What is EEG Biofeedback?
What is it used for?
How is it done?
An initial interview is done to obtain a description of symptoms, and to get a picture of the health history and family history. Some testing may be done as well. And the person does the first EEG training session, at which time we get a look at the EEG. This all may take about two hours. (The details may differ among the various affiliate offices. In some offices a full brain map, or quantitative EEG, is routinely obtained, which may require a separate office visit. Or more extensive testing may be done.) Subsequent training sessions last about 40 minutes to an hour, and are conducted from one to five times per week. Some improvement is generally seen within ten sessions. Once learning is consolidated, the benefit appears to be permanent in most cases.
The EEG biofeedback training is a painless, non-invasive procedure. One or more sensors are placed on the scalp, and one to each ear. The brain waves are monitored by means of an amplifier and a computer-based instrument that processes the signal and provides the proper feedback. This is displayed to the trainee by means of a video game or other video display, along with audio signals. The trainee is asked to make the video game go with his brain. As activity in a desirable frequency band increases, the video game moves faster, or some other reward is given. As activity in an adverse band increases, the video game is inhibited. Gradually, the brain responds to the cues that it is being given, and a “learning” of new brain wave patterns takes place. The new pattern is one which is closer to what is normally observed in individuals without such disabilities.
What Therapeutic Applications Have Clinical Evidence?
- Attachment Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Chronic Fatigue
- Syndrome (CFS)
- CConduct Disorder
- Tourettes Syndrome
- Sleep Disorders
What results do we obtain?
In the case of ADHD, impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity may all respond to the training. This may lead to much more successful school performance. Cognitive function may improve as well. In several controlled studies, increases of 10 points in IQ score were found for a representative group of ADHD children. And in two clinical studies, an average increase of 19 and 23 points was demonstrated.
Behavior may improve in other ways as well: If the child has a lot of temper tantrums, is belligerent, and even violent or cruel, these aspects of behavior may come under the child’s control.
In the case of depression, there can be a gradual recovery of “affect”, or emotional responsiveness, and a reduction of effort fatigue. In the case of anxiety and panic attacks, there is gradual improvement in “regulation”, with a dropoff in frequency and severity of anxiety episodes and panic attacks until the condition normalizes.
In the case of epilepsy, we observe a reduction in severity and incidence (frequency of occurrence) of seizures. In many cases .(old sentence) The dosage of anticonvulsant medication may ultimately be reduced (if ordered by the referring neurologist), and side effects of such medication may diminish.
Can a successful outcome be predicted?
Why does this training procedure work?
The brain is amazingly adaptable, and capable of learning. It can also learn to improve its own performance, if only it is given cues about what to change. By making information available to the brain about how it is functioning, and asking it to make adjustments, it can do so. When the mature brain is doing a good job of regulating itself, and the person is alert and attentive, the brain waves (EEG) show a particular pattern. We challenge the person to maintain this “high-performance”, alert and attentive state. Gradually, the brain learns, just like it learns anything else. And like with other learning, the brain tends to retain the new skill.
We observe that if the EEG is not well-behaved under these circumstances, there may be adverse impacts on learning ability, on moods, on sleep, and on behavior. With training, these may be gradually brought under control, along with normalization of the EEG.
What does EEG Biofeedback look like?
How long does training normally take?
How frequent should the training sessions be?
Is EGG Biofeedback covered by insurance?
My doctor is skeptical about EGG Biofeedback. What can i do?
- Duffy FH (2000). The state of EEG biofeedback therapy (EEG operant conditioning) in 2000: an editor’s opinion Clinical Electroencephalography, 31, v-vii.
- Egner T, & Gruzelier JH (2004). The temporal dynamics of electroencephalographic responses to alpha/theta neurofeedback training in healthy subjects. Journal of Neurotherapy, 8, 43-57.
- Fernández T et al (2003). EEG and behavioral changes following neurofeedback treatment in learning disabled children Clinical Electroencephalography, 34, 145-52
- Hirshberg LM (2005). Emerging brain-based interventions for children and adolescents: overview and clinical perspective. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14, 1-19
- Lubar JF & Lubar JO (1999). Neurofeedback assessment and treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (pp. 103-143). In JR Evans & A Abarbanel (Eds), Introduction to quantitative EEG and neurofeedback. San Diego: Academic Press.
- Rossiter T. (2004). The effectiveness of neurofeedback and stimulant drugs in treating AD/HD: Part I. Review of methodological issues. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 29, 95-112; Part II, Replication. 29, 233-43.
- Sterman, M.B. (1996). Physiological origins and functional correlates of EEG rhythmic activities: Implications for self-regulation. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 21, 3-33.
- Trudeau DL (2005). Applicability of brain wave biofeedback to substance use disorder in adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14, 125-36