How can neurofeedback help with depression?

Compelling research evidence exists that there is often a neurophysiological basis for depression (Davidson, 1998a,b).  Neuroscientists have disocovered brainwave patterns that allow us to identify individuals with a biological predisposition for developing depression.

The traditional medical approach prescribes anti-depressant medication for depression.  Unfortunately research has found that anti-depressants do not correct the type of brainwave pattern that is often associated with depressed individuals.  Also, antidepressant medications only have an 18% effect over and above placebo effects (Antonuccio, Danton, DeNelsky, Greenberg, & Gordon, 1999; Kirsch, Scoboria, & Moore, 2002; Kirsch & Sapirstein, 1998)

Neurofeedback treatments for depression appear very promising not only in bringing relief from depression, but in modifying the underlying biological predisposition for becoming depressed.  Neurofeedback focuses on retraining the brain, with the goal of producing enduring change.

How long will it take to notice a change?

This is a tricky question to ask because every brain is different.  We can give you a "ballpark," and a bit of hope....many clients using NeurOptimal neurofeedback begin to notice slight shifts in 10 sessions, and more profound symptom improvement by the 20 session mark.

References

Antonuccio, D. O., Danton, W. G., DeNelsky, G. Y., Greenberg, R. P., & Gordon, J. S. (1999). Raising questions about antidepressants. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 68, 3-14.

Davidson, R. J. (1998a). Affective style and affective disorders: Perspectives from affective neuroscience. Cognition & Emotion, 12, 307-330.

Davidson, R. J. (1998b). Anterior electrophysiological asymmetries, emotion, and depression: Conceptual and methodological conundrums. Psychophysiology, 35, 607-614.

Kirsch, I., & Sapirstein, G. (1998). Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication. Prevention & Treatment, 1, Article 2. Available online at: http://www.journals.apa.org/prevention/volume1

Kirsch, I., Moore, T. J., Scoboria, A., & Nicholls, S. S. (2002). The emperors new drugs: An analysis of antidepressant medication data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Prevention & Treatment, 5, Article 23. Available online at: The emperors new drugs: An analysis of antidepressant medication data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Prevention & Treatment, 5, Article 23.

Effects of NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety