Updated: Oct 18
Today, more than ever, the prevalence of depression and anxiety is rising, affecting and distorting millions of lives. So, too, are the prescription medications used to treat these conditions. Depression and anxiety impact our mental well-being and can significantly influence physical health. At Better Brain & Body, we believe in harnessing the body’s inherent healing capacity through our holistic therapies. This blog will explore how non-invasive therapies like neurofeedback and the Alpha-Stim device can offer relief and improvement to those struggling with depression and anxiety.
Depression & Anxiety: The Mind-Body Connection
Depression and anxiety are complex disorders with both psychological and physiological components. Emerging research increasingly points to the role of the brain in these conditions. The brain's intricate network of neurons, neurotransmitters, and electrical signals can become dysregulated, contributing to symptoms like persistent sadness, excessive worry, and sleep disturbances. Similarly, having chronic anxiety or depression can contribute to developing physical symptoms or issues, as mentioned by Harvard Health Publishing in 2020. For example, overwhelming stress levels can lead to a stroke or cardiovascular disease. (Can Stress Cause a Stroke? 2021)
Neurofeedback: The Brain's Personal Trainer
Neurofeedback, or biofeedback, is a cutting-edge therapy directly targeting and optimizing the brain's activity. It's like having a personal trainer for your brain. Here's how it works:
Assessment: The process begins with a comprehensive assessment, which includes a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG), or brain map as we call it, to measure brainwave patterns. This helps us identify areas of dysregulation in the brain.
Personalized Training: A personalized neurofeedback program is created based on the assessment. Patients listen to music or watch movies or shows during sessions while electrodes monitor their brainwave activity in real-time. Specialized glasses and headphones are worn that produce sound and light signals that positively influence the brain to adapt.
Positive Reinforcement: Whenever the brain produces healthier patterns, it receives positive feedback through positive audio and visual signals. Over time, the brain learns to self-regulate and produce more balanced patterns.
Science also supports neurofeedback as a supplemental tool for patients with TRD (Treatment-Resistant Depression). In the National Library of Medicine, a 2019 study carried out by Lee et al., shows promising "objective" evidence in treating patients with TRD, lessening their "depressive symptoms" and improving their "functional recovery". Further, Choi et. al., (2011), reveal (as cited in Lee et al., 2019) that neurofeedback can "improve executive function in depressed patients". Neurofeedback can be a beneficial therapy for depression or anxiety. At Better Brain & Body, ADHD or neurodevelopmental conditions can also benefit from neurofeedback.
The Alpha-Stim Device: Gentle Electrical Healing
Another non-invasive tool in our arsenal is the Alpha-Stim device. It utilizes a form of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Here's why it's gaining attention:
Microcurrent Stimulation: Alpha-Stim delivers microcurrent electrical stimulation through ear clip electrodes, which is safe, comfortable, and painless. It helps restore the brain's natural electrical rhythms, considerably lessening anxiety, pain, depression, or insomnia without medication.
Neurochemical Balance: The device promotes the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins, which play crucial roles in mood regulation and pain management.
Quick and Convenient: Alpha-Stim sessions are brief and can be done at home or in our clinic. Many users report significant improvements after just a few sessions or after just one session. Alpha-Stim is a portable device with discreet ear clips. You’ll look like you’re listening to music.
The Synergy of Neurofeedback and Alpha-Stim
What sets our approach apart is the synergy between neurofeedback and the Alpha-Stim device. Often, patients will use the Alpha-Stim while undergoing neurofeedback therapy, optimizing positive changes to the brain in real-time. Neurofeedback retrains the brain, while Alpha-Stim provides immediate relief. This combination offers a comprehensive solution to depression and anxiety in the short and long run.
The Benefits of Non-Invasive Depression and Anxiety Treatment
Drug-Free: Both neurofeedback and Alpha-Stim are drug-free approaches, making them suitable for those who wish to avoid medication or experience medication side effects.
Personalized: Treatments are tailored to each individual's unique brain patterns and symptoms and the objective results from their brain map diagnostic test, ensuring a personalized, targeted approach to healing.
Sustainable: By training the brain to self-regulate, neurofeedback and Alpha-Stim offer lasting relief and can reduce the risk of relapse.
Better Brain & Body believes in empowering individuals to take charge of their mental health. Depression and anxiety are complex, but they can be managed and even alleviated through non-invasive, drug-free methods like neurofeedback and the Alpha-Stim device.
Contact us today if you or a loved one are seeking a holistic, brain-focused approach to mental well-being. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with lead functional neurologist, Dr. Alicia Brown. Your journey to a happier, more balanced life begins here.
Check out our therapies page to learn more about Neurofeedback or Alpha-Stim therapy.
Please note: The information in this blog post is not a substitute for professional medical advice from a qualified physician.
(2021, February 11). Can Stress Cause a Stroke? Expert tips on how to de-stress while you're on the job. Cleveland Clinic Healthessentials. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/stressed-work-may-higher-risk-stroke/#:~:text=It's%20known%20that%20stress%20from,the%20answer%20is%20unfortunately%2C%20yes.
Choi, S. W., Chi, S. E., Chung, S. Y., Kim, J. W., Ahn, C. Y., & Kim, H. T. (2011). Is alpha wave neurofeedback effective with randomized clinical trials in depression? A pilot study. Neuropsychobiology, 63(1), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1159/000322290
Harvard Medical School (2020, August 1). Recognizing and easing the physical symptoms of anxiety. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved September 20, 2023, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/recognizing-and-easing-the-physical-symptoms-of-anxiety#:~:text=The%20autonomic%20nervous%20system%20produces,%2C%20shakiness%2C%20or%20stomach%20pain.
Lee, Y. J., Lee, G. W., Seo, W. S., Koo, B. H., Kim, H. G., & Cheon, E. J. (2019). Neurofeedback Treatment on Depressive Symptoms and Functional Recovery in Treatment-Resistant Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: an Open-Label Pilot Study. Journal of Korean medical science, 34(42), e287. https://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e287