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PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

The current clinical standard of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM-5), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop after an individual has been through an experience that is life-threatening or posed the potential of serious bodily harm to self, or others. The main impact of these symptoms comes from the fact that they persist into an individual's life, overwhelming their ability to maintain healthy physiological and emotional equilibrium. When an individual is unable to overcome the acute stress response symptoms of fear, dread, anxiety, intrusive memories and/or dreams of the trauma, the chronic condition that characterizes post-traumatic stress ensues. PTSD symptoms are often precipitated by financial stress, marital discord, natural disasters, automobile accidents, personal or terrorist attacks, sexual violence, or combat exposure, among others.

 

The neurological and physiological nature of PTSD symptoms can have dire consequences on one's physical and mental health. The disruption of the endocrine and nervous systems, such as the chronic activation of the sympathetic fight-or-flight response, have been clinically associated with many other health conditions

 

Current mainstream therapies include pharmaceuticals, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy. The nature of these therapies is that they have either an invasive effect on the brain, or an indirect one. Pharmaceutical treatments are known to have short term results, due to the duration of the drug’s effects, as well as carry the potential of developing tolerance and dependence. Behavioral and psychiatric interventions have been partially successful because of their inability to deal with the brain directly. Since the brain is the foundation of mental health, cognitive ability, and general wellness, any influence over its neurological and metabolic performance can be of the utmost importance.

Identifying  brainwave (EEG) markers of posttraumatic stress

EEG (electroencephalography) is the measure of brain waves which occur in varying amounts and regions of the brain. Over a century of scientific inquiry into EEG has provided conclusive evidence on the link between the states and traits that the brain produces and specific brain wave frequencies (Hz) measured at the relevant neuroanatomical locations. When it comes to PTSD there are clinically valid electrical patterns of activity that are associated with the condition. The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) is a structure which has been implicated in the alterations of brain activity that is typical of someone with PTSD. Reduction in Alpha brainwave activity is a clinically valid marker of the hyperarousal that is the most common symptom universally found in post traumatic stress. Neurofeedback has shown to be so successful in recalibrating the function of the PCC that even a single session showed a reduction in hyperarousal scores. Another marker that is associated with PTSD is asymmetry between the proportion of alpha brainwaves on the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This is a similar pattern of dysregulated activity that shows up in a large percentage of depression and anxiety reports.

Neurofeedback targets specific trauma brain parameters

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The ability to read brainwaves in real time allows neurofeedback technology to digitally pair sounds and images with specific patterns of activity. The application neurofeedback shows clinical superiority because it addresses the fundamental dysregulation that trauma impacts upon the brain. One specific protocol known as “alpha-theta” has shown clinical superiority that ranged up to 80% success rate in alleviating symptoms and long-term effects of PTSD in combat veterans.

Although traumatic events can take many forms, modern technology is now able to identify and address the effects that it has upon the brain. This gives tremendous hope to public health and human progress as a whole. The severe impediments to true human potential and is now able to be mediated and abated by the promise that neurofeedback holds.

Treating PTSD & Substance Abuse wih Neurofeedback (WATCH NOW)

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