Monday, October 18, 2010

Biofeedback and PTSD

The Alternative Health blog points us to a study from Walter Reed Army Medical Center that says Biofeedback is not helpful for people with PTSD.

Not all research supports this conclusion. A program (PDF) developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network suggests that biofeedback can be helpful, although its results have not been fully analyzed.

Other biofeedback research often seems tied to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which we have heard extremely conflicting reports about.

You know what we have found to be the most effective form of biofeedback? A dog. When you're happy and relaxed, so is your dog. When you're stressed and anxious and fearful, your dog tells you so.

Do you have any thoughts or experience with biofeedback or EMDR? Share them here!

4 comments:

  1. There are many flaws in supposing the WR study is accurate. For example, the homogenous control group, the length of the study, etc. Much evidence supports the effective use of biofeedback in PSTD recovery, so I think we should not jump to conclusions with the results of this one study.

    Ha, a dog! NOW you're talking! Getting a puppy was the first thing that reconnected me to myself, joy, and the present moment. He's been an awesome part of my recovery. I'm now 100% PTSD-free (after using 10 different modalities). It can be done!

    (To answer your question re:EMDR: didn't work well with me and from the large number of survivors with whom I'm in touch: many say it triggers them.)

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  2. Michele!!! Yes, I am with you!!! I am SO CONCERNED about the FACTUAL EFFICACY of EMDR. As I note in the Fearless-Nation.org "guide" to therapy: "PTSD & TYPES OF PSYCHOTHERAPY

    PLEASE NOTE: Immersion Therapy or “Exposure” Therapy (including EMDR, or “Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing”) is under question by the psychiatric and psychological community. Some sing its praises, while there is some solid research which shows that it can re-traumatize PTSDers. This type of therapy was developed for phobias. A phobia, or fear of something (spiders, heights, clowns, etc.) IS NOT THE SAME AS PTSD or TRAUMA, which has involved a life-threatening situation, horror, and helplessness. Please use caution when entering into this type of therapy, and if you experience a set-back as the result, seek another form of treatment. If your therapist gives you a difficult time about it, you may need to find a new therapist.

    REMEMBER:

    * The mistreatment of PTSD can make it complicated, a life-long struggle.

    * TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE IN TREATING TRAUMA, DO NOT WASTE TIME IN GETTING THE RIGHT TREATMENT.

    * YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR RECOVERY, MAKE YOU THE #1 CONCERN IN TREATMENT."

    I tried EMDR--I was re-trauamatized. Set me back a month in recovery, had to go back on sedatives...this was back in 2007. I have a stink-eye for EMDR for trauma--it was developed for phobias--and "phobia" is MUCH different from TRAUMA.
    http://www.fearless-nation.org/Therapy-Types.html

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  3. BTW: "BIOFEEDBACK", or, monitoring your responses to stimuli using hardware/software such as EmWave or other pulse/respiration monitor *CAN BE* extremely helpful in training oneself to regain control over body/brain response to stress or relaxation. Please remember that Walter Reed Medical (my father, a military officer and MD worked there during Gulf War) IS a military entity, so any proof that combat or training in war-like behavior *may* cause trauma is verboten.
    Look at news reports with a critical mind. PTSD people know the difference between hype and truth, since we've been brought in contact with the ultimate truth. Do NOT believe every news snippet that comes down the pike: There are vested interests in every "news" story--which may be more marketing than actual objective journalism. :-)
    Stay Fearless!

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  4. I just came across this entry while researching PTSD and biofeedback. I thought I should let you know that I have gone through a year of biofeedback for PTSD, 1x/week and it has significantly reduced my symptoms. I have been on medication for PTSD since 1995. I went through art therapy which helped a lot but I still had problems focusing, concentrating, and being motivated at work. And I had a lot of problems with dissociating. The biofeedback has worked with all of these symptoms. So I would recommend it to anyone. I also use tapping if I get negative thought streams and I'm practicing heart math.

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