Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy: Neurofeedback

by | May 17, 2021

I would like to take a minute to talk about anxiety, drug-free anxiety therapy, and my own experience suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is one of the most diagnosed mental health issues in the United States affecting over 40 million adults.  Anxiety is a highly treatable disorder, yet many go without treatment due to mental health stigmas or a desire to not be treated with drugs.

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life for a few days or weeks, but when anxiety is present for a month or more, it becomes a chronic condition that can turn your life upside down in ways you never previously imagined. Anxiety does not occur because you are mentally weak. Anxiety occurs when stressors disrupt our brain’s normal patterns, and the symptoms and suffering are real.

If you have been suffering from anxiety and have not sought out treatment or are undergoing treatment without achieving freedom from anxiety symptoms, or simply do not want to rely on pharmaceuticals to manage your symptoms, please continue reading.

 

My story

 

In 2003 after going through a divorce as well as some business issues I went into a funk. I visited a Psychiatrist and was diagnosed in 5 minutes with a mood disorder and given a prescription. Within a month I was experiencing anxiety as a side effect.  A few weeks later on what was supposed to be a day on which I flew to Ireland with my parents and all my siblings instead turned out to be a nightmare and the beginning of a two-year journey. As my family began to board a limo bus to drive us to JFK airport I began to shake, feel lightheaded and experience a rapid heartbeat. I felt like I was going to die! My mother a nurse quickly realized I was having a panic attack. 

Unfortunately, I missed the 10-day trip and had to watch my family leave without me. From that day on I began to experience severe anxiety and panic attacks. It eventually got to the point where I was agoraphobic, could only be in my office or apartment, and could not travel far. I refused to try more medication which I knew was the cause of this to begin with. 

I tried a few alternative treatments which helped but eventually came across Neurofeedback. The process was simple, I got to watch videos while a computer monitored my brainwave patterns. When my brain was in a good state the screen was clear and volume was loud, when it wasn’t the screen would have a shadow on it and the volume would dip. Over the course of a few months, I was back to my normal self. I could travel and even flew over to Ireland finally! 

Shortly after I was introduced to BrainCore Therapy, a company that specializes in Neurofeedback. I have been using their system in my offices for over the past 12 years. I have helped many patients in similar situations to mine.

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

 

Anxiety disorders are repeated periods of feeling intense worry, fear, or terror that occur during everyday situations and last for many days over the period of several months. Often, they peak in “panic attacks”.

 

Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:

 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperventilating
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Sleeplessness
  • Feeling weak or fatigued
  • Gastrointestinal problems

 

Traditional Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

 

Anxiety disorders are typically treated with a combination of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and pharmaceuticals in the form of anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants. 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on identifying and addressing over time the underlying thoughts and triggers that create anxiety and changing the way we think of or react to those stressors.

Anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan or Antidepressants such as Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, but they are not a cure for anxiety. Each of these drugs can cause side effects such as dizziness, headaches, sleeplessness, and nausea. Antidepressants can also cause muscle weakness, diarrhea, and sexual dysfunction.

As a Chiropractor, we should and do remain open to the knowledge that there are illnesses and conditions that require medication in order for patients to live. We do believe in and respect science, but we also believe first and foremost that if there is a natural method proven by scientific research that promotes true healing it should be the first and best option for our patients.

 

Drug-Free Anxiety Solution: Neurofeedback Therapy

 

Neurofeedback therapy is a form of biofeedback therapy specific to the brain. Over 30 years of research and practice has proven the efficacy of neurofeedback as a safe, alternative, drug-free therapy for mental disorders including anxiety. In simple terms, it provides patients with a method and tool to learn to retrain and regulate their brain’s response when encountering the feelings and symptoms of anxiety.

 

How does Neurofeedback work?

 

The electrical activity in our brain is referred to as a brainwave. Patients with anxiety exhibit irregular brainwave patterns during QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalogram) testing. Using analysis of the patient’s brainwave patterns, the practitioner is able to devise a protocol specific to the individual, and neurofeedback training can begin. Using specialized software patients are provided with visual feedback that helps them retrain and regulate their brainwaves to new, healthier patterns and freeing them from the symptoms of anxiety.

In our office, we use the BrainCore Neurofeedback system. The BrainCore neurofeedback system provides patients with visual feedback in the form of movies, puzzles, and games. As the brainwaves become more regulated the brighter the movie display will become, the faster the puzzle will be solved, and the more the game will advance.  This system piggybacks on our brain’s natural desire to view the movie clearly, solve the puzzle and play a game as the driving force to normalize brainwave patterns.

These types of visual feedback are what make the BrainCore system different from other forms of neurofeedback and we find our patients are very comfortable and at ease from the very first session which is of great benefit to the healing process.

 

Our drug-free BrainCore Therapy program for anxiety suffers is available both here in Hopewell Junction at Dutchess Braincore and in our Pelham, NY location McKenna Family Chiropractic. We’ve helped many patients living with anxiety disorders take back control and get back to enjoying their daily activities without the stress of worrying about what the day will bring.

If you struggle with anxiety and would like to explore a drug-free therapy option, schedule a consultation with Dr. Will to find out how BrainCore Neurofeedback Therapy can help you reclaim your life.

Dr. William McKenna

Dr. William McKenna

Chiropractor

Dr.William McKenna has been a Chiropractor for over 20 years in Westchester and Dutchess County, helping his patients to achieve greater health and live more active lifestyles. He is the founder of McKenna Family Chiropractic located in Pelham, NY, and Dutchess Braincore Therapy and Wellness Center located in Hopewell Junction, NY. He graduated from Life University in 1999 and has been advocating for better health, naturally, since. Dr. Will believes a smile is the first step in healing and building valued relationships with his patients. Book Appointment

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