The Power of Neurofeedback for PTSD

The Power of Neurofeedback for PTSD

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by Neurohealth Associates

A few years ago a study was completed that brought meaningful results to the efficacy for treatment of PTSD through neurofeedback.

For those interested below are several excepts from the abstract of the study.

Electroencephalographic (EEG) neurofeedback training has been shown to produce plastic modulations in salience network and default mode network functional connectivity in healthy individuals. In this study, we investigated whether a single session of neurofeedback training aimed at the voluntary reduction of alpha rhythm (8–12 Hz) amplitude would be related to differences in EEG network oscillations, functional MRI (fMRI) connectivity, and subjective measures of state anxiety and arousal in a group of individuals with PTSD.

21 individuals with PTSD related to childhood abuse underwent 30 minutes of EEG neurofeedback training then underwent a resting-state fMRI scan.

Alpha desynchronizing neurofeedback was associated with decreased alpha amplitude during training, followed by a significant increase (‘rebound’) in resting-state alpha synchronization. This rebound was linked to increased calmness, greater salience network connectivity with the right insula, and enhanced default mode network connectivity with bilateral posterior cingulate, right middle frontal gyrus, and left medial prefrontal cortex.

The study represents a first step in elucidating the potential neurobehavioral mechanisms mediating the effects of neurofeedback treatment on regulatory systems in PTSD. Moreover, it documents for the first time a spontaneous EEG ‘rebound’ after neurofeedback, pointing to homeostatic/compensatory mechanisms operating in the brain.

The Results
Analysis of participants’ self-reports suggested that the majority (17 out of 21) had felt a sense of control over the spaceship and that the session had left them feeling more relaxed, calm and clear-minded. Eight participants also reported greater fatigue; although one person specified that this tiredness was “like that…after yoga”. One person experienced mild drowsiness, and three participants reported feeling frustrated when they were unable to make the spaceship move. When asked about strategies employed to make the spaceship move (i.e., achieve a decrease in alpha amplitude), focused (visual) attention was among the most frequently endorsed answers. Finally, a number of participants reported that feeling positive emotions made the spaceship move faster, whereas trauma-related thoughts/memories would bring it to a halt. Notably, participants reported not being overwhelmed by these emotions/images in a way that they usually would be.

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Prescription sleeping pills don’t put you to sleep. They put your brain into a state similar to being in a coma, essentially bypassing any restorative value of sleep

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