Who We Help
On this page we’ve grouped together some of the most common problems for which people seek help, and which neurofeedback can improve. Neurofeedback works with your symptoms because this is how we can tell the ways in which your nervous system is dysregulated. These symptoms and any changes which happen during training, guide the entire process. We don’t focus on diagnoses, mainly because they don’t tell us how you personally are affected by that diagnosis. For example, stress might show up in one person as palpitations and in another as bloating or headaches. Even more specific diagnoses like ADHD have different symptomology across different people. Treatment is therefore very personalised as opposed to prescriptive.
Our intake process includes a self-rated list of symptoms which will most likely cross over one or more of the following categories, but hopefully these descriptions will give you an idea of how neurofeedback can help you.
If you have a diagnosis or suspect ADHD, you’ll be aware of the many difficulties which can be pervasive and persistent, impacting everyday life. According to The Lancet, symptoms of ADHD can continue into adulthood in more than three-quarters of cases and is characterised by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. ADD is a sub-set of ADHD and both conditions are often found to have knock-on negative effects at school and employment, in the home and with relationships, often leading to comorbid conditions such as addictions and depression. ADHD is on the rise, some literature suggests a 30% increase in cases in the last 10 years leading to a wider analysis of the causes: environmental, genetic, developmental or pharmacological. ADHD is known as a difficult condition to treat, but from the many requests for help we have received, we have seen extremely positive results.
Neurofeedback for ADHD has been the subject of decades of research which shows that regulating brain function significantly reduces the severity of symptoms. As such there is improved attention, diminished hyperactivity, and enhanced executive function, including improved working memory. One of the many benefits of neurofeedback for ADHD is the calming effect without conscious effort or control. Many people with ADHD find it difficult to self-soothe and engage with calming practices; but neurofeedback calms the nervous system unconsciously, allowing for greater executive control. Infra-Low Frequency (ILF) Neurofeedback works with your unique set of symptoms, focussing on the specific part of your brain that requires training. It is a safe and highly effective therapy for use with both children and adults. As your brain continues to train more symptoms will improve, and thanks to neuroplasticity your brain will learn to maintain these positive changes.
Autistic Spectrum Conditions
The symptoms of autism, which now includes Asperger’s Syndrome, can range from mild to severe. Typically a person on the spectrum might be highly anxious, have difficulties with sleep, use stimming as a calming method or be hyperactive with emotional outbursts. There are likely to be difficulties with social interaction and communication, or obsessive compulsive behaviours and highly focussed interests. There are many other comorbid conditions which might also be related to Autism such as depression and PTSD.
Autism affects the level of integration of brain function, particularly at the emotional core affecting social connection. In autism there are developmental flaws in the structural connectivity of this emotion network. However with neurofeedback this network is accessible to us and we can strengthen its connectivity. Neurofeedback sessions use EEG technology and computer software thereby minimising verbal interaction which many autistic clients may find preferable. Neurofeedback works very well with children due to the flexibility of their brains; it can prevent continued development of unwanted behaviours into adulthood.
Emotional & Behavioural Problems
In this section we want to briefly summarise that emotional and behavioural problems can be very diverse, might be a common feature in your life or fluctuate at different times. They might take the form of addictions, hoarding, depression, aggression, memory or speech problem as well as low self-esteem or lack of interest in socialising or intimacy. The causes too can be wide ranging and some of these are discussed specifically elsewhere on this page. However not everyone knows the origins of their problems so its helpful then that Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback focusses initially on symptoms rather than causes.
We would encourage you to think of neurofeedback as a possible treatment option for any change in behaviour or emotions whether long-term or recent and this can also include those symptoms associated with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or traumatic brain injury.
Some sources say that one person in four suffers from chronic pain. Experiencing constant pain can be very debilitating and cause negative effects not just throughout the physical body, but also psychologically and in terms of quality of life. Your work and income may be affected as well as family life, relationships and emotional health. Some common chronic pain conditions are migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, cancer, nerve or muscle pain, and the pain associated with arthritis, bowel complaints and lower back.
