Neurofeedback Therapy Gives New Life To PTSD Patient

Divorce is a painful, stressful, and oftentimes traumatic event in the lives of those affected by it. When two people divorce, it commonly leads to anxiety and depression not only for the spouses but also for any children involved.

Many people reach out to friends and family to help them work through the pain and learn to live with what has happened. Some seek help from a mental health therapist. This is a normal part of the grieving and recovery process.

For some individuals, however, the trauma that they have endured from their divorce reaches so deep it can’t be healed through talk therapy alone. In some cases, it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For some individuals, the trauma that they have endured from their divorce reaches so deep it can’t be healed through talk therapy alone. In some cases, it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Click To Tweet

WHEN THE PAIN OF DIVORCE PERSISTS

Talk therapy isn’t always enough to help a person heal from the emotional trauma of divorce. This was the case for Jane, a 56-year-old woman who had divorced from her husband 18 years earlier.

Even though she had seen more than one mental health counselor, she was still suffering from the wounds of her divorce. It felt as if no time had passed at all.

“I had been suffering from a lot of anxiety, depression, and nagging, repetitive thoughts since then,” said Jane when she visited Amen Clinics for a more complete evaluation. “Those old tapes played over and over in my head.”

Jane had seen multiple mental health therapists over the years, trying to get to the root of why she couldn’t move past the pain of her divorce nearly two decades later. She felt stuck in life, unable to move forward with her life even though she desperately wanted to heal.

Jane had already tried talk therapy as well as emotion focused therapy (EFT)—also called emotionally focused therapy—without getting the results she wanted.

“If they had told me that to feel better, I should stand on my head and spin around,” Jane said, “I would have given that a try as well!”

HOW DIVORCE CAN LEAD TO PTSD

Finally, one of Jane’s therapists recommended looking at her pain through a new lens and suggested that she might have PTSD. Most people think that PTSD only occurs to military veterans who have seen combat, but that’s not the case. There are many nonviolent causes of PTSD.

PTSD is associated with severe anxiety following a traumatic event, although it is not considered an anxiety disorder, according to experts. PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, emotional numbness, insomnia, and, in Jane’s case, uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

PTSD can be a complex and sometimes confusing disorder. While two people may experience the same exact trauma, it isn’t a guarantee that both will later suffer from PTSD.

Certain risk factors such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), past trauma, and a family history of clinical depression may make a person more susceptible to the disorder.

As soon as Jane’s therapist suggested that she might have PTSD, she immediately began researching the disorder on her own. Most people affected with PTSD spend years trying to come to terms with the traumatic event that happened to them.

“I consider myself a lifelong learner (meaning I read a lot) and so after coming across Dr. Amen on my local PBS channel, I ordered his books and read them all,” said Jane. “They made a lot of sense, so I investigated his clinics and what could be done for PTSD.”

That’s when Jane decided to contact Amen Clinics and schedule an appointment. Jane’s comprehensive evaluation included a deep dive into the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of her life. She also took a sophisticated neuropsychological test that assesses cognitive, emotional, and intellectual functioning.

In addition, she underwent a brain SPECT scan. This functional brain-imaging technology measures blood flow and activity in the brain. It shows areas of the brain with healthy activity, as well as areas that are either working too hard or not hard enough.

Like most people with PTSD, Jane’s SPECT scan showed overactivity in several brain regions, including the following:

  • Deep limbic area
  • Basal ganglia
  • Anterior cingulate gyrus

Seeing her brain scans helped Jane understand that her PTSD symptoms were not due to some personal failure, but rather related to biological issues in her brain. This knowledge helped minimize the shame and guilt she felt for not being able to move past her divorce.

Based on all of these assessments, Jane was diagnosed with PTSD related to her divorce.

NEUROFEEDBACK THERAPY FOR PTSD TREATMENT

As part of a personalized treatment program, Jane began neurofeedback therapy sessions and quickly began to feel relief. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that provides moment-to-moment feedback on physiological functioning.

Several scientific studies have found that neurofeedback is beneficial for PTSD. Some research suggests that certain forms of neurofeedback should be part of standard treatment for trauma survivors.

It focuses specifically on the central nervous system and the brain. This means that while the patient is experiencing an emotion, feedback is given about their physical systems such as heart and respiratory rates.

This connection is then used to teach the patient about control while at the same time fostering a better understanding of the impact of their emotions on their physical selves.

“I could notice gradual changes in my racing thoughts and depression,” said Jane. “But the real winning component in doing feedback is that I became anxiety-free.”

Jane, who is now in recovery from PTSD, said it best, “It is such a gift to be free from all of those symptoms and to be relaxed and looking forward to life.”

If you’re suffering from emotional trauma related to a divorce or breakup, it may be worth investigating if neurofeedback can help you regain emotional well-being.

PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

10 Comments »

  1. As a Neurofeedback practitioner myself. I can certainly attest to the efficacy of this modality for PTSD. I have successfully treated many veterans and survivors of sexual abuse.

