Anxiety

Study Proves Alpha-Stim Treatment Effective and Cost Efficient
National Institute for Health Research (NHS) of the United Kingdom Study Proves Alpha-Stim Treatment is As Effective and More Cost Efficient Than Current First-Line Therapy

May 29, 2019


The National Institute for Health Research (NHS) of the United Kingdom has released a new study on the clinical and cost effectiveness of Alpha-Stim®, a non-drug medical device designed for easy, at-home use. The study, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, included 161 volunteers suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), who had experienced unsatisfactory relief with other therapies.

The Sunday Times reports that “half of patients went into remission after treating themselves with the Alpha-Stim.” Only 28% of participants required supplemental treatment in addition to the Alpha-Stim. According to Dr. Richard Morriss, principal investigator of the study and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, “Alpha-Stim CES was more effective at achieving remission than we expected. As well as improvements in anxiety, there were improvements in depression and insomnia,” said Dr. Morriss in The Sunday Times.

Results achieved with Alpha-Stim in the NHS study prove that this neuromodulation treatment is a valuable alternative or a complement to the psychological treatment. An article in Woman and Home highlighted that the Alpha-Stim “could well be a useful alternative to treatment, for people looking for a different option – or those unhappy with the long NHS wait times that often come with anxiety treatments. Patients waiting for CBT can often wait upwards of eight weeks. A speedier, at-home option would likely be welcomed.”

In the wake of this groundbreaking research, Sky News profiled Steve Hutchinson, a father of four, who suffered from anxiety, insomnia, and depression until he discovered Alpha-Stim. “The change has been unbelievable in terms of my quality of life. It’s allowed me to do stuff that perhaps I would have struggled to do otherwise.”

In a companion article in The Sunday Times, a victim of violent sexual assault says, “After using the Alpha-Stim device, I am no longer jumping at every shadow and sound.” She reveals how after being traumatized for 16 years, she is at last finding some relief.

Posted in Anxiety, Miscellaneous Articles
Brain Training for Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Conditions
Brain Training for Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Conditions

Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2016, Andrea Petersen

Edited by Linda Brownback, M.A., Licensed Psychologist

A new treatment for psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety uses real-time scans to show patients how their brains go awry—and how to fix the dysfunction. The treatment is called neurofeedback.

There is an urgent need for new approaches for psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. Almost 17% of Americans will suffer from major depression during their lifetime, according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.

Not everyone responds to current treatments like antidepressant medication and talk therapy. In one study of almost 3,000 patients, only about 1/3 of them achieved remission from their depression after up to 14 weeks on the drug citalopram (Celexa).

 

An fMRI scan from a participant in a study using neurofeedback for spider phobia. The study targeted activity in part of the insula, a brain region implicated in sustained anxiety. It is at the center of the white cross. Photo: Anna Zilverstand, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Neurofeedback aims to be more precise than current therapies. It directly targets the brain dysfunctions and emotional and cognitive processes that are understood to underlie psychiatric disorders. Doctors hope that treatments could also be personalized to address the issues in each individual’s brain.

Besides depression, neurofeedback is being studied in phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction, traumatic brain injury and chronic pain, among other illnesses.

With neurofeedback, “there’s no need to take medication and no need to talk about your mother to a stranger,” says Kymberly Young, a postdoctoral associate at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Okla.

In neurofeedback, patients lie in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. In general, they are told to conjure memories or look at pictures while their brains are scanned. The activity of certain brain regions related to subjects’ illnesses is analyzed via computer. Patients see visual representations of their brain activity almost in real time—often presented in the form of a thermometer or colored bar.

Based on what their brains are doing, subjects are told to enhance or suppress that activity. Patients “need to train their brain like they train their muscles when they want to be fit,” says Anna Zilverstand, a postdoctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and lead author of a 2015 study using neurofeedback to treat women with a phobia of spiders….

Dr. Young led a study of 23 depressed patients published in 2014 in the journal Plos One. In it, those who received one session of active neurofeedback for their illness saw their scores on a measure of happiness increase significantly more than those in a control group.