There is evidence that there are differences in the neurophysiology of chronic pain sufferers. Therefore, it follows that a treatment like neurofeedback, which directly targets brain activity, will be most beneficial in combatting pain. In addition, many painful conditions originate from the stress response and neurofeedback is particularly good at reducing physiological and psychological tensions. Many pain-related symptoms such as poor sleep, anxiety and depression can also be alleviated with neurofeedback, so it has a positive effect on the whole system. If stress and trauma are at the root of chronic pain, we can also target this through the use of the Alpha-Theta protocol which accesses the subconscious, allowing it to do its natural healing work. Our therapists may also use Alpha-Theta in conjunction with other trauma therapies.
Sleep & Fatigue
Problems with sleep are very common and most people have experienced an issue with sleep at some point in their lives. Common causes of sleep problems are anxiety or depression, lifestyle and environmental factors such as alcohol intake or working patterns. Lack of sleep or insomnia can affect your judgement, memory and concentration, eating and drinking habits and cause problems at home and work. Fatigue is typically related to symptoms which are not alleviated by sleep and more likely experienced by people who have chronic mental and/or physical illness, trauma or prolonged depression for example. Although the causes of sleep and fatigue can be very similar, what often sets them apart is the severity of symptoms or that rapid onset of fatigue can indicate underlying health issues, sometimes diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Differentiating between the two is important to the neurofeedback process and our Symptom Tracker and assessment process will help to identify your specific issues. Neurofeedback targets the causes of your poor sleep such as physical and mental tension, which are common complaints preventing people from falling, and staying, asleep. As treatment progresses it might be beneficial to use our Alpha-Theta protocol which can help resolve any underlying trauma issues affecting your sleep. Our experience shows that sleep problems are quickly alleviated and that cognitive abilities and quality of life are improved.
Sports & Creative Performance
The development of Infra-Low Neurofeedback is modelled on optimum functioning and organic enhancement of existing brain function. It is non-prescriptive which means your brain is in charge without any interference from the practitioner, no pre-set aims other than the ‘goal’ of optimal performance. The developers of this method (Susan and Siegfried Othmer) state that ‘dysfunction subsides by virtue of improved function’ and that there are no set limits, as seen with other methods of neurofeedback. The brain is therefore allowed to continue to improve, reach and stay at peak performance, an important aim in terms of sport and any form of creativity.
You might consider neurofeedback to improve on a skill you already perform at a high level, or to support a higher level of training or practice. ILF neurofeedback can help you attain your goals whether it is a physical, artistic or cognitive skill you wish to improve.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress (or Anxiety) affects us all at some point and might be regarded as an essential part of life; but when it becomes chronic it can cause many unpleasant problems: headaches, panic attacks, disturbed sleep or emotional reactivity. It can negatively impact all areas of life, relationships, eating habits, sex life, work or study and sometimes culminate in diagnoses such as OCD or PTSD. In addition, prolonged anxiety can affect the immune system and therefore contribute to health issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal conditions, stomach ulcers, pain, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The stress response involves specific parts of the brain, the amygdala which processes emotions and the hypothalamus which communicates with the nervous system to prepare it for fight or flight. But chronic stress suggests this fight or flight state has become permanent and is the condition from which problems arise and is often difficult to consciously soothe. Thankfully neurofeedback targets this dysregulated nervous system, unconsciously returning it to a calm state. Some of the early changes are often reported as better sleep with dreaming, less emotional reactivity, reduced pain and feeling happy.
Trauma & PTSD
Post traumatic stress syndrome is now very widely recognised as a group of symptoms which continues to cause problems long after a traumatic event has passed. For example, most commonly experienced symptoms are high anxiety, hypervigilance, disturbed sleep, reduced socialising, but at its extreme can lead to very altered states, addictions and reduced functioning. Many people find Neurofeedback Scotland after reading ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel van der Kolk, in which he recommends neurofeedback for the treatment of trauma.
We are guided by your specific symptoms and place sensors over the area of the brain associated with the symptom. This process can take several sessions during which your nervous system will begin to calm, you will experience less reactivity to triggers in your environment, sleep will improve and many people report feeling more present or a greater sense of well-being. At an appropriate time in treatment, we will also use the protocols Synchrony and Alpha-Theta alongside other trauma therapies and therapeutic approaches to help your brain access and process traumatic memories.