Neurofeedback: An Examination of Attentional Processes in Adults with Self-Reported PTSD Symptoms
Novel, effective, and accessible therapeutic interventions for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are in demand given the significant physical and psychosocial impairment associated with the disorder. Although PTSD is largely treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), treatment resistance, or nonresponse rates, continues to remain high. Research has shown talk therapies can trigger the limbic system, keeping it in a continual state of fight or flight. Consequently, many trauma survivors seek alternative treatments, such as EEG neurofeedback training. This study explored the relationship between trauma-related symptoms (i.e., inattention and impulsivity) and visual and auditory functioning in a population of veterans and nonmilitary adults who reported previously being diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health clinician. Results suggest that EEG neurofeedback therapy is clinically effective for improving visual and auditory attentional functioning in both veterans and nonmilitary adults. Improved attentional functioning is believed to boost organizational skills, decision-making, frustration tolerance, and comprehension. This is important given that two-thirds of veterans who complete CBT programs remain in the clinical range for PTSD with notable attention deficits. Treatment outcome research, such as this study, is vital to improve the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for persons diagnosed with PTSD, particularly within specific populations that have high nonresponse rates, such as veterans.
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