The happiness scores in the active group jumped 20%; the control group went up just 2%. Depression scores and an anxiety measure also dropped after treatment. But depression also dropped among those in the control group, and the difference in the drop between the groups wasn’t statistically significant.

In results from a more recent study, Dr. Young says that after two sessions of neurofeedback, depression scores dropped 50%. In the control group, they dropped 10%. These results are not yet published, but were presented at the Society of Biological Psychiatry annual meeting in 2015.

Neurofeedback didn’t work for everyone: About 10% of depressed participants had normal amygdala activity at the beginning of the studies. Another 10% of participants couldn’t learn how to regulate the amygdala….

Posted in Anxiety, Depression
8 Helpful Hints For College.
iStock_000015266973XXLargeSometimes students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can make it all the way through high school without it interfering with getting good grades, only to find that the combination of independence in prioritizing tasks and the increased demand for multitasking in college overwhelm students’ ability to fight past the interference with learning created by ADD. Research supports permanent change for one’s cognitive functioning through neurofeedback, and we have extensive experience with using QEEG-guided neurofeedback training to free a person from the difficulties created by having ADD.   While learning strategies won’t get rid of ADD, they sometimes can help a student manage its effects.

Here are some that might be helpful:

Sit in front of the class: there are fewer distractions if you sit close to the lecturer.
 

Resist the tendency to skip class: build self-discipline and momentum in learning.
 

Hang a large wall calendar where you will see it frequently. Write down when assignments are due in different color markers for different classes so you can have perspective.
 

Participate in class and in study groups: asking questions helps keep your brain engaged.
 

How to get the most from your reading assignments: while this technique may seem like a lot of work, it will actually save you time because it keeps you from tuning out while reading and protects you from studying material that you have already mastered.
Read one paragraph at a time. At the end of the paragraph, decide what was the main point/points.
Write each main point down on an index card in the form of a question. Put the answer on the other side of the index card.
By the end of one chapter, you may have as many as 100 cards filled out.
Go through the cards and read each question.
If you don’t know the answer, put an X on the top.
If you do know the answer, put a check.
Once you have a card with 5 checks on it, put in a review pack.
Keep testing yourself on the cards with less than 5 checks.
If you find you keep struggling with the same several cards, ask yourself why: perhaps you need some additional help with a concept, perhaps you need a mnemonic device to help you remember, etc.
Before a test, review all the cards that are now in the review pack.
 

How to take notes in class. Keep on the writing surface a post-it with BROILV
B: Write down anything the teacher writes on the board. Why? Because writing on a board takes effort beyond talking, so it is probably important to the lecturer.

R: Write down anything the lecturer says twice

O: Write down anything the lecturer says will be on the test, and then put a * beside it.

I: Write down anything the lecturer says is important or in some way indicates that it is significant.

L: Write down any lists of information

V: Write down any new words, items, terms, places, dates or people

Create as much structure as you can possibly be comfortable with. The more routines you have, the less likely you are to allow a responsibility to fall through the cracks. Structure includes:
Lists (and whenever possible, create cellphone alerts to remind you to periodically check the lists)
Rituals (doing routine behaviors the same way consistently)
Files
Notes to self
 

Utilize color coding because one, many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Two, it is another way to build structure: for example, build a system for your files where the color of the folder represents a topic, a course, etc.
 

Posted in Anxiety, Miscellaneous Articles, Parenting
10 Tips to Reduce Worry & Anxiety
Everyone worries from time to time.  A certain amount of worry is neces¬sary for survival; it helps us anticipate future hazards and prepare for them. But many of us worry far too often and far too easily. Excess worry creates anxiety which can lead to depression, poison our relationships, and sap us of energy and the joy of living as we wrestle with relentless “what ifs.” Carry¬ing the weight of the world on our shoulders can also make us physically sick, with ailments such as back pain, digestive disorders, rashes, and recurring headaches.  The good news is that there are ways to reduce your worry and anxiety.  Below is a list of 10 ways to minimize anxiety from worry.

