Patients with mental health disorders usually require pharmacological and/or psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, patients may not have easy access to such treatments, especially for those living in rural areas, or may not respond well to them. For example, approximately two-thirds of patients with major depressive disorder do not have adequate responses to pharmacological and/or psychological interventions. Biofeedback therapies are non-pharmacological treatments that use non-invasive electrical devices with bio-monitoring system and sensors to measure, amplify and feed back information primarily from nervous system processes such as respiration, heart rate, muscle tension, skin temperature, blood flow and blood pressure, to the individual being monitored, thus promoting awareness of these processes in an individual to assist with gaining voluntary control over body and mind. Neurofeedback is a specific form of biofeedback that monitors central nervous system activity via the measurement and regulation of brainwave activity from electrodes placed on the scalp. Training with neurofeedback aims to enable the individual to modify patterns of cortical activity and normalize brain activity. In general, biofeedback and neurofeedback are designed to increase patients’ coping skills for their current situations, and usually multiple sessions of treatment are required.
This report was undertaken to update a previous summary of the evidence on the clinical effectiveness and safety of neurofeedback and biofeedback which was completed in 2012. In that report, findings from preliminary analyses raised the possibility that biofeedback and neurofeedback may have a potential for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or depression.
Copyright © 2014 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.