Unlike many of the issues we talk about on these pages, anxiety is a serious psychological diagnosis. While neurofeedback is often a great supplement to medication and talk therapy—and even a great alternative to them in some cases—we don’t have the credentials to help you figure out what will be the best way for you to move forward.
So on this page we’re going to tell you some things about our experience with clients with anxiety, and share some data gathered by two colleagues of ours who are psychiatrists in Kingston, Ontario. We hope this will give you enough information to decide whether neurofeedback is an approach you’d like to explore further—with your mental health practitioner and with us.
Let’s start with the data
Dr. Janet McCulloch and Dr. Linda Beckett, of the Kingston Institute for Psychotherapy and Neurofeedback have conducted or overseen more than 50,000 sessions of neurofeedback with more than 2000 patients, using the same NeurOptimal system that we use at Cleveland Neurofeedback.
We don’t know the exact number of clients included in this chart, but it’s definitely LOTS. And very importantly, these are people who are doing neurofeedback only: no medications, and no psychotherapy—so the chart is showing the effectiveness of neurofeedback as a stand-alone intervention.
How to read the chart:
- You can see that people were assessed at three points: before beginning neurofeedback, after 8 sessions, and after 16 sessions.
- Anxiety is measured here by the Beck Anxiety Inventory, one of the most commonly used measures of anxiety.
- These clients began with scores in the “Severe” range, that is, above a score of 26. (And in fact, these scores—averaging 35.7—are not just marginally severe!)
- After 8 sessions, the average score had declined to 21.7, which is in the Moderate range.
- After 16 sessions, there was an additional small decline to 21.0
Meet two of our anxiety clients
Katie is a professional woman in her 40s, who has suffered from episodes of extreme anxiety since she was a young adult. She has a therapist she sees whenever she’s experiencing anxiety, and has learned wonderful coping skills—but the anxiety takes its own sweet time to settle back down.
When her therapist recommended neurofeedback, Katie was open, though a little skeptical. She was stunned when she felt better at the end of the first session—and MUCH better at the end of two. She now comes immediately when she feels the anxiety starting, and believes that for her, neurofeedback is a way to head it off before it ever becomes really difficult to manage.
Jeff is a recovering alcoholic in his mid-30s. He describes himself as “a total screw-up,” whose self-destructive behavior seems driven by ADHD and terrific anxiety. Like Katie, he reported feeling different after his first session, and when we re-assessed him after 8, his ADHD indicators had come way down, and his anxiety had lowered from the 99th percentile to below the average. He went back to school and for the first time in his life, experienced himself as one of the “good students,” easily doing well on his tests, and being asked for help by other students.
If these results look like something you’d like to experience, give us a call—let’s talk about whether training your brain with NeurOptimal might be helpful to you. Or learn more about neurofeedback here.