French poet and playwright Alfred De Moussett wrote, “Winter is a disease.” While this [...]
Depression: What is Depression?
Almost everyone has felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life stresses and struggles, or a harmed self-esteem. But when feelings of intense sadness (including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless) last for days to weeks and they keep you from functioning normally, you may very well battling clinical depression. This is a serious, but treatable medical condition.
Depression and Brain Function:
The qEEG or Brain Map reveals a substantial increase in spectrum power in theta, alpha, and beta frequency bands in depressed patients at both the parietal and occipital sites, in eyes closed and eyes open conditions. The qEEG also reveals an increase in slow (theta and alpha) activity in the EEG pattern. Additionally, enhancement of beta power may correlate with anxiety symptoms that most likely play an important role on the onset of depression. With the qEEG or Brain Map as an assessment tool, we can see the electrical activity of the brain. We can then determine where and how the dysregulation occurs allowing us to develop treatment protocols to put the brain back into balance without medication.
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Depression and Common Symptoms:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms may include the following:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
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Depression: Case Study
This case involved a thirty-seven year old female who complained of depression with periods of poor sleep, some mood fluctuations, extreme irritability, and occasional rages. The woman’s constellation of issues also included near-panic levels of anxiety, non-specific learning deficits (low attending skills, auditory processing difficulties), and general visuo-spatial issues. She was concerned over losing friends because of her inflexibility, and was battling increasing isolation, along with a lack of concentration and motivation. She felt these challenges were negatively impacting her professional performance and threatening her job security.
She was medicated with multiple anti-depressants by her physician and the woman reported these were insufficient.
Early into completing some neurofeedback and counseling sessions the woman reported feeling a “little less emotional”, and also noted vivid dreams, but less sleep disruption. Shortly thereafter she reported sleeping through the night consistently for almost a week, and felt she was regaining her sense of humor. As her training continued she reported feeling more relaxed and better able to cope with issues, and was no longer feeling irritable or experiencing panic, even though her work situation continued to be very stressful and demanding. The woman reported enjoying the ability to maintain a “bigger picture perspective”, and described being able to “concentrate and get things accomplished”, to her surprise. In addition, she reported graphomotor improvements, including more legible handwriting; something she felt was due to her ability to be calmer, which was aiding her ability to focus. Toward the end of treatment the woman was able to go for three weeks at a time without treatment and reported feeling significantly more stable then in the past. She had salvaged some nearly-ended relationships with friends, who commented that she seemed “more flexible and easy going”. Shortly thereafter she reported extreme stress from a demanding workload, which, along with a sudden death in the family was causing considerable setbacks. She noted she was “handling things better”, but felt a need for increased frequency of neurofeedback. The woman resumed training on a schedule of two-week intervals until she felt stable and less stressed.
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