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Anxiety & Panic Disorders

What is anxiety?

Usually anxiety results from one’s response to stress. The stress can be psychological physical, dietary and/or environmental challenges, like loud noises. Once a person gets locked into a pattern of anxiety, it can be hard to break.  Learning how to modulate or turn off chronic stress responses is life changing.

How do you know it’s anxiety?

There are various forms. Sometimes anxiety includes excessive worrying, a nagging sense of fear, restlessness, overly emotional responses, negative thinking, catastrophizing, awfullizing, and defensiveness. Anxiety is involved in addiction, perfectionism, being overly controlling, and behavioral issues.

Anxiety suffers are often overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. Some can’t concentrate due to their intense internal focus. Others obsess about specific things. Anxiety is easily detected if someone appears outwardly nervous. At other times, anxious people can appear calm but their brain seems to never quiet. These people can’t stop thinking; they can’t shut their brain down. The constant internal chatter can get so bad that it interrupts their sleeping and steals their quality of life. They don’t live in the present, they constantly worry about the future or live in the past.   

Learning is the solution.

Helping people learn to calm or quiet themselves is by far the best and most effective solution for anxiety. Learning to decrease anxiety gives suffers hope as they take control of their lives.  Biofeedback and EEG neurofeedback are two of the quickest and fastest ways we teach people to learn to help themselves and it’s easy to learn. These technologies have been used for many years with solid proven results.  It’s true, one can learn how to decrease anxiety and remain calmer with neurofeedback. Learning this life-long skill decreases the need for dependence upon medications.

What medications don’t teach.

Anxiety patients are regularly prescribed medications. But, medications can’t teach you to quiet your mind. Although there may be one or more area(s) in the brain causing anxiety, it’s normally not the entire brain. Brain training identifies and targets the problematic areas of the brain, medications generally affect the entire brain. This is why some medication may people feel tired or sluggish.

Medications only work when you are taking them, so patients become dependent upon them to decrease anxiety. Neurofeedback strengthens the brain to learn self regulation. When you stop medications it is likely the anxiety will remain. If the anti-anxiety medication is addictive, which many are, improper weaning can produce tremendous stress. If the medication(s) stops working or side effects occur, physicians often switch patients’ medication(s). This can cause agitation and confusion while a client gets use to the newest drug. 

We treat patients who are struggling to get off their anti-anxiety medication(s). Neurofeedback has proven to help this process. As the brain learns to decrease anxiety and remain generally more calm, less medication is needed. We do not advocate patients stopping medication(s) without medical advice. Abruptly stopping some medication can induce a seizure, so proper medically supervised weaning is imperative.

Why am I only learning about brain training now?

There is a resurgence in neurofeedback, particularly for anxiety, because it is effective. In the 1980’s, biofeedback was popular for anxiety and stress reduction and was being used by many professionals. The decrease in popularity was not due to poor results. It was caused by a decision by insurances companies to cut the rate of reimbursement for this treatment by approximately 75%! At our center we are tired of insurance companies dictating our client’s health care options. It is interesting to note that biofeedback is not backed by wealthy drug companies. We don’t send lobbyist to congress to pass bills and influence insurance companies to only offer our methods.

Over the years, technology and knowledge of the brain has made incredible advances.  Brain training, or brain biofeedback, researchers and practitioners apply this knowledge and continue to hone neurofeedback technology into an increasing more effective teaching tool. With brain training one learns to moderate their response to stress so that anxiety is minimized and occurs less frequently.

How does Neurofeedback reduce anxiety?

Simply put, as you brain train you watch your brain waves live on our noninvasive EEG monitor. As you learn to reduce anxiety and increase calmness, you can watch your brain waves change. With our coaching, you learn to recreate that state. With the proper amount of training. the brain learns to hold onto healthier patterns. Learning to correct anxiety- producing neurological patterns occurs with awareness, practice, and reinforcement.

Neurofeedback facilitates awareness, provides reinforcement, and allows one to monitor the quality of practice during a training session. Because we are neurologically hardwired to return to balance, as learning takes place patients can learn to decrease and/or eliminate anxiety. As learning improves, patients can begin decreasing their training schedules. Most patients can stop training once they reach their goals and the training is holding. A small number of patients with persistent or extremely resistant or complex issues require occasional “tune ups” or a greatly reduced maintenance training schedule. 


 

NY Neurofeedback and QEEG • Merlyn Hurd Ph.D. • Licensed Psychologist and Certified Neurotherapist
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