Depression is a disorder that affects the way a person thinks and feels. It is not a sign of weakness that can be willed away. Treatment is needed for individuals to get better. People with depression experience a reduction in cerebral activity. People who are depressed have difficulty smiling, look flat, can be tearful, show low interest in activities, have difficulty falling or staying asleep, have changes in appetite and may be grouchy or irritable. They sometimes experience feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
There are 3 types of depression that generally are seen by professionals. They are reactive depression, endogenous depression and chronic low grade depression. Reactive depression is a result of external stressors such as a loss, injury, trauma or death in the family. Endogenous depression occurs when there is no apparent external reason and can be long term. Chronic low grade depression is persistent low mood. Once a person experiences depression it is believed that subsequent occurrences are more probable.
Frequently, antidepressants or stimulant medication are used to treat depression. Response to antidepressant medication varies with individual and requires close supervision of a physician.
Can neurofeedback help depression? Depression is associated with changes in the brainwave activity. In general, depression is a state of imbalance in the brain wave activity. Neurofeedback rewards and trains the brainwaves to change which results in changes in the behavior and emotions associated with depression. Depression is a common diagnosis in neurofeedback practice and is readily remediated.
Often during the course of treatment individuals find antidepressant or stimulant medication are not needed. The patient should be monitored by their prescribing physician for any prescription changes that may be necessary. We recommend that all our patients taking mediction consult with their prescribing physician regarding neurofeedback treatment in order to monitor their progress. Psychotherapy and counseling therapy are also effective in helping individuals cope more favorably to the environmental stressors, and relationships.
Neurofeedback is also recommended for those who do not have a favorable response to medication and those counseled to avoid medication, particularly pregnant women.
Adjunctive cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, stress management and relaxation training will ensure skill building for handling stressors and improving functioning.