Using Neurofeedback to Lower Anxiety Symptoms Using Individualized qEEG Protocols: A Pilot Study
AbstractIntroduction: Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million Americans ages 18 and over (NIMH, 2015). Although qualitative and small-scale quantitative neurofeedback (NF) studies show reduction in anxiety symptoms, large-scale studies and quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) driven protocols are non-existent. This retrospective pilot study intended to assess whether qEEG guided amplitude NF is viable in symptom reduction of anxiety. Methods: Nineteen clients were assessed for anxiety, 14 were included in the data. Demographics include age ranges from 11–61 (M = 31.71, SD = 16.33), 9 male and 5 female; six identified as Caucasian, five as Hispanic/Latino, and three Caucasian/Hispanic ethnicity. Pre- and post-assessments included the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED), and the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA). Clients received 30-min qEEG guided NF treatment sessions, twice a week. The range of attended session was 7–28 (M = 12.93, SD = 6.32). Results: Enhancement in clients’ well-being was evidenced by statistically significant improvement in symptom measures scores. Although improvements for the two most anxiety-related categories on the ASEBA were not significant, other anxiety-related categories did show significant improvement. Yet, qEEG findings were not statistically significant. Directions for future research are discussed.
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