Treatments for Depression and Fatigue

Depression Treatment with LENS Neurofeedback, Brain Supplements and Mindfulness

Clinicians at Echo Rock Neurotherapy in Mill Valley CA have have developed a successful integrative-medicine treatment for Depression and Fatique, blending Low Energy Neurofeedback Sessions (LENS), brain supplements and mindfulness training. Our Depression and Fatigue Treatment Program is safe, effective, and drug free.

Relevant Excerpt from Neurofeedback for Depression by D. Corydon Hammond, PhD

Compelling research evidence exists that there is often a neurophysiological basis for depression, particularly in people with a family history of depression. Neuroscientists have discovered a particular brainwave pattern that allows us to identify individuals with a biological predisposition for developing depression.

This biological marker appears to be very robust (Davidson, 1998a, b), having been replicated many times in brain mapping research utilizing quantitative electroencephalograms (QEEG) and other forms of neuroimaging.

It has even been found in infants of mothers with a history of depression, compared with babies of women without a depression history (Dawson, Grofer Klinger, Panagiotides, Hill, & Spieker, 1992; Dawson, Grofer Klinger, Panagiotides, Spieker & Frey, 1992).

The left frontal area of the brain is associated with positive emotions and approach motivation, which is a desire to be involved with other people. The right frontal area of the brain is more associated with depression and fear, accompanied by motivation to withdraw from and avoid other people.

When there is more slow brainwave activity in the left frontal area, this part of the brain is more inactive and the right frontal area is more dominant. Such a person is predisposed to become depressed more easily, to withdraw from other people, and to be anxious. This may occur because of heredity (family history) or because someone has had a concussion or mild head injury in the left frontal area which produced the slowing.

Depression Brain Mapping

Part of a brain map from two different people is reproduced below. The map on the left is from a person with a long history of depression. You can clearly see in the left frontal area (which is colored orange and yellow) that there is an excess of slow, alpha brainwave activity. This is the pattern that has been classically associated with a vulnerability to depression. In contrast, the brain map on the right displays how a relatively normal map would look, without any excess or serious deficit.

It is interesting that research has found that antidepressants do not correct the type of brainwave pattern that we see above on the left. Thus, medication treatment for depression appears to still leave intact the biological predisposition for becoming more easily depressed when unpleasant life circumstances come along.

There is also new evidence that has found that on average, antidepressant medications only have an 18% effect over and above placebo effects (Antonuccio, Danton, DeNelsky, Greenberg, & Gordon, 1999; Kirsch, Scoboria, & Moore, 2002; Kirsch & Sapirstein, 1998), and medication may only be mildly effective in treating anxiety as well (Antonuccio et al., 1999).

In contrast, we know that psychotherapy for depression compares favorably with medication in short-term follow-ups (DeRubeis, Gelfand, Tang, & Simons, 1999) and appears to be superior in long-term follow-ups (Antonuccio, Danton, & DeNelsky, 1995; Hollon, Shelton, & Loosen, 1991).

Neurofeedback treatments for depression (Baehr, Rosenfeld, & Baehr 1997, 2001; Hammond, 2000, 2004) appear very promising not only in bringing relief from depression, but in modifying the underlying biological predisposition for becoming depressed.

Neurofeedback focuses on retraining the brain, for example, reversing the frontal brainwave asymmetry, with the goal of producing an enduring change that does not require people to remain on medication indefinitely. Training often requires about 20 to 22 sessions.

*Note: D. Corydon Hammond, PhD is a Professor & Psychologist, of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation University of Utah School of Medicine.

Irving’s Story

“My diagnoses were depression and anxiety associated with grieving over the sudden loss of my spouse 19 years ago. Ever since, constant repetition of the events and a deep depression have affected my social functioning, affected my work stability, as well as sleep patterns, appetite, and basic joie de vivre. I’ve seen Grant now for five LENS therapy sessions. Immediately after the first, I felt a lifting in my shoulders. My stiff neck and teeth clenching and grinding were alleviated, and two months later, I no longer have a stiff neck. I didn’t feel the exuberance that many experience after the first treatment. My awareness of the changes came on overnight. I wasn’t as irritable with traffic and with things that usually annoy me and even anger me. I still wake up in the middle of the night, however, I am able to get back to sleep quite easily. I am no longer kept up by racing thoughts and an anxious stomach. I still use marijuana to regulate anxiety, mood, sleep, arthritis pain, and appetite, but started using a vaporizer to reduce the amount. I also felt an increase in sensitivity to alcohol. I have felt the social confidence I had prior to my loss coming back, and others have noticed it too. I’ve also suffered from migraines since I was 10 years old. Recently, my migraines had been reduced to once a month. Two months later after LENS, no more migraines. I have discovered that LENS helps you correct negative brain patterns. Your brain then recognizes the positive ones. And, you learn how to opt for the positive patterns. All of my stress and anxiety induced ailments are gone – neck stiffness and pain, migraines, and even psoriasis on my ears and elbows. I will be continuing therapy with LENS. I suggest LENS to all those suffering from similar symptoms caused by anxiety. What a chance discovery! ”

-Irving S