Brainwaves and NeurofeedbackBrain wave patterns change throughout the day and night, depending on what you’re doing.
- Gamma waves are the fastest brain waves and are associated with memory processing, learning and forming ideas and language.
- Beta waves are the next fastest waves, which indicate a wide-awake state that’s typical during normal waking hours.
- Alpha waves are slower and indicate a state in which you’re awake but relaxed; you don’t process much information in the alpha state, which occurs just before you fall asleep and just after you wake up.
- Theta waves occur during light sleep or extreme relaxation, such as when you’re in a hypnotic state.
- Delta waves are the slowest and occur during deep, dreamless sleep.
Neurofeedback for Mental Illness Research
A recent review of the existing literature on neurofeedback prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to acknowledge Meditation and Neurofeedback therapy as an effective treatment for children and adolescents with ADHD. Neurofeedback has also been used to treat a number of mental health problems, including:
Interestingly, the article’s authors note that neurofeedback has been found to benefit many of the conditions that also improve with regular meditation. The core principles of altering focus and cognitive control are basically the same with both meditation and neurofeedback. The only real difference, according to researchers, is that one is self-regulated, and the other is aided by a machine. But they’re quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that neurofeedback can lead to enlightenment.
A literature review published in the journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America points to neurofeedback as a promising method of treating post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as anxiety disorders and depression. The authors note that Neurofeedback With Anxiety and Affective Disorders neurofeedback is associated with minimal side effects and isn’t as invasive as other ways of addressing these and other disorders.
Neurofeedback works to retrain brain wave patterns and psychotherapy works to retrain your patterns of thought and behavior. Together, psychotherapy and neurofeedback offer a promising outcome for a range of mental disorders.