PTSD is a form of anxiety where extreme life stress triggers a number of persistent symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PTSD, you’ve probably already tried other therapies or medication. Unfortunately, for many people conventional therapies and medications don’t fix the problem
If you’re seeking an alternative to medications, neurofeedback may be able to help. Neurofeedback often allows people to reduce or eliminate drugs prescribed for PTSD symptoms by helping their brains become more stable.
If neurofeedback was better known in the world of PTSD, it would be one of the first treatments used. There are many cases of severe PTSD in which “clients got their lives back” after training with neurofeedback. These results are not isolated. Practitioners from around the world from psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other mental health practitioners have reported positive responses when neurofeedback is added to a conventional PTSD treatment program.
PTSD is difficult to overcome
Relaxation techniques such as hypnosis and yoga can be useful for stress reduction. With PTSD, however, typical relaxation techniques don’t have enough impact to overcome the problem. Medications are often prescribed to help, but medications don’t change the underlying stress response.
The problem is in the brain. Something has triggered a severe stress response, which ends up producing a number of symptoms. The person can’t turn it off.
Turn off the stress
How do you turn off the stress? Neurofeedback can help.
Research has clearly shown that PTSD is a brain-based disorder. By training the brain, the individual learns to increase calm and regulate how they respond to stress. Training can also help target those areas of the brain implicated in PTSD. Brain training is brain learning. Once you become skilled at calming yourself, you can generally maintain that state without further training. Many professionals report that brain training often reduces reliance on medications.
The first symptom clients usually notice when doing neurofeedback training is an improvement in sleep. With additional sessions, other PTSD symptoms start to improve and eventually can hold for longer periods of time. Once the stability and calm hold for extended periods, training can end or be done with occasional “tune-ups.”.
Why isn’t neurofeedback better known?
In the early 1990’s, just as biofeedback was becoming more popular medically, insurance reimbursement and Medicare were reduced for biofeedback by about 75%. As a result, most healthcare providers dropped it, and its use began to fade. The current resurgence in interest has been generated because of improvements in the technology – and by professionals and clients who demand an effective alternative to medications.
Australia and severe PTSD
Australia receives a lot of refugees from countries in turmoil or war. As a result, the country’s health system set up one hospital in each province dedicated to dealing with health problems for those refugees. Many are severely traumatized.
One therapist in Sydney, Mirjana Askovic, worked in the hospital that treated a number of traumatized war refugees. When she heard about neurofeedback several years ago, she asked the hospital if she could learn how to use it and offer it to patients. These patients were extremely hard to reach with traditional therapy and often did not make much progress. The hospital agreed to let her try it, and the results were dramatic and are now being used with other patients as well.