It is clear that neurofeedback helps with ADHD. But it helps with other mental health issues as well.
Below I will present some of the research on how neurofeedback is helpful with other mental health conditions. I have greatly summarized these studies to make some of the scientific evidence easier to understand. Here is a link to a LONG bibliography from the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research if you want more information.
Let’s start with mood disorders. The reason for this is that anxiety and depression are the two most co-occurring mental health conditions for adults with ADHD. For children some of the most co-occurring mood disorders with ADHD are Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. Here is some of the research in chronological order so you can see how it is consistent over time.
- Dr. Raymond (2005) and his team found that “mock neurofeedback,” or fake neurofeedback for the purposes of research, did not have a great effect on people. But the participants who had “real feedback” reported being more energetic, composed, agreeable, elevated, and confident. This was a smaller study but it still had promising results for Alpha/Theta training and symptoms of mood disorders.
- In 2015 Dr. Cheon and colleagues reported their results “suggested the effectiveness of neurofeedback” with people who have Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (np). And that the reduction of depressive symptoms decreased “significantly after neurofeedback treatment, and also, anxiety symptoms” (np).
- In their 2017 article, authors Srabani Banerjee and Charlene Argáez report that there is a decrease in symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder after neurofeedback treatment. This is important because MDD is one of the most co-occurring mental health diagnoses with ADHD in adults. And it affects a larger number of people who don’t have ADHD.
- In their 2021 meta-analysis (review and summary of multiple studies), Dr. Fernández-Alvarez and team report that “neurofeedback [is] associated with a reduction in self-reported depression.”
This is really good and reassuring news.
What about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD can be really hard to cope with and lead to symptoms that people mistake for ADHD all the time. Luckily, there is some research on OCD and neurofeedback.
- Drs. Sürmeli and Ertem reported that 33 of the 36 people in their study on neurofeedback for people with OCD “showed significant improvements not only in OCD measures, but all of the MMPI scores showed a general decrease” and that after neurofeedback their physicians also rated 33 of 36 as having improved symptoms. Moreover, they report that 60% of these 33 people maintained this reduction in symptoms after 26 months.
While this sample size is small, the results are very promising. In my practice of using neurofeedback, I have seen very similar results.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD
I love working with people who have PTSD. Some people have a hard time understanding why, but I will tell you. I love it because PTSD provides an opportunity for mental, emotional, and physical healing. My research at the NIH was on trauma and people with cancer and I worked at the DC Rape Crisis Center. This work is very important and meaningful to me. It is one of those IYKYK sort of things.
- Dr. Moore reported in his article published in 2000 that neurofeedback “was associated with clinical improvement in generalized anxiety, phobic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and PTSD” (p. 5).
- In their randomized control trial results published in 2021, Dr. Leem and team reported that people treated with Alpha/Theta neurofeedback who also had PTSD showed significant improvements over the control group and that these people also had improvements in symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and that their quality of life was improved.
Neurofeedback is great for ADHD and it can also be really beneficial for depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD among many other symptoms and conditions. If you just want some more information, contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to talking to you!