Depression – Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the seasons change, it can trigger changes within our body as well.  The colder temperatures usually mean outdoor recreation is replaced with warmer, more comfortable indoor activities.  The transition is worth mentioning because increased indoor activity results in less natural sunlight which can affect the body’s vitamin D levels.  Research has suggested that low vitamin D levels have been correlated with depression.  Those who do not have a clinical diagnosis of depression can be susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when the seasons change.

Neurofeedback has had success with treating symptoms of depression and SAD and results can be lasting.  Researchers found that after a period of one to five years after neurofeedback training, their participants maintained depression inventory scores in the normal range. Neurofeedback brain training works by training areas of the brain that are associated with mood.  It works similarly to a reward system, such as when a child takes out the garbage and is rewarded with an allowance.  If the child does not then he does not receive the allowance.  The same principle works with neurofeedback. If the brain is operating within a certain set of variables, then it will receive an auditory and/or visual reward.  Over time, the brain learns through this reinforcement to self-regulate without the assist of the neurofeedback system.

Amy was first diagnosed with depression when she was six years old.  She experienced a lot of traumatic events growing up such as the death of her mother and adoptive parents, being in a coma after a tragic car accident, and subsequent neurological issues from the accident and coma.  These events laid a foundation for her chronic depression and feelings of hopelessness.  As an adult, she lost her dream job, and was dumped by her boyfriend.  It began to be too much and her doctor prescribed an antidepressant.  At first it seemed to work but something still didn’t feel right.  Amy found out about neurofeedback and decided to give it a try.The neurotherapists found that certain parts of her brain were moving too fast or too slow.  After a short number of sessions she noticed feeling a “clean windshield”effect:  a brighter, clearer mood and energy.  To feel this type of relief was huge for her considering her past.  She realized that for the first time in her entire life, she felt things were getting better. It has been three and a half years since her last session and during a recent follow up call she reported that she is still functioning at an improved level and that life is good.

The Better Brain Center is the largest neurofeedback clinic in northern Virginia and the Washington, DC metropolitan area specializing in brain training and brain optimization methods.  Give us a call to see if we can help you or a loved one find relief.