    Comment by Hanno Kirk — October 16, 2017 @ 6:46 AM

  2. When the Amen Clinic diagnosed me with a continued TBI 2 years after the accident the recommendation was hyperbaric chamber and neurofeed back for my PTSD. It changed my life. I regained my short term memory loss and moved the accident to the back burner of my life. I still have tune up sessions with my specialist when needed. Thank you Dr. Amen

    Comment by Cathy Stuart — October 16, 2017 @ 7:42 AM

  3. how country people use to heal from trauma. neat to see it in doc’s offices.

    Comment by kindness heals — November 10, 2017 @ 9:29 PM

  4. I’m confused. I don’t understand the term neurofeedback? I have seen different so-called therapist use different machines/ slash electronic units. One of them detected what nutrients I am deficient in. Sadly there is no way I could afford to visit the Amen Clinic. And I live in a city of 90,000 people in Canada. I’m not sure if we’re equipped with the same neurofeedback unit that you refer to. Is there a specific name brand of this unit. Where would I look to find someone in my city who treats and anxiety this way? Psychologist or holistic naturopaths? The last lady who used one on me also practiced with crystals?? So I’m not interested in that and would really appreciate any assistance.

    Comment by Diana — February 11, 2018 @ 5:49 PM

  5. Hello Diana. There are practitioners in Canada. I’m in Ottawa. I started doing biofeedback and neurofeedback more than 20 years ago. What you are describing is not neurofeedback (nutrients detection and crystals, etc.). Neurofeedback is based in sciences. Good luck.

    Comment by Francois Dupont PhD C.Psych. — February 14, 2018 @ 7:51 PM

  6. I have a friend who is a disabled Veteran in Newport News, Virginia. He is living on social security and not getting the care he needs for his PTSD at the local Veterans hospital. He is 75 and been severely depressed for years. He has no desire to live, but says be won’t commit suicide because of what it would do to his family. Both of his children live out of state and he lost his wife several years ago. He is much to isolated and I have tried to help him as much as possible. Is there anyone in his area that could help him and how would he afford treatments? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Comment by Kathy — September 15, 2018 @ 5:01 AM

  7. Interested in your programs for PTSD & deterated brain function .

    Pls advise me of location,and programs are available .

    Sincerely

    Heather S Swoford

    Comment by Heather — September 15, 2018 @ 4:32 PM

  8. Hello Heather, thank you for reaching out. We’d love to have a Care Coordinator reach out to you via email. Here is a list of our locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. You should hear from us today and if you’d like to reach us directly, please call 888-288-9834. Thank you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 17, 2018 @ 9:38 AM

  9. My grandson who will turn 21 is August has suffered a great deal of emotional trauma throughout his life. His parents divorced when he was 3 or 4 years old. Until he came to live with his dad at 5 he had no stability with his mother. At that time he was diagnosed with ADHD, Tourettes Syndrome and OCD. He was given Risperadal . He experienced severe hallucinations, extreme anxiety and was changed to Abilify around age 7. When he hit puberty he had significant psychological changes resulting in problems in school and with his dad and step mom. He has been with me since age 15. I am a retired RN and initially was able to better understand and deal with his problems. He got into drugs mainly OTC cold medicine, cannabis and alcohol. He was given a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Treated with Geodon and Zoloft. With in a 12-15 month span he made four suicide attempts 2 requiring hospital stays. He wanted to go to the military so stopped all medication because he was told by a recruiter tha he had to be off meds for 3 years in order to join the army. Currently he has been in a state of deep depression for close to a year. Refuses counseling or medication. I believe that because of his childhood and bulling in school that he has PTSD. He totally isolated from everyone. His only friends are gaming friends that are online. I think he also has a gaming addiction that adds to his problems. He plays video games all night, sleeps all day. Rarely goes out side during day light say he cannot stand the sun. Short term memory is terrible. I have discussed the possibility of coming to the Amen Clinic and he is agreeable to getting a consult. However he is on SSI and his only insurance is through Blue Care TN. Your nearest clinic is about 4 hours away in Georgia. I don’t think we have access to SPEC here. We would appreciate any information you can provide regarding your program and the cost. My husband and I are elderly. We are concerned about his well being when we are no longer here and would like to get him on the path to independence before we pass.
    Thank you
    Aimee

    Comment by Aimee Oakes — May 29, 2020 @ 3:12 PM

  10. Will you please more clearly describe the neurofeedback treatment / machines / session types you are suggesting? This is a very difficult area to navigate, especially as most people are living on quite restricted budgets and cannot afford trial and error — trying out the varied practitioners offering what they are calling Neurofeedback, and charging exorbitant package fees in order to try it out. Many practitioners are not doing it properly / not evaluating what protocols may be of benefit, and which trigger more harm. And I’ve learned from experience that there are many different types of machines / programs providers may be using… making the session experience extremely varied from one kind to another. Some have triggered migraine attacks and worsening of symptoms.

    Comment by M — February 14, 2024 @ 8:51 AM

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