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EEG Neurofeedback for Treating Psychiatric Disorders
By Alondra Oubré, Ph.D.

Neurofeedback, also called electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback or neurotherapy, is an adjunctive treatment used for psychiatric conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, phobic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and affective disorders, autism, and addictive disorders

In an interview with Psychiatric Times, Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D., chief scientist at EEG Spectrum International Inc., described neurofeedback as neuroregulation in the time and frequency domains through the use of bioelectrical operant conditioning. Like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), neurofeedback is an innovative form of electrotherapeutics that complements neurochemical interventions for mood disorders. "With the use of anticonvulsants as mood stabilizers," Othmer said, "we have seen a convergence of psychiatry and neurology in the field of pharmacology. Similarly, neurofeedback signals a convergence of psychiatry and neurology in bioelectrical approaches to treating affective disorders. By stabilizing the brain and rewarding it for holding particular states, neurofeedback acts as a natural anticonvulsant." The rationale for using neurofeedback therapeutically is that it corrects deficits in brain cerebral regulatory function related to arousal, attention, vigilance and affect (Othmer et al., 1999).

During neurofeedback sessions, patients learn to produce desirable brain wave patterns displayed on a computer screen by controlling the activity of a computerized game or task seen on a second screen. Increases in the amplitude of slow spindle activity are instantaneously rewarded. The reward corresponds to the earned score, similar to scores accumulated in a computer game (Othmer, 1999).

Neurofeedback represents a window of opportunity for assessing and shifting any given brain state (Manchester et al., 1998). The designated frequency band determines which brain state is rewarded (Othmer, 1999). Beta (15 Hz to 18 Hz) training usually produces a slightly upward shift in arousal levels, leading to increased wakefulness and attentiveness or to decreased depression.
For more information, please click this link:
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/54916

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