Anxiety -The Science and Evidence of Neurofeedback for Anxiety

Biofeedback Treatments of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Preliminary Results

Rice K. M., Blanchard E. B., and Purcell M.

Individuals with generalized anxiety were treated with either EMG biofeedback, biofeedback to increase EEG alpha, biofeedback to decrease EEG alpha, or a pseudomeditation control condition.

All treatments resulted in reductions of STAI-Trait Anxiety and psychophysiologic symptoms on the Psychosomatic Symptom Checklist. Self-reported decrease in anxiety was maintained 6 weeks after treatment.

In addition, subjects receiving alpha-increase biofeedback showed significant reduction in heart rate reactivity to stressors in a psychophysiological testing session.

Treatment of Anxiety Disorder with Neurofeedback: A Case Study

Afsaneh Moradi, Farzaneh Pouladi, Nooshin Pishva, Bagher Razaei, Maliheh Torshabi, Zahra Alam Mehrjerdi

This study examined the effect of neurofeedback in two anxiety disorder patients.

They calculated the patients’ scores in each of the nine symptom dimensions: somatization, obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, psychotics, and paranoid ideation.

The patients were tested before and after a 10 week treatment of neurofeedback, as well as one year after the treatment.

They found that all nine of the anxiety symptoms areas showed significant improvement, and these improvements were maintained at the one year follow up.

The drawbacks to this study is that there were no controls or placebos. However, the results are encouraging, and further research should be done.

Effects of Neurofeedback on Patients with Psychiatric Disorders in a Naturalistic Setting

Eun-Jin Cheon, Bon-Hoon Koo, Wan-Seok Seo, Jun-Yeob Lee, Joong-Hyeon Choi, Shin-Ho Song

This study examines the effects of neurofeedback on adult psychiatric patients. 77 people participated, with diagnoses including depression, anxiety disorders, sleep disorder, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and many others.

They were given varying amounts of neurofeedback treatments, ranging from less than 5 sessions to greater than 20.

Their neurofeedback treatments were specialized to the specific needs of their diseases.

The effectiveness of this treatment was based on the change in CGI score and Hill-Castro Checklist Score.

The average difference of pre vs. post CGI scores was 1.11, corresponding to a statistically significant decrease in symptom severity.

According to the Hill-Castro Checklist score, the patients exhibited improvements in depression, anxiety, self-esteem, hostility, attention, and hyperactivity.

The importance of this study is that it showed neurofeedback can work across a variety of psychiatric disorders.

However, there are limitations in that there wasn’t a control group, so further research needs to be done in this subject.

Biofeedback Approach in the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Hitanshu Agnihotri, Maman Paul, and Jaspal Singh Sandhu

This study examined the efficacy of relaxation biofeedback training for treating generalized anxiety.

The experiment divided 45 participants into 3 groups: a control group, a group treated with electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback training, and a third group treated with alpha-EEG biofeedback training.

Patients in all three groups practiced relaxation for 25 minutes per day for 12 days.

Patients in the biofeedback treatment groups underwent 35 minutes of biofeedback training in addition to the relaxation sessions for the 12 treatment days.

Measurements for all participants were taken prior to treatment and two weeks after completion of treatment.

The results indicated that both EMG and alpha-EEG biofeedback training were more effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder.

Both biofeedback training groups had a significantly increased galvanic skin resistance after treatment when compared to the control group.

The biofeedback treatment groups also had a significant decrease in state anxiety and trait anxiety tests.

The efficacy of EEG biofeedback training in treating anxiety may be attributed to its operant conditioning effects and ability to relieve cognitive tension.

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