Neurofeedback update: Done. (Kinda.)

Most of what I write about my head is private, but sometimes there are things worth sharing with the larger world.

Monday will be my last neurofeedback session.

I have been doing NFB twice a week without a missed appointment for any reason since last October 12, almost a year. There have been no vacations, and no exceptions of any kind.

When I say “last session” the meaning is both conditional and hopeful. The strategy my practitioner uses is to continue until the client either gets significant symptom relief or can no longer tolerate the treatment. I’m in that second category.

In that case, the treatment is stopped for two months or so to let the side effects, which have been the dominant experience, fade out. At this point the benefits — whatever they may be — can be assessed. There’s a range of results from “Thanks, I feel better, bye!” through “Some things have improved and I would like to improve other things that are still bugging me” to “I feel somewhat better but we need to keep going with this.”

I’m apprehensive about this for obvious reasons. What’s going to be there when the bandages are removed? However there’s not a damned thing I can do about it other than try to relax and maintain a hopeful attitude. In any case I’ll be delighted to be done with the stress and side effects, which are very debilitating.

Apparently many NFB practitioners deny that there are painful effects. Based on my own experience that’s a huge mistake, and I would urge anyone going into serious therapeutic neurofeedback to carefully consider how bad a long period of aggravated and newly induced mental illness might be. I’ve not enjoyed the last year at all, and my career and some relationships have been permanently affected.

It’s entirely worth it to me if the result is good enough, since my alternatives were not looking very good. If you’re dealing with the neuropsychiatric results of a head injury, if you have disabling ADD-like symptoms that do not budge with other approaches, or if you have emotional problems that are life-threateningly severe and inexplicably resistant to conventional medical and psychotherapeutic treatment, then neurofeedback may be worth investigating. If your life is worth living despite your issues, this may not be for you.

I hope to report some good result by the end of the year.

9 thoughts on “Neurofeedback update: Done. (Kinda.)

  1. I really hope it turns out that you’re in the “Thanks, I feel better, bye!” category, and not just because I would miss your weblog if you were to crack up and stop posting. There’s a part of me that cheers up when new effective treatments for mental illness and neurological disorders turn out to work where other treatments fail completely, and I’m hoping that your experience will help to produce results that show it.
    On the other hand, I’m not only glad you’ve been loaning your brain to science. I really do hope it will be a net positive for you personally.

    1. And then we have the Sithblog Option
      You’re missing the truly golden opportunity in which I completely crack up and keep posting. I’m already a pretty good neurotic blogger. Imagine how powerful I could be after I lost my shit 581% and went over the Dark Side to be a truly psychotic blogger?
      Thanks for the good words. Mad science is our last best hope against madness.

  2. I hope to report some good result by the end of the year.

    I hope you do.
    I don’t really know jack about NFB, but it does seem reasonable that something with such an obvious (side-)effect on one’s cognition could at least in theory have a positive effect as well, hopefully a long-term one.
    P.S. How has it felt, overall, to be medication-free this last little while?

    1. P.S. How has it felt, overall, to be medication-free this last little while?
      It has been the worst experience of my life. I’ll let you know when I stop detoxing and know what’s going on for real.

  3. I hope, too, that you can look back and feel positive about your therapy and be able to really say goodbye to the meds. I haven’t reached a place in my life where I’m at that comfort level, and as I’ve said before, if I grow an extra limb out the back of my head from decades of imipramine usage it’s okay. Maybe I’ll finally get that one section of hair to lay RIGHT after all these years!
    Here’s to a newer normal?

  4. Congratulations
    Congrats on almost being done with neurofeedback!
    “Apparently many NFB practitioners deny that there are painful effects.”
    Do you mean physical effects or are you referring to how it affects one’s life overall? If the latter, I definitely agree: Neurofeedback should be administered strictly for therapeutic use, and only when necessary. However, I favor neurofeedback over pharmaceuticals.
    I hope you find that neurofeedback, despite being a struggle, has been worthwhile for you.

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