24 Potential Uses of Neurofeedback Therapy (incl. ADHD) Part 2

24 Potential Uses of Neurofeedback Therapy (incl. ADHD) Part 2

Posted on: September 18th, 2020 by NeuroHealth Associates

… a continuation from Part 1.

9) Learning Disabilities

According to one study in 16 learning-disabled children, 2 months of EEG neurofeedback (targeting alpha and theta waves) led to improved behavior and cognitive abilities (such as memory, attention, and attitude), as reported by their parents.

Another study in 19 children with dyslexia who received 20 sessions of EEG neurofeedback training reported improvements in spelling but not reading ability (19 children).

Finally, another study involving 30-35 sessions of EEG neurofeedback training reported helping 12 dyslexic children improve their reading speed and comprehension abilities by at least two whole grade levels.

Some studies have also looked at the potential of neurofeedback for children with developmental disabilities.

For example, a study of 23 children with mental retardation reported that 22 of these children showed clinical improvements in behavior after undergoing neurofeedback training.

Similarly, a pilot study of 7 children with Down’s Syndrome reported that EEG neurofeedback training improved their symptoms. However, this study did not use a control group for comparison, so further research is necessary to confirm this finding.

10) Autism Spectrum Disorder

One large-scale review of data from 150 patients with Asperger’s Syndrome concluded that EEG neurofeedback may have some potential in improving symptoms of Asperger’s. According to the study’s authors, neurofeedback also enhanced the patients’ attention and improved their levels of academic achievement.

Similarly, according to several studies, neurofeedback training has been reported to improve social behavior, communication skills, and executive control.

11) Recovery from Head Injuries

Head injury and brain trauma often lead to unique cognitive impairments that can be difficult to treat with usual medical techniques. Intriguingly, some researchers have proposed that neurofeedback may potentially help patients recover cognitive function after a head injury.

For example, in one study of 27 patients with a variety of head-injury symptoms, customized neurofeedback training was reported to improve head injury symptoms – and these benefits even reportedly grew stronger with additional neurofeedback training sessions. Similarly, another study reported that beta EEG neurofeedback helped 12 head injury patients improve their attention.

According to one open trial of neurofeedback training in 26 head injury patients, neurofeedback reportedly helped achieve symptom improvements of at least 50% in the majority of treated patients (88%), and may have even played a role in enabling these patients to return to work.

Similarly, 25 sessions of EEG neurofeedback training were reported to improve symptoms of depression, fatigue, and cognitive functioning in 6 head injury patients. The patients in this study also reported improved overall social and occupational functioning.

12) Addiction

Chronic alcoholism can drastically alter alpha, theta, and beta brain waves. Thus, some researchers have proposed that re-training (“normalizing”) these brain waves may potentially help treat addiction.

According to a few early studies in a total of 121 alcoholics, neurofeedback training was reported to help many alcoholics maintain sobriety for up to 12-21 months after addiction treatment.

In another study, alcoholics who received 30 sessions of neurofeedback training reported improvements in their depression symptoms.

In a study of 10 cocaine addicts, EEG neurofeedback combined with motivational interviewing reduced depression, stress, as well as total cocaine and marijuana use.

Similarly, a few preliminary studies have reported that EEG neurofeedback training improved mental health symptoms (such as aggression and psychosis), as well as reduced the desire to use drugs in opioid addicts. In a follow-up study, neurofeedback was reported to improve physical symptoms, depression, and even reduced the patients’ desire to seek out and consume drugs. 

A few preliminary studies have found that neurofeedback training helped alcoholics and people in addiction treatment to maintain sobriety. 

13) PTSD

One early review paper examined 5 individual pilot studies on the effects of neurofeedback training on the symptoms of PTSD. The authors of this review concluded that neurofeedback is a likely potential treatment for PTSD (3 of 5 studies reported positive results in these patients).

According to one randomized control trial (RCT) study in 52 PTSD patients and a smaller pilot study with 3 military veterans, EEG neurofeedback and fMRI neurofeedback training were each reported to improve PTSD symptoms.

14) Headaches and Migraines

Some early evidence suggests that neurofeedback training may be helpful for alleviating migraines and headaches.

For example, the authors of one review paper concluded that neurofeedback treatment may reduce the frequency of headaches by up to 50%. However, children with tension headaches needed “reminder” training every 6-12 months to maintain these benefits.

A study of 4 different biofeedback treatments (including alpha neurofeedback) in a total of 75 patients reported that each of the different neurofeedback treatments had some effect on reducing the number of migraine headaches (but unfortunately not their intensity or duration).

According to one exploratory study in 30 children, 10 of the 30 children reported reduced frequencies of migraines after 10 sessions of slow cortical potentials neurofeedback training.

Finally, in one other study, combining EEG and hemoencephalography neurofeedback with hand-warming biofeedback (40 sessions on average) was reported to reduce the frequency of headaches in 26 out of 37 migraine patients, and these changes were maintained for up to 14 months after initial treatment.

Neurofeedback’s potential to improve headaches and migraines is still being considered, with positive results in a few small clinical trials.

15) Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is often difficult to treat, and current treatments have several major drawbacks, such as the potential for patients to become addicted to painkiller medications.

However, some researchers have suggested that neurofeedback training may be a powerful and more effective alternative treatment for pain disorders. However, not many controlled studies have been performed so far.

According to one early study, 10 patients with chronic pain reported experiencing immediate relief from pain intensity following EEG neurofeedback. In some of these patients, this reduction in pain lasted for up to 3 months after initial treatment.

Similarly, another preliminary study has reported fMRI neurofeedback helped chronic pain patients reduce their pain symptoms (36 healthy controls and 12 patients with chronic pain).

16) Fibromyalgia

Preliminary evidence from one study in 30 patients with fibromyalgia has reported that neurofeedback may lead to significant improvements in mood, mental clarity, and sleep.

One other early study in 36 fibromyalgia patients reported that 20 sessions of EEG neurofeedback training were equally effective at controlling pain as 10 mg / day of the medication escitalopram (Lexapro).

Evidence for treatment of certain conditions may be nuanced so we suggest you call us to understand what the best course of action is.

Here at Neurohealth Associates we specialize in Neurofeedback treatments. Neurofeedback may be helpful if you have unwanted mood swings, problems sleeping, anger management issues, motivation, or poor self-esteem. The easy, noninvasive treatment can painlessly improve your mental health condition and outlook on life.

Schedule a consultation with NeuroHealth today and find out how we can help you.

Click here for Part 3

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Neuro Fact

If the human cortex (the outer layer of the cerebrum) were unfolded, it would cover an area roughly the size of a pillowcase

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