Does Neurofeedback Therapy Actually Work?

Though neurofeedback therapy is an established treatment for multiple disorders, you still might be wondering if neurofeedback therapy really does work.  

For the last 40 years, the Drake Institute has been pioneering the use of neurofeedback training with great success. After participating in neurofeedback treatment at the Drake Institute, thousands of patients have found relief for debilitating conditions like ADHD, autism, depression, PTSD, insomnia, anxiety, and other stress-related disorders.

Neurofeedback is an effective and safe treatment process that allows patients to achieve long-term success in managing their symptoms.

If you’d like to learn more about how neurofeedback could help you or someone you know, fill out our contact form or give us a call at 800-700-4233 today!

What Is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback (or EEG-Biofeedback) is a specific type of biofeedback.

Biofeedback is a treatment process that relies on measuring and training various body processes and functions, like hand temperature and heart rate, whereas neurofeedback focuses on what’s going on in the brain.

During neurofeedback therapy, the patient will wear sensors on their head that record and display their brainwaves on a screen. This visual feedback allows the patient to see, in real-time, how they can alter their brain’s functioning patterns.

One of the big advantages of neurofeedback treatment is that it does not require the use of prescription drugs or any sort of external brain stimulation.

Instead, neurofeedback simply captures what’s going on in the brain; it doesn’t alter its functioning—that work is left for the patient.

This process of active participation can result in long-term symptom relief. And because the treatment results are self-generated, patients can continue to experience positive results long after therapy has concluded. 

How Does Neurofeedback Work?

Understanding how neurofeedback works to help patients helps to have a better understanding of what is taking place in the brain to cause these symptoms.

The average brain is just two or three pounds, but it is responsible for pretty much everything that goes on in the body, including our ability to learn, our emotions, and even our sleep cycles.   

To control these functions, electrical currents surge through different areas of the brain at different frequencies.

The highest frequency of brainwaves are referred to as beta waves and they are produced when the brain is in “high alert” mode, or actively engaged, focusing, or learning.

Beta waves are dominant during intensive tasks like taking an exam, giving a presentation or learning a new language, but excessive beta waves can lead to anxiety and insomnia.

The next highest frequency brainwaves are alpha waves. When you close your eyes and meditate to relax, you start to produce more alpha waves in the posterior regions of the brain which subsequently decreases the stress response.

After alpha waves come theta waves. They are slower frequency waves that occur when we are sleepy or daydreaming. Theta waves can help us wind down for bed, however, if they become excessive, it can feel like we’re living in a fog.

Finally, delta waves are the slowest frequency brainwaves. They usually only become dominant when we are in a very deep sleep, and they are certainly inappropriate for any sort of cognitive or focused activity.

If you have too many slow-frequency delta or theta waves, or not enough high-frequency alpha and beta waves, then your brain won’t be functioning at an optimal level. You may feel sluggish or fatigued, or like you’re living in a constant fog. You may also have trouble thinking clearly or remembering things. Feeling like this can seriously reduce your quality of life.

At the Drake Institute, neurofeedback allows our professionals to measure a patients' brainwaves and compare them to what is typically expected for same-age individuals. This process allows us to identify regions and types of dysregulation that may be occurring to cause an individual’s symptoms. Once a plan is developed to determine exactly what type of training an individual needs, a program is developed in which the individual’s brainwaves are actually displayed back to them as an animation on a screen that they are tasked with altering or modifying to a healthier pattern. When patients have a visual representation of their brainwaves, they can learn to effectively control and train their brainwaves in order to achieve more optimal patterns of functioning, thus alleviating their symptoms.

With neurofeedback training and techniques, patients can even learn to improve and strengthen their brainwave patterns to utilize the more dominant and faster brainwaves essential for focus, organization, and follow-through.

What Is Neurofeedback Used For?

So just what is neurofeedback good for? As we mentioned above, the brain is responsible for all of our bodily functions in some way or another.

By learning how this complex organ works (and by developing techniques to control it’s activity), patients can experience improvements in their mental and physical health.

Neurofeedback is good for treating a number of disorders, including:  

  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Seizure disorders
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Developmental deficits

Overall, neurofeedback is effective in helping patients achieve long-term symptom relief and an improved quality of life.  

How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Compare To Drug-Based Treatments?

Though drug-based treatments are a common method for treating disorders like ADHD, anxiety, stress, etc., they aren’t always the best approach.

From difficulties in getting the medication and dosage right to the unpredictable side-effects that could be worse than the condition itself, drug-based treatment can have inherent risks. They certainly may not be an ideal long-term solution either, since when patients discontinue the drugs, their negative symptoms may return.

Neurofeedback is not only much safer, but it’s also more effective in leading to long-term improvement. Why? Because the techniques patients learn during neurofeedback training strengthen and develop their ability to self-generate symptom relief, a skill and ability that they can retain long after treatment has finished.

Indeed, neurofeedback therapy is kind of like learning to ride a bicycle – once you get the hang of it, it will be difficult to forget.

Is Neurofeedback Safe?

Neurofeedback is indeed a safe treatment for lots of conditions and disorders, especially since there are no medications or invasive procedures involved in the process.

To ensure that your neurofeedback therapy is safe, you need the help of an experienced clinician. In addition, all treatment at the Drake Institute is overseen by a physician with over 40 years of clinical experience. This expertise is invaluable to facilitate each patient getting the most out of their treatment sessions in terms of improvement.

How The Drake Institute Uses Neurofeedback

For more than forty years, the Drake Institute has developed neurofeedback therapy treatments that help patients gain back control of their physical and mental health – and their quality of life.

As patients complete neurofeedback treatment, they are learning the techniques and exercises they need to strengthen their brains and reach their cognitive potential.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

To find out how neurofeedback can help you with stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia, and more, fill out our free consultation form or call us today at 800-700-4233.

Contact Us Today

To get the help you or a loved one needs, call now to schedule your no-cost screening consultation.

dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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