Neurofeedback Uses Video Games to Heal
Kate Luck Reporter
The treatment is called neurofeedback.
And for the few in this area that know about it, it's working wonders. "It's lifechanging. I feel like a new girl again," said Lydia Crater.
For Lydia Crater, neurofeedback is helping her overcome severe depression and anxiety.
She has been on depression medication for a decade when her depression became so bad she became suicidal and had to quit her job, she knew she needed a different treatment plan. "So on the first couple visits, I just felt relief. I came in here and just be my normal and anxiety ridden, feeling miserable and hopeless, and just desperate to feel anything else but that. And I would leave out of here feeling okay, I feel relieved, I feel calmer, I've got something else that might work for me," said Crater.
The theory behind neurofeedback is not new, but now it's being done in a way that's fun and creative, like a video game.
The doctor places electrodes on the problem areas of the brain.
Then, the patient plays the game…completely with their mind.
When the brain sends the desired wavelength, the game advances.
For example, the spaceship in this game navigates through the tunnel.
When the brain sends the wrong wavelength, the spaceship stops.
The music quits playing, and the screen will go dark. "It only takes the brain 2 or 3 of these to figure out connection between what it's doing and that spaceship moving. So it'll start doing it all the time. This is a way of getting the brain to exercise itself and producing I'd say patterns that get you at your best performance," said Dr. Donald Chambers, who runs a neurofeedback facility.
And the treatment is not only effective, it's fun.
Mandy Steele has two children who use neurofeedback. "They seem to look forward to their appointments. It almost seems fun to them," said Steele.
Her son Randy suffered from severe migraines twice a week.
Since he started neurofeedback, his headaches have been reduced to once every other week.
As for Lydia Crater, it's given her life back.
Crater started on neurofeedback sessions three months ago.
Since then, her depression has virtually disappeared and she is looking forward to going back to work. "With the depression, I felt there was no hope. I felt I was at the end of the road. There was nothing else for me out there," said Crater.