Can Neurofeedback Help With PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often accompanied by brain dysregulation, especially in areas regarding emotional processing and nervous system arousal.
These dysregulated brain patterns may often be associated with difficulties with:
- Regulating Emotion
- Poor Sleeping
- Flashbacks of Traumatic Experience
- High Levels of Stress
For those with mild to chronic PTSD; neurofeedback offers an efficacious option to help train the brain to function more efficiently to reduce the negative effects of previous trauma.
What Has Worked
When conducting neurofeedback therapy with patients who suffer from PTSD rapid significant reductions in the severity of PTSD symptoms have been documented in as few as one session[1,2] along with improvements in overall cognitive functioning. However, more sessions are often necessary to create stabilization of brain function for long-term effects. Different forms of neurofeedback may facilitate changes in the functional connectivity of the brain’s resting state, resulting in overall reduced arousal; and improved cognitive functioning and emotional stability. In addition, this may help reduce symptoms of hypervigilance or increased “startle” response typically associated with previous trauma and its associated stimuli.
Has Neurofeedback Worked For Veterans?
After twenty sessions of infra-low frequency neurofeedback training, veterans with chronic treatment-refractory PTSD reported significant symptom reductions. Benefits from neurofeedback included considerably fewer PTSD symptoms and improved affect regulation in patients with chronic PTSD after 40 sessions.
In a separate study, 52 individuals with chronic PTSD were randomly assigned to either 6 weeks of neurofeedback or a wait-list condition. Following post-treatment, a significantly smaller proportion of individuals in the treatment condition met the criteria for PTSD compared to the wait list condition.
Many studies have shown comparable results across populations and neurofeedback procedures, including the 19-channel z-score low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) neurofeedback protocol, which has also been used with veterans to improve performance.
How Has Neurofeedback Helped PTSD?
Tension, affect dysregulation, and affect instability decreased; meaning individuals were better able to regulate their emotional states resulting in less overall distress and dysfunction. The effect sizes of neurofeedback within neurofeedback studies are comparable to those reported for the most effective evidence-based treatments for PTSD.
Alpha-stim cranial electric stimulation, bi-lateral alternating stimulation in tactile form, cognitive-behavioral approaches, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR Therapy), and other therapies may also be used to treat trauma (BLAST). By promoting a calm state and managing the stress response, neurofeedback can help lessen PTSD symptoms and assist stabilize internal brain networks. This results in improved cognitive, physical, and emotional outcomes.
Click Here to find out if Neurofeedback Therapy is right for you or your loved ones suffering with PTSD!
- Othmer et al, 2009;
- Kluetsch, et al, 2014;
- Lake, 2015;
- Gapen et al., 2016;
- Congeto el al, 2004;
- van der Kolk et al., 2016;
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