Preview: The Impact of Neurofeedback on PTSD - A Case Study

Updated: May 3, 2019


Abstract

This research report includes examination of the process and results of using neurofeedback as a modality for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The subject of the study was a military retiree with 28.5 years of active duty service who saw action in three counter-terrorism operations and observed the deaths of over two dozen service members. Sessions were conducted at Vitanya Wellness in Tempe, Arizona, from November 2018 through April 2019. The study included the subject taking part in a total of 36 sessions using neuro-guidance and brainwave entrainment technologies. Data was collected at each of 36 sessions and, coupled with assessments every six weeks, comprised the data set for this qualitative study. Statistical analysis indicated clinically significant improvements in both executive functioning (CEFI-A) and quality of life (WHOQOL-Bref) measurement areas at both 12- and 24-week assessment points. Clinically significant improvement was also present in a trauma index (PCL-C) at the 24-week assessment point.

Introduction

Neurofeedback has become increasingly visible as a means to address mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others. The neurofeedback approach is a closed-loop psychophysiological process by which feedback of neural activation is provided to the participant to foster self-regulation (Sitaram et al., 2017). This feedback measured neural activity and was presented to the participant in real time to enable self-regulation and address the brain waves—in this case—PTSD.


Study Design

This case study focused on a client who was treated at a Vitanya Wellness Center from November 2018 through April 2019. The client completed sessions using neurofeedback for PTSD with associated depression and anxiety. Sessions were accomplished over 24 sessions using neuro-guidance and brainwave entrainment technologies. The same Brain Performance Coach and same room were used for all measurements, careful balancing, and exercises, including neurofeedback headset devices. Analytic indexes used to accomplish this study were the Comprehensive Executive Function Inventory – Adult (CEFI-A), World Health Organization Quality of Life – Brief (WHOQOL-Bref), and the PTSD Checklist – Civilian Version (PCL-C). Neurofeedback (NF) occurred twice per week for the first 12 weeks, and then once per week for the last 12 weeks.


Results

The participant in this case study had experienced three major traumas and one trauma that persisted over several years. The client entered a 24-week neurofeedback program, including weekly sessions and compliance with a nutritional supplement regimen. At the end of the 24-week program, the client had experienced a 47.56% overall improvement in executive function (CEFI-A assessment), a 50.00% improvement overall in quality of life (WHOQOL-Bref assessment), and a 46.15% reduction in trauma indication (PCL-C assessment). This was also reflected in the overall mood and level of social engagement by the client, who had gone from being withdrawn and in a depressed state at the initial assessments to a more positive, socially engaging mood by the end of the program.


(c) 2019 C. Forkner

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