Neurobiofeedback has shown some promise in treating bipolar disorder, but experts say results of tests are inconclusive. Biofeedback is the science of using equipment to gain greater awareness and control of physiological areas of the body. Neurobiofeedback, or neurofeedback, is a specific type of biofeedback that is showing some actual promise in bipolar treatments.
How Biofeedback Works
The Neurofeedback area of biofeedback uses scanning equipment to measure brainwaves, and displays the results in real time. A person may have sensors attached to their head to measure the waves, and they can modify their brain activity through practice. Watching the instant feedback, or results of the brainwaves helps a person change how their brain works. This EEG biofeedback has been shown effective against ADHE, stress, sleep disorders, epilepsy and brain injury. Another difference is there is a reward of some kind when the person is able to make their brain function in a certain way. Just thinking the correct thoughts does not work. There has to be that positive reward that results in long-term effectiveness.
Treating Bipolar Disorder
While biofeedback has been shown to help with ADHD and some other conditions, medical officials are slow to completely give it their blessing when it comes to bipolar. However, if the patient continues with other treatments, many studies have shown improvement with this type of feedback. Some patients have been able to reduce their dependence on medication significantly.
Part of the reason that the results are inconclusive is that little research has been done. What has been done has had positive results, but health officials want to see more results. Even so, it is helpful when used along with medication and other treatments, especially with children. Many bipolar patients have trouble with long term medication, so biofeedback could be an option as an aid to the medication. In some cases bipolar patients have been able to stop medication entirely, but experts say a person should consult with their doctor before making such a move.