NEUROFEEDBACK: AN EFFICACIOUS TREATMENT FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
BrainFutures’ report, Neurofeedback: An Efficacious Treatment for Behavioral Health, outlines a clear case for neurofeedback (NFB) in treating certain conditions. NFB has a 70-year history, and in the past 20 years, numerous studies, including large meta-analyses, have confirmed NFB as an effective treatment modality for ADHD and anxiety. The report outlines the history and application of neurofeedback and features an in-depth, research-based review of neurofeedback as a treatment for these conditions. It summarizes the evidence that demonstrates NFB to be both efficacious and specific in improving ADHD symptoms and effective in treating anxiety-related conditions. In addition, comprehensive appendices explore the fundamentals of neurofeedback, including brainwaves, NFB technology, and foundational treatment protocols.
Even with a strong evidence-base, NFB is still not fully adopted as a first-line or adjunct treatment for ADHD and anxiety. Meanwhile, the behavioral health arena remains desperate for effective treatment options as rates of disorders continue to rise. As such, BrainFutures offers the following recommendations:
Consumers and Patients Make Their Interest in NFB Clear to Providers. With growing awareness of neuroplasticity and brain health and fitness, consumers and patients can advocate for medical and psychological practitioners to make NFB part of a broader standard toolkit to address mental health, brain fitness, and well-being. By directing providers to this brief and other NFB resources, including the websites of state, regional, and (inter)national professional associations for NFB and biofeedback, the public can greatly influence the attention providers pay to this intervention.
Providers and Payers Recognize NFB Through Treatment Options and Coverage. The fastest path to clinical and responsible access is for insurance companies and medical providers to acknowledge NFB as a first-line or adjunct treatment for patients with ADHD or stress- and adjustment-related symptoms, and to take action for this change to happen. Increasing coverage of NFB as a treatment for behavioral health would also help in the battle to reduce rates of behavioral health conditions across the population and give insurance companies an opportunity to come into greater compliance with the MHPAEA parity law.
With advances in technology and technique in the field of NFB, and more rigorous certification available to ensure treatment standards,11 there has never been a better time to increase adoption of NFB into the mental and behavioral health treatment paradigms for ADHD and anxiety, and as a treatment for improving brain health and well-being.
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 Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. (2020). Biofeedback Certification. https://www.bcia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3373