What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a non-pharmacological, non-invasive therapy in which electrodes placed on the scalp record neural activity. The activity is fed back to the patient in real-time via EEG technology. A “positive reinforcement” is then given when the brain produces healthy and balanced electrical signals and taken away when the brain produces irregular electrical signals.
Anxiety and neurobiology
The brains of people with anxiety differ from those who do not share their struggles. More specifically, people with anxiety disorders have been found to have an elevated right frontal cortex lateralization. Often, this is due to the overproduction of stress hormones, which can cause neuronal remodeling and anatomic changes in the amygdala, which is responsible for emotional processing and stress responses.
This, in turn, causes network connectivity issues and impairments in the way your body and brain respond to stress. Neurofeedback helps correct these connectivity issues.
First-line anxiety treatments
Typically, a combination of anxiety medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy is used together as first-line treatments. Most often, benzodiazepines and SSRIs are used to treat anxiety. Although some people find relief from these medications, they also come with a long list of side effects and safety concerns.
Neurofeedback for anxiety
Unlike medication that simply lessens the symptoms of anxiety, neurofeedback actually helps to enhance the connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. In “healthy” brains, these parts of the brain communicate together to analyze and react to environmental and social cues.
When there is a potential threat present, the amygdala sends signals that activate the prefrontal cortex so that your brain can respond appropriately to the situation.
Anxiety weakens this connection. During neurofeedback training sessions, real-time feedback helps individuals restore the connection between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. The stronger the connection becomes, the stronger the anxiety reduction.
Studies have found that, even after neurofeedback therapy has ended, once connectivity was improved, control over the amygdala and stress response was maintained and anxiety reduction was sustained.
The best part? There are no negative side effects associated with neurofeedback. Some individuals experience so much relief they can cut back or altogether eliminate their anxiety medication.
Additional tips for managing anxiety
Lifestyle changes can be simple, but powerful ways to better manage your anxiety. The following changes can help lessen symptoms associated with anxiety:
- Practice mindfulness
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a nutrient-dense and well-balanced diet
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine
- Get enough sleep
Learn more about anxiety therapy in Denver
If you’re interested in learning more about your options for all-natural anxiety therapy in Denver, such as neurofeedback, reach out to us today at Braincode Centers. Our neurofeedback specialists are here to help you experience a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Schedule a free consultation today to get started.