Advanced Neurofeedback for
According to the
American Psychiatric Association, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is
characterized by persistent anxiety or worry about events that occurs more
days than not over a 6-month period. It afflicts women twice as often as
men and it is estimated that more than 4,000,000 (2.8%) Americans a year
suffer from anxiety.
Anxiety runs in families.
It typically onsets at adolescence or young adulthood. People who suffer
from GAD commonly experience somatic disturbances including insomnia,
muscle tension, headaches, irritability, and even panic. The disorder is
often comorbid with depression, other anxiety
disorders, and substance abuse. It is often an obstacle to healthy
employment and social functioning.
“I had been
struggling with anxiety since my father died when I was a teenager. I
always felt on edge being with people, feeling uncomfortable, sweaty hands.
It had become so bad that it was hard for me to be in social settings.
Going to a restaurant would always cause a panic attack forcing me to go
outside or to the restrooms until the attack disappeared. Sometimes I would
feel an attack coming up while driving my car and I had to stop on the side
of the road. I visited the Jamieson Health Center 6 weeks before my upcoming
wedding. I was anxious about the event and didn’t know how I would be able
to get through it. After the initial brain map, I started Advanced Neurofeedback training twice a week and immediately started
feeling calmer. I was able to enjoy my wedding day without panic attacks. I
continued the training for several weeks after my wedding to make sure the
changes would become permanent. I can’t remember ever feeling so good. I
have peace, I can focus, I can handle stressful situations, and first and
foremost I’m happy!”
What is anxiety?
Patients with anxiety have a chronically hyper-aroused central
nervous system. In the majority of cases disposition towards anxious
behavior is genetic in origin. Any powerful trauma to the central nervous
system or prolonged stress can result in chronic anxiety and/or panic
Anxiety reduces immune system function, impairs working memory,
creates attention problems and generates a wide variety of physical
symptoms that vary from person to person. As many as 60% of doctor visits
may have their basis in the effects of prolonged anxiety. Individuals tend
to block out the feelings of anxiety over time, but the physical stress it
creates for the body continues to increase until physical problems develop.
Most people are very surprised to discover that what they thought was
purely a physical problem is primarily due to chronic anxiety.
How do you recognize anxiety?
There are various forms. Sometimes
anxiety includes excessive worrying, a nagging sense of fear, restlessness,
overly emotional responses, negative thinking, paranoia, a sense of impending
doom, and defensiveness. Anxiety is involved in addiction, perfectionism,
being overly controlling, and behavioral issues.
Anxiety sufferers are often
overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. Some can’t concentrate due to
their intense internal focus. Others obsess about specific things. Anxiety
is easily detected if someone appears outwardly nervous. At other times,
anxious people can appear calm but their brain seems to never quiet. These
people can’t stop thinking; they can’t shut their brain down. The constant
internal chatter can get so bad that it interrupts their sleeping and steals
their quality of life. They don’t live in the present. They constantly
worry about the future or live in the past.
qEEG brain map can reveal anxiety.
Anxiety results in an overactive brain. Patients tend to worry or
ruminate excessively and are hyper-vigilant. This causes increased brain
activity that is chronic and results in excessive consumption of oxygen,
glucose, and neurotransmitters as well as a host of nutrients. The effect
of this appears on a qEEG brain map. The heightened
level of metabolic activity also results in higher levels of fast brain
wave activity known as beta brainwave activity. We call this condition
"brain too fast" in contrast to depression in which the brain is
running too slow. Typically, the qEEG brain map
will reveal increased beta in the right hemisphere causing an asymmetry issue
in the brain.
training can help.
Helping people learn to calm or quiet themselves is by
far the best and most effective solution for anxiety. Learning to decrease
anxiety gives sufferers hope as they take control of their lives. Advanced Neurofeedback does just that. With neurofeedback the goal is to train the brain to slow
down and operate in a more optimal zone of functioning. As the brain
practices being in this more efficient zone of operation, it begins to grow
networks that help regulate itself better. Over time this new zone of
operation becomes the default or normal zone of operation. The symptoms of
anxiety progressively dissipate as your brain normalizes with the training.
Why medications don’t
Anxiety patients are regularly
prescribed medications. But, medications can’t teach you to quiet your
mind. Although there may be one or more area(s) in the brain causing
anxiety, it’s normally not the entire brain. Neurofeedback
identifies and targets the problematic areas of the brain, medications
generally affect the entire brain. This is why some medication make people feel tired or sluggish.
Medications only work when you are
taking them, so patients become dependent upon them to decrease anxiety. Neurofeedback strengthens the brain to learn self
regulation. When you stop medications it is likely the anxiety will remain.
If the anti-anxiety medication is addictive, which many are, improper
weaning can produce tremendous stress. If the medication(s) stops working
or side effects occur, physicians often switch patients’ medication(s).
This can cause agitation and confusion while you get used to the newest
We treat patients who are struggling to
get off their anti-anxiety medication(s). Neurofeedback
has proven to help this process. As the brain learns to decrease anxiety
and remain generally more calm, less medication is needed. We do not
advocate patients stopping medication(s) without expert medical advice.
Abruptly stopping some medication can induce a seizure, so proper medically
supervised weaning is imperative.