Neurofeedback therapy for epileptic seizures is an effective, non-invasive, and non-drug treatment protocol designed to help patients reduce symptoms.
In fact, epilepsy was one of the first disorders to be successfully treated with neurofeedback. What’s more, neurofeedback can also provide patients with improved concentration and processing speed.
Over the last 40 years, the Drake Institute has used neurofeedback therapy to help thousands of patients suffering from a variety of disorders, including ADHD, autism, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, and more.
If you or someone you know is suffering from epilepsy or seizure disorder, feel free to fill out our contact form or call us at 1-800-700-4233 to see how we can help.
Neurofeedback (also called EEG Biofeedback) falls under the umbrella of biofeedback. While biofeedback measures physiological functions like sweat gland activity in the fingers, heart rate variability, muscle tension, and hand temperature, neurofeedback measures what is going on in the brain.
The data gathered during neurofeedback therapy helps patients leverage the brain’s own resources to improve cognitive functioning and emotional well-being.
Indeed, it can be challenging to understand how our brains work; however, with the help of brain map-guided neurofeedback therapy, patients learn how to “shift” their brains into a healthier functioning pattern.
So, just how does neurofeedback work? Continue reading to find out.
The human brain is composed of multiple interconnected networks, and for it to work optimally, these networks need to communicate with each other without disruptions.
However, if these networks experience a communication breakdown, patients can suffer several cognitive deficiencies, including an inability to stay focused, pay attention, process language, and more.
With the help of neurofeedback therapy, patients can learn to improve these communication inefficiencies and “shift” their brains into a healthier functioning pattern that reduces symptoms.
To understand more about how the brain works, let’s take a look at the different types of brain waves.
Dysregulated brainwave patterns can cause several problems—from memory to follow-through, to executive functioning issues, and emotional regulation. For example, a person that experiences increased theta waves while awake may experience difficulty focusing and completing a task.
The goal of neurofeedback is to improve these brainwave patterns towards a more functionally appropriate and efficient pattern to improve focus, organization, and essential learning functions.
Neurofeedback for seizures can “train the brain to de-emphasize rhythms that lead to generation and propagation of seizure and emphasize rhythms that make seizures less likely to occur”. [i]
Published clinical research has shown that neurofeedback can help “reduce the incidence and severity of seizures”, and “recent improvements using QEEG to guide neurofeedback training has made it possible to eliminate seizures in most patients, even those with intractable seizures”.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that includes two or more seizures, which are spontaneous and acute surges of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures are just one common symptom of epilepsy; we’ll discuss more symptoms in a moment.
If a person experiences at least two seizures within 24 hours without a previously known cause, an epilepsy diagnosis might be given. There are different types of seizures under the category of epilepsy.
Even though epilepsy is a neurological disorder, it can still affect other parts of the body. When something is amiss in the brain, physical symptoms can manifest.
There is no known single cause of epilepsy. It may arise from genetics, brain trauma, infections, and developmental disorders such as autism. It is also a condition that can affect men and women of any age, race, or background.
As mentioned above, epilepsy is a neurological condition. However, neurological disorders can present with physical symptoms, and epilepsy is no different.
Some of the primary symptoms of epilepsy include:
The sudden onset of epilepsy symptoms makes the disorder a challenge to both diagnose and treat. While some patients (especially children) outgrow it, others are burdened with lifelong effects.
For the last 40 years, the Drake Institute has used neurofeedback therapy protocols to effectively treat a variety of debilitating disorders. Our highly successful practice has allowed thousands of patients to reduce or eliminate their symptoms, improve their lives, and reduce the need for medications.
We do this through two steps: brain mapping and neurofeedback.
The first step in our neurofeedback protocol for epilepsy is qEEG brain mapping.
To map the patient’s brain, our staff places 19 sensors around the patient’s scalp to measure brainwave activity.
The results are then compared to an FDA-registered reference normative database of asymptomatic, same-age individuals—a process that allows us to identify the regions or networks of the brain that may be over or under-activated or experiencing abnormal activity or dysfunctional connectivity.
The data gathered from brain mapping allows us to create custom treatment protocols that address each patient’s individual needs and circumstances. In short, brain mapping allows us to identify exactly where the problem lies and how to best treat it.
Once the patient’s brain has been mapped, neurofeedback therapy can begin.
With the help of neurofeedback therapy, patients can see, in real-time, how their brains are functioning.
In one example, the patient’s brain waves are translated into a computer game where a car is driving down a highway.
When the patient shifts their brainwaves into a healthier functioning pattern, the car stays in the proper lane and an auditory tone is triggered. This tone is then triggered every half second to reinforce this functioning pattern, and with practice, patients can learn to achieve this effect without the guidance of neurofeedback.
We use a similar treatment protocol for treating seizures and epilepsy, and once treatment has concluded, patients can experience symptom relief.
Neurofeedback therapy is safe for the treatment of epilepsy and its symptoms, but medications should only be reduced under the supervision of a neurologist.
Neurofeedback does not rely on invasive procedures or external stimulation to provide improvement.
If you or a family member need help, please fill out our confidential online form
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Spanish News Feature
“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.”