The medical world is always changing, but something that doesn’t change is the information provided by our own bodies. From muscle tension to brainwave activity, our bodies can tell us so much about our internal reactions to stress.
Biofeedback collects that information, which can then be used to train a patient’s brain. As the patient becomes more aware of his or her condition through biofeedback therapy, he or she can achieve more control over emotional and physical symptoms of certain disorders.
What is Biofeedback?
In a way, biofeedback is exactly what it sounds like: using information provided by your own mind and body to give you an idea of your physiological state. The procedure utilizes computers and painless skin sensors that adhere to your skin to gather information. That can include data on:
- Muscle tension
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Skin conductance
- Hand temperature
- Brainwave activity
From there, a therapist develops a treatment plan for the patient. The plan might normally consist of multiple sessions over several months, during which the patient will learn to control bodily reactions that once seemed completely impossible to control.
Benefits of Biofeedback: Treating Disorders
Biofeedback therapy has been used successfully to manage a number of disorders and conditions. With patience and strict adherence to the scheduled biofeedback sessions, it’s possible for patients to take control of their symptoms and disorders, and learn to manage them. Take a look at the things biofeedback treats:
No one enjoys having a headache, but migraines can be particularly brutal—they can cause intense, throbbing pain, nausea, and vomiting, and can last for hours or even days. Medication is often used to treat these headaches and manage pain symptoms, but biofeedback offers another promising way to combat migraines. As patients receive key information in areas like muscle tension and body temperature, they can learn to manage these seemingly involuntary bodily reactions, and then ease or reduce their migraines.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been observed in patients for over a century. In that time, a variety of treatments rose up, as well as testing that determines the type and severity of the disorder in a person–there are actually eight different types that can be identified.
At the Center for Biofeedback & Peak Performance, we customize a treatment plan that utilizes neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback. Treatment allows us to train a patient’s brain, allowing him or her to become more focused. Other results include less impulsivity, and improved memory, concentration, and organizational skills.
Anxiety and Panic Disorders
Anxiety and other panic disorders can result from a person’s involuntary reaction to chronic stress. Stress comes in several forms: psychological, physical, or environmental. People with anxiety or another panic disorder find themselves trapped in a pattern of reacting to that stress, sometimes without their conscious knowledge. For these individuals, it can feel like they have no control over how their bodies react. But biofeedback therapy provides a way for patients to become aware of their reactions and triggers and eventually learn to control them—turning involuntary reactions into voluntary ones and stopping the chronic stress response.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a specific form of anxiety brought on by an extreme shock to the central nervous system, like intense stress or trauma inflicted by a terrifying event. People who suffer from PTSD often find their lives dramatically impacted by the chronic symptoms caused by the disorder, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
Treatment for PTSD often involves medication, but we believe that biofeedback may actually offer a more effective method of treating the disorder. With neurofeedback, patients are able to take control of the areas of their brain involved in trauma, and reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
Depression and mood swings are characterized by deep feelings of sadness, irritability, sudden angry outbursts, and feelings of worthlessness. These disorders are more than a bad mood that lasts for a day; they can’t be cured with a few kind words or “tough love.” Many people require treatment in order to ever ease the debilitating symptoms.
Because depression and mood disorders are caused by the brain not reacting properly, biofeedback can be used to train a patient’s brain and ease their symptoms. Through biofeedback therapy, we can create a customized treatment program which will help to ease the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.
Chronic pain is more than pain from an injury that just won’t seem to go away; it’s pain that has lasted longer than six months, and essentially become independent of the original injury. Treating the initial hurt won’t be enough to halt all symptoms of chronic pain, and prescriptions may not be enough to properly manage a person’s pain.
Biofeedback therapy allows a patient to become aware of his or her brain’s response to pain. This noninvasive method can help to ease symptoms, and, along with other treatment methods, can help you depend less on addictive pain medications.
Utilizing Biofeedback with Family Psychiatry and Therapy
One of the most exciting things about biofeedback is that it is a legitimate therapy that can be used to treat a huge variety of health issues and disorders. Even involuntary behaviors can be controlled, and you can improve your quality of life by sticking to a treatment plan that we develop together. At Family Psychiatry and Therapy, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your best self. Contact us today to learn more about our biofeedback offerings.