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Depression and neurofeedback

answered 12:13 PM EST, Sun January 26, 2014
verbatimgirl verbatimgirl Huntington Beach, CA
I saw your answer to a question about Neurofeedback for depression but it was from 2012. Was wondering if you had any current opinion about it. My son, 20, has just admitted to having severe depression. He has been mediating with marijuana for three years heavily and has admitted that's how he pushes down any uncomfortable emotion he feels. He had a mental breakdown ten days ago and has been in the hospital since. Yesterday he tried cutting his wrists there and today admitted that he has suffered from depression for years and never told anyone. Antidepressants scare him (and me) with all the side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Please advise on what you think could help. thank you so much.

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

I am sorry to hear that your son (and you) is in such a crisis. 

I strongly believe that neurofeedback can be very helpful in shifting how your son's brain reacts to the feelings he has taught himself to bury. It can also be effective in changing the addictive behavior that has resulted in his use of marijuana.
However, and it's a big however, neurofeedback does not create an immediate shift in feelings, responses and behaviors. Your son is experiencing a crisis and that needs to be addressed appropriately before any long term therapeutic interventions can be implemented. While I understand your concerns regarding the side effects of antidepressants, they can be very effective in the short term so that he can through this crisis. While he is in the hospital, I would strongly recommend that you contact the eeg insititute (www.eeginfo.com). They are located in California and can give you the name(s) of trusted practitioners (hopefully located near you) who could work with your son and offer the best possible outcome.
It also matters right now what the cause of your son's depression is... is it a result of a biochemical imbalance or is it the result of how he has handled life issues that he's experienced. To that end the ongoing therapeutic interventions will make a difference. 
Other than  you as a caring parent, what are your son's support systems? This aspect of his ongoing therapy also needs to be addressed. Is your son is school or is he working, and what schedule does he have so that he can include some out patient therapy programs (groups can be very effective) to help him come through this crisis and help him to learn and implement new and different coping skills.
The bottom line answer is that yes, I believe that neurofeedback can prove to be helpful and beneficial to your son, but please first deal with getting his system stabilized and balanced so that future interventions can be truly beneficial.  I would also look into craniosacral therapy and acupuncture as additional therapeutic interventions. 

I wish you all the best going forward, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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Page last updated Jan 26, 2014

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