But before we dive into alternative treatment options, let’s review what anxiety is and how it impacts the brain.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety refers to the body and mind’s reaction to unfamiliar, stressful, or even dangerous situations. It often leads to feelings of uneasiness, stress, or dread. And although some level of anxiety can actually help us stay aware and alert, too much anxiety feels far from normal. Those suffering from anxiety disorders know exactly how completely debilitating it can be.
Anxiety disorders are typically characterized by excessive worry or fear about a perceived or real threat. This can lead to negative behavioral and emotional consequences. The most prevalent types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- PTSD or other stressor/trauma-related disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
The symptoms of anxiety will depend on which type of anxiety disorder you have and how severe it is. That said, the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, tense, or restless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having a sense of impending doom or danger
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Tension headaches
- Difficulty controlling worry
Anxiety and the brain
You may have heard that anxiety is caused by an imbalance in the brain. But what does this actually mean? Simply put, there is an imbalance between the emotional and thinking inhibitory parts of the brain.
The prefrontal cortex of your brain inhibits the emotional amygdala, which is an almond-shaped set of neurons that are responsible for controlling your emotions. This structure is always on the lookout for possible threats so it can react quickly. However, when there isn’t a threat present, a healthy brain inhibits lower parts and slows the speed of the amygdala.
But in an anxious brain, the amygdala is hypersensitive and gets too many false alarms. And on top of that, the prefrontal cortex in an anxious person’s brain is ineffective at inhibiting the amygdala’s monsoon of reactionary thoughts.
Treatment for anxiety
Typically, the first-line treatment for anxiety is prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are also known as antidepressants. These medications work to stimulate the production of serotonin. And in many cases, those prescribed meds help significantly in the short-term. However, they don’t correct the problem or address it at its source. That’s where neurofeedback comes in.
Neurofeedback for anxiety
Neurofeedback is a type of non-invasive therapy that works to retrain your brain and address the imbalances. In doing so, people with anxiety can learn how to regulate their brain and change how it responds to stimuli that normally cause them anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, people with anxiety often have an overactive amygdala. Neurofeedback allows them to consciously control that activation so they can reduce their anxiety levels long-term.
By retraining the brain to produce more slow-wave frequencies, anxiety symptoms decrease. Some patients even find they no longer need medication to manage their anxiety disorder following their treatments.
Learn more about this cutting-edge anxiety treatment in Denver
If you’re ready to start treating your anxiety at the source, reach out to us at Braincode Centers. We’ll work with you to complete a qEEG brain map to identify which areas of your brain are out of balance and contributing to your symptoms.
Once the areas of imbalance are identified, we’ll create a customized neurofeedback treatment plan for you so you can start leading your happiest, healthiest life.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about this cutting-edge anxiety treatment in Denver.