Depression

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People with depression are robbed of the joys of life. Depression leaves them a shell of what they once were.

Signs and Symptoms

A person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or has lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and has also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.

It’s important to note that everyone experiences some of these symptoms from time to time and it may not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Equally, not every person who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.

Behaviour

not going out anymore
not getting things done at work/school
withdrawing from close family and friends
relying on alcohol and sedatives
not doing usual enjoyable activities
unable to concentrate

Feelings

overwhelmed
guilty
irritable
frustrated
lacking in confidence
unhappy
indecisive
disappointed
miserable
sad

Thoughts

‘I’m a failure.’
‘It’s my fault.’
‘Nothing good ever happens to me.’
‘I’m worthless.’
‘Life’s not worth living.’
‘People would be better off without me.’

Physical

tired all the time
sick and run down
headaches and muscle pains
churning gut
sleep problems
loss or change of appetite
significant weight loss or gain

(Courtesy of BeyondBlue)

Treatment for Depression

Traditionally, depression has been treated with therapy and medication, both of which have limitations. Even with medication, countless depression sufferers continue to struggle. Medication doesn’t teach the brain how to get out of the unhealthy brain pattern of depression. While drugs can serve some positive benefit, there are numerous problems with these medications, including unwanted side effects and reliance on the medication making it difficult to stop taking it and manage mood on one’s own. If medications are stopped, symptoms often return. In addition, people can become tolerant of medications, necessitating a dosage increase or medication change which may produce new side effects.

Neurofeedback can help restore healthier brain patterns and eliminate depression by teaching the brain to get “unstuck” and better modulate itself. It teaches the brain to regulate mood.

After brain training with neurofeedback, people with depression report they are better able to stabilize their moods and that their motivation improves.

Neurofeedback training works on the root of the problem, altering the brain patterns affiliated with depression. It can bring lasting brain changes, is non-invasive, and produces no undesirable side effects.

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How does neurofeedback help treat depression?

Feeling down or depressed from time to time happens to most people, but usually passes, and the person can improve his or her mood naturally. However, some people cannot break out of a depressed state over an extended period of time. In those cases, a person is considered to have clinical depression, a psychological diagnosis.

In reality, there is much research demonstrating that depression is neurological, not psychological.

Certain brain patterns are linked to depression, as illustrated by the EEG brain map below.

depression

Neurofeedback actually retrains the dysfunctional brain patterns associated with depression, making it a powerful treatment tool. With neurofeedback training, the brain practices healthier patterns of mood regulation under the supervision of a qualified neurofeedback clinician. Sessions can range from twice a week to several times a week and average 30 minutes each.

Those with depression often notice improvement after only a few sessions, but for the brain to fully learn to make healthier patterns consistently, a number of brain training sessions are required. With sufficient practice, the brain learns to make these healthy patterns on its own and regulate mood independently.

Neurofeedback can help depression sufferers get their lives back. Your brain changes when you are depressed, and neurofeedback can help it relearn healthier patterns, giving those who suffer from depression a way out of the prison of their minds.

Emotional balance

Emotional balance is the ability of the mind and body to maintain equilibrium and flexibility in the face of challenge and change. Emotional balance promotes physical health, and is a prerequisite for personal well-being and growth.

What we experience as our mind is made up of our thoughts and emotions, and our happiness depends on us remaining in a balanced mental/emotional state. We all experience negative thoughts and emotions from time to time but if we stay in any state for too long we lose the ability to return to our balanced, neutral position.

We might find ourselves “locked”  in any number of negative states; such as anger, fear, worry, dissociation, self-sabotage or depression; agitation, impulsivity, anxiety, panic attacks and sleep trouble; lack of drive and motivation, or poor concentration. These stuck emotions run just below the level of consciousness, intangible yet often overwhelming. These uncomfortable emotions can dominate our thinking process and give rise to inappropriate reactions that impair our ability to be at our best.

Neurofeedback teaches the brain how to break out of these involuntary habits, allowing a shift back into our natural, contented state – with greater happiness and resilience in whatever circumstances we face.