryandeffectivewaytoaddressmanyproblems;yet,terminationofthesearelytoresultinrecurringsymptoms.Targetedprofessionalcounselingandneurofeedbacktherapycouldachievepermanentorlong-lastingresults.

Foradjuncttherapyorcounseling,orforwhateverpsychologicalassistanceyoumayneed,BetterHelpcouldbetheidealonlineplacetostart.Findatherapistorcounselorpickedforyourspecificneedsandreceivethehelpyouneedinthecomfortofyourhome.

Source: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-is-neurofeedback-and-does-it-work/

healthyincandyland.com