Driving anxiety ends with neurofeedback

submitted by Maria Di Donato DEd, BCN, PA Licensed Psychologist, PA/NJ Certified School Psychologist

Joanna, not her real name, an adult woman from Newtown struggled with anxiety for driving. Her difficulties were severe enough to make it difficult for her to drive to work.

She would panic while driving and experienced overall anxiety. Even though she was taking medication and tried various therapies over the years, she was not successful.

She recalled the anxiety started after the birth of her second child.  Besides panic attacks she reported being fearful of losing control, being frequently nervous, often feeling upset, feeling jumpy, having persistent thoughts and worrying excessively, being tearful and having tense muscles. 

Joanna’s treatment consisted of neurofeedback and counseling for both anxiety and depression that were evident. After the first session, she reported having more energy, feeling calmer and happier.

She reported felt physically better. In addition, heart rate variability or autogenic training was begun to help her develop better coping strategies and improve her response to stress.

She began practicing autogenic training on her own to address moments of anxiety and stress as needed. Over time the practice was useful in coping with reducing stressful moments.

Neurofeedback was able to reduce the dysregulated waves that were generating the feelings of anxiety and depression.  Gradually she was able to overcome tearfulness and depression and was also able to reduce medication. She began to report feeling more confident while driving and gradually her panic attacks subsided.

She is beginning to improve in her positive self-talk and recognize the improvements in how she handles stressful situations. Overall, Joanna has improved and become more empowered in managing her lifestyle.

Brainwave activity is associated with specific emotional, cognitive and behavioral states. When these waves are dysregulated, the states are also dysregulated.

Neurofeedback helps train the positive working waves and generate more normal activity which is consistent with healthier lifestyles. 

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