What is Biofeedback?
What do we know about biofeedback for mental health?
A recent study has shown promise in using biofeedback as an effective mental health treatment. This study was performed using real-time functional MRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-FT), aiming to learn how biofeedback treatment affects the brain in patients diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses. Through biofeedback treatments, study participants learned how to control their neural activity, using a scanner to monitor changes in brain activity. The ultimate goal be for patients to be able to control neural activity in their day-to-day lives. For example, a patient could train their brain to feel optimistic rather than pessimistic, or calm rather than anxious.
Preliminary studies have shown that biofeedback has a moderate effect on the activity in specific regions of the brain while patients are learning to control their neural activity, and a larger effect once the patient begins to use this biofeedback in their day-to-day lives. Studies show that biofeedback can reduce a patient’s symptoms, with only slight cognitive impairment immediately after the treatments begin.
It is too soon to deduct anything concrete about biofeedback for mental health, but preliminary results show that researchers are learning about how this non-invasive technique could be used to treat chronic pain or mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, stress, and many more.
In the meantime, effective treatments for chronic pain and mental health disorders are available. Treatments like ketamine are highly effective for both pain and psychiatric conditions.
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