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Neurofeedback can mellow anxiety

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

Ricky (not his real name) is nine-years-old with a history of much anxiety. He struggled with regulating his emotions with new or challenging situations.

When he was angry or nervous he would act impulsively towards others.

These behaviors would often result in disciplinary actions. Social situations were not happy for Ricky.

His reactions were too quick to use better judgment and he appeared unable to learn from the redirection he was often presented. He often stated, “I’m nervous.” Behaviors included worry, uneasiness, loss of emotional control, hyperactivity, spontaneous urges, aggressiveness, agitation and difficulty falling asleep.

His mother’s interest reflected a hopeful expectation since behavioral therapy and other methods were not proving very effective.

Immediately after the first neurofeedback session, Ricky’s mother reported that he was very calm and he went to bed easily that evening, something that “has not happened in two years.”

Gradually, Ricky began to appear less stressed when he came to the sessions. He improved in his attention to the neurofeedback games, seemed more relaxed, smiled more and began chatting with the therapist.

He began to engage more positively with his sister and appeared more accepting of changes in routine. He began to redirect more easily with fewer meltdowns.

His mother was beginning to report a decline in anxiety, hyperactivity, agitation, impulsivity and aggressive behaviors. Ricky is happier and beginning to enjoy his life. He reports that he feels calmer and is having a better time of things.

Brainwave imbalances with too many undesirable waves were at the root of Ricky’s problems. Neurofeedback is a very effective drug-free modality for reducing anxiety by using a system of rewards to shift brain wave activity to more desirable waves.

Ricky is able to begin producing more appropriate behaviors by generating more of the positive waves.