Neurofeedback for Depression: Research and Benefits

Is Alpha Wave Neurofeedback Effective with Randomized Clinical Trials in Depression? A Pilot Study

Choi S.W., Chi S.E., Chung S.Y., Kim J.W., Ahn C.Y. and Kim H.T.

This study looks into the effect of alpha-wave neurofeedback training on depression.

Twenty-two patients who met the DSM-IV criteria for depressive disorder were split into two groups: placebo or training.

The training group went through 5 weeks of neurofeedback with sessions twice per week.

The placebo group had placebo psychotherapy instead of neurofeedback, but were told it was part of the formal training.

Depression levels were evaluated before and after therapy using a number of different scales, including Hamilton Depression Inventory (HAM-D), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and Daily Stress Scale.

They found that neurofeedback training caused statistically significant improvements in depression in all of the scales used, while the placebo group had no such improvements.

Another benefit of neurofeedback is that no person in the study showed signs of side effects due to the neurofeedback.

These results are promising and suggest that neurofeedback works as an alternative therapy for depression.

However, more research should be done with a double-blinded study (this one was single-blind) and a greater number of participants.

Effect of Neurofeedback Training on Depression and Fatigue in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Azadeh Choobforoushzade, Hamid Taher Neshat-Doost, Hossien Molavi and Mohammad Reza Abedi

Multiple sclerosis can have many debilitating side-effects, including depression and fatigue.

This study examines the effects of neurofeedback on these two side-effects.

Twenty-four patients who met the criteria for multiple sclerosis and had symptoms of depression and fatigue were split into experimental (receive neurofeedback) and control (don’t receive neurofeedback) groups.

Patients underwent two neurofeedback sessions per week for eight weeks.

The severity of their depression and fatigue was measured before and after training, as well as a 2-month follow up, with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

They found that the experimental groups had statistically significant improvements in depression and fatigue, suggesting there is evidence for the efficacy of neurofeedback as a treatment for depression and fatigue.

Clinical Use of Alpha Asymmetry Neurofeedback Protocol in the Treatment of Mood Disorders: Follow Up Study 1-5 Years Post Therapy

Elsa Baehr, J. Peter and Rufus Baehr

This study followed up with three of the patients from their original study to see the long-term effects of neurofeedback.

The patients had originally met the criteria for unipolar depression, but after their neurofeedback therapy were classified as not-depressed based on their Beck Depression Inventory scores.

The physiological effects of the original neurofeedback manifested in normal scores for their right hemisphere alpha asymmetry after the training.

When following-up with these patients one to five years later, they found that their Beck Depression Inventory scores were still in the normal range, and the alpha asymmetry was also normal.

This suggests that neurofeedback has lasting effects long after the therapy is finished and should be highly considered as a treatment for mood disorders.

The drawbacks to this study are the sample size; a larger initial and follow-up study should be done in order to solidify the findings.

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