ALLOW ROOM FOR ERROR Consider the best course of action, remembering that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Ask yourself, “Would it really be that terrible if I made a mistake?”  Chances are it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
NEVER FRET ALONE “Get it out. Talk to a friend, talk to a colleague, talk to your dog,” advises Dr. Hallowell. “This is the number one tool of worry control because it’s so simple and so effective.” To avoid overloading others with your anxiety, ask a pal for ten minutes of vent time, then offer your ear in return.
CONFINE YOUR WORRY TIME Devote a set amount of time—say, ten to 20 minutes a day—to your potential troubles. Let your imagination run as wild as it can during this period. Afterward, if an upsetting thought arises, file it away for the next day’s session. Too difficult? Start by working to postpone worries for a few minutes at a time.
CONSIDER THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO Pon¬dering how you’d feel and what you’d do if the worst did happen may help you see that the chances it will happen are slight and that you can handle less¬er events.  Increasing your initial anxiety may reduce your long-term anxiety about the scenario.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT Focusing on the here and now can go a long way toward soothing the soul. To get started, give yourself five minutes to absorb the details of your surroundings.
SAY YOUR ABC’S Challenge yourself to recite the alphabet in random order, without repeating any of the letters. This task is just tricky enough so that there’s no room in your consciousness to think about anything else.
USE YOUR SENSES For some, an act as simple as snapping a rubber band worn around the wrist or taking a warm soothing shower can derail the worry train. “It’s about using tac¬tile stimuli to tweak yourself to anoth¬er place. It’s taking action instead of letting the worry act on you,” says Dr. Hallowell.
DISTRACT YOURSELF Short-circuit worry by taking a walk, petting your dog, reading a chapter in a juicy mystery, or doing any other activity that you know will divert your attention and relax you. Yoga, meditation, a music tape, or a few minutes of deep breathing—which low¬ers the heart rate and, in turn, reduces anxiety—can also help.
SING your own version of the worry song in your mind, or out loud, for a few min¬utes, until you feel less anxious. It works because ‘the singing makes you feel ridiculous,” says Wilson. “And it’s very hard to maintain your distress when you’re doing something foolish. You step back from the worry and put it in perspective.”
LET IT GO Done everything you can pos¬sibly do? Then make up your mind to move on. Imagine yourself placing your worries in a box and tossing that box in the trash—for good.
Source: Diane Umansky, Good Housekeeping, March 2000

Posted in Anxiety
Anxiety/ Panic Disorders
We treat both Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder with great success. Using our holistic therapy approach, clients can be panic attack free in approximately six weeks.  Neurofeedback therapy also provides another powerful tool for treating these disorders. Research has associated alpha brainwave enhancement with reduction of anxiety levels in those chronically anxious people who have a deficit in alpha production.

WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety impacts millions of people yearly in the United States.  Often we can work out our fears and concerns, but sometimes we find ourselves in the grip of anxiety.  In order to understand when anxiety is within normal limits and when it is dysfunctional, it can be helpful to look at the guidelines trained therapists use to make the distinction.  The American Psychological Association outlines the following criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

At least 6 months of “excessive anxiety and worry” about a variety of events and situations. Generally, “excessive” can be interpreted as more than would be expected for a particular situation or event.
Significant difficulty in controlling the anxiety and worry. If someone has a very difficult struggle to regain control, relax, or cope with the anxiety and worry, then this requirement is met.
The presence for most days over the previous six months of 3 or more (only 1 for children) of the following symptoms:
Feeling wound-up, tense, or restless
Easily becoming fatigued or worn-out
Concentration problems
Irritability
Significant tension in muscles
Difficulty with sleep
The symptoms are not part of another mental disorder.
The symptoms cause “clinically significant distress” or problems functioning in daily life. “Clinically significant” is the part that relies on the perspective of a professional therapist.
The condition is not due to a substance or medical issue
While only a professional can diagnosis generalized anxiety disorder, if you meet the above criteria it may be beneficial to contact a professional therapist or counselor for help.  In addition to Neurofeedback, a therapist familiar with Cognitive Behavior Therapy can be very helpful when dealing with anxiety related issues.
 

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