AMHA-OR - Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback: A Gift for the Mental Health Community.
What the Experts Are Saying, Finally!
Author: Kana Suppaiah RN, MN, PMHNP, BCIA --Published April 2006 AMHA-OR Newsletter
Like many Portlanders, I go to Powell’s book store compulsively to quench my curiosity for new books and information. Last Saturday I tore through the periodicals when what to my wondering eyes should appear…but an article in Scientific American on neurofeedback! I knew in a moment, as I leapt through the pages of the Feb/March issue, that this article would help me in my cause. To share with the world, and especially my colleagues, that neurofeedback is a proven effective way of treating ADHD, anxiety, depression and even epilepsy.
I rejoice, like a kid on Christmas morning, when medical, scientific and mainstream publications help publicize the practice of neurofeedback and its many benefits. I have used neurofeedback for over 10 years and I have anxiously awaited the publication of research and findings that support the remarkable results I have seen in my practice. Since I started to use neurofeedback to treat common mental health issues like ADHD, PTSD, addiction, anxiety/depression and even head injuries, the number of articles published on the subject has grown exponentially. I have seen many articles in print since I started to use neurofeedback in my practice ten years ago. First time, in November of 1997, I saw in the New York Times, an article published on this novel technique. Author was Jim Robbins. I copied that article, made many copies and sent them to colleagues and friends. Then I read a small article in the Parade magazine, Oregonian’s supplement about this technique and how it helped attention deficit disorder kids. Then there is another one a bit more elaborate with pictures of brain and technology in the Psychology Today, and again I bought many copies of Psychology Today and passed them around to spread the news. Also I put few copies in my clinic waiting room. Whenever some one called and asked for information about neurofeedback I used these articles to convince them that this is a known technique and practiced around the country.
Neurofeedback was developed in the 1960’s in UCLA by Dr. Barry Sterman. It is a technique that uses EEG (electroencephalogram) technology which shows the electrical impulses of the brain, is an innovative computerized biofeedback tool that has begun to infiltrate the modern health care system with remarkable success.
In the year 2000, Jim Robbins, a staff writer at the New York Times, published the first detailed book on neurofeedback and its development titled A Symphony in the Brain. This book is reasonably researched work; author interviewed the researchers as well as the practitioners of this technique. He himself underwent this training and wrote his experience in the book. The book is easily readable. In the same year, the EEG magazine, published by the organization for electroencephalographers of America, released the January 2000 issue dedicating the whole magazine to neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback as a form of biofeedback developed in the 1960s and came into clinical practice in late 1980s. First scientific article was published in 1972 in Elsewhere’s Clinical Electrophysiology, and since then extensive research has been done and published in professional publications such as Biofeedback, EEG, Electrophysiology, and the Journal of Neurotherapy.
While it is still relatively unknown, publications like The New York Times, Psychology Today, Newsweek and even The Oregonian are beginning to publish clinical research supporting this innovative practice and sharing the dramatic success stories. Articles like “Train Your Brain” in Scientific American, demonstrate how neurofeedback has been used to successfully treat common mental health disorders.
After using this technique in my practice for ten years, I am still charged, pardon the pun, by the emphatic raving of my patients about how neurofeedback has enhanced their lives. I feel it’s important to share the success and growing acceptance of neurofeedback with clinical and patient communities. Whether or not you believe in Santa Claus, the joy he brings is each Christmas morning, is undeniable. The results and benefits of neurofeedback are extraordinary, and very real. And the more people who know, the more people can be helped.
I welcome inquiries and even impassioned debate and will leave you with a quote from Dr. Frank Duffy, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Director, Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, Children’s Hospital Boston. He espouses the effectiveness of EBT (EEG Biofeedback Therapy) in EEG Magazine (2000, Vol.31 No.1) after extensive review of published research, “The literature, which lacks any negative study of substance, suggests that EBT should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. He states “In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used.”
A Symphony in the Brain, c.2000, Jim Robbins, staff writer at The New York Times
Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19980501-000026.html
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