Anxiety and panic


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Anxiety is usually a person’s response to stress, which can come from psychological, physical, dietary, or environmental sources. Once a person’s brain gets locked into a pattern of anxiety, it can be difficult to break. Anxiety manifests in many ways. Some anxiety is generalised, occurring without a specific trigger. Symptoms can include excessive worry, a nagging sense of fear, restlessness, overly emotional responses, negative thinking, catastrophising, and defensiveness. Other anxiety is more specific to certain situations, places or things.

Anxiety sufferers often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out. Some can’t concentrate due to their intense internal focus. Some people are very aware of their anxieties and ready to face them head on. Others are less conscious of their experience and need more time. For anxiety sufferers, learning how to modulate or turn off chronic stress responses is life changing.

Can neurofeedback help anxiety?

Neurofeedback provides physiological assistance and helps people learn to change their responses to stress. With brain training, they can develop the skills they need to reduce or eliminate anxiety in their lives.

Helping people learn to calm themselves is by far the most effective solution for anxiety, and gives sufferers hope as they take control of their lives.

Neurofeedback is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to teach people how to help themselves, and it’s easy to learn. Brain training has been used for many years with solid, proven results. Learning this life skill decreases the need for dependence upon medications, and improves quality of life by teaching the brain to make healthier patterns on a more consistent basis. With neurofeedback, anxiety responses can be controlled.

Is neurofeedback an alternative to medication?

Anxiety patients are regularly prescribed medications, but prescription drugs can’t teach you how to quiet your mind. Generally, only one or more areas in the brain are causing anxiety, and brain training identifies and targets those problematic areas of the brain. Medications tend to affect the entire brain, which is why some medications may cause people to feel tired or sluggish. 6

Medications only work when you are taking them, so patients become dependent on them to decrease anxiety.

When you take a medication without having other tools, it’s likely the anxiety will return.

If the anti-anxiety medication is addictive, which many are, improper weaning can produce more stress and withdrawal. If medications stops working or side effects occur, physicians often switch to a different one. This can cause agitation and confusion while a client gets used to the latest drug.

Neurofeedback has proven to help reduce anxiety long term and allow people to wean off medication with their doctor’s supervision. As the brain learns to decrease anxiety and remain more calm, often less medication is needed.

Symptoms of anxiety that can be trained with neurofeedback

Shortness of breath, choking sensations, chest pressure, and pounding heart
Shaking or trembling
Fear of death and illness
Over-responding to situations9
Overly emotional
Easily startled or jumpy
Muscle tension, feeling edgy, stressed out, and restless
Afraid of losing control
Fear of others attention and subsequent judgment of them
Living in the future
Trouble concentrating and remembering
Sweating
Sudden feeling of panic and anxiety
Hand-wringing, tense shoulders, feet moving
Racing thoughts
Scary thoughts
Frequent bathroom trips, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach problems, and nausea
Afraid of being alone
Dizziness, feeling of being off balance
Undue intense concern in relaxed situations
Irritability
Pessimistic and/or generally fearful
Claustrophobic
Trouble relaxing
Sleep difficulties

The symptoms of anxiety are many. It is not necessary to experience all these symptoms in order to be suffering from anxiety. Some people appear nervous, tense, and stressed, while others appear calm. Some people can’t slow down their thinking enough to go to or stay asleep, they over think everything and are analysing, fearful, or worrying. Others try to control everything because they are afraid if they don’t, things will get out of control.

How does neurofeedback ease anxiety?

In a neurofeedback session, your brainwaves can be viewed on the EEG computer monitor. As you learn to reduce anxiety and increase calm, your brainwaves change. With sufficient training, your brain learns to maintain functional patterns on its own more consistently. It’s like exercise for the brain.

With neurofeedback, you recreate a healthier state and moderate your response to stress so that feelings of anxiety are less intense, don’t last as long and occur less often.

As the brain learns, clients can begin decreasing the frequency of their brain training sessions. Most people can stop training once they reach their goal, and the training is cementing. A small number of sufferers with persistent, extremely resistant or complex issues require occasional “tune ups” or a greatly-reduced, maintenance, brain training schedule.