I was wondering if anyone has done this for anxiety. I don't know too much about it, but I am so desperate for relief from my near constant anxiety that I'm willing to try anything. I am currently on Buspar and Xanax and I know that I'm going down a tenuous road with these drugs if I continue them. I really want to find something that works besides medication (which isn't working that well anyway.)
Couple questions for you: why has biofeedback gone out of favor? And why would you drop Buspar? Is it not effective for anxiety? I've been on it 3 weeks today and am unsure if it's helping or not (maybe a little). Why would you up Xanax? I am taking .5 mg and am afraid to take more. Everything I've heard about Xanax seems bad--especially because it's easy to become tolerant to it and and hard to withdraw from it. Although it's definitely helping--just not all the time
I have tried several antidepressants, including Prozac and couldn't seem to get past the side effects which included terrible nausea. The only one I was on for any length of time was Zoloft and that was a nightmare to get off of. I am a type 1 diabetic which complicates matters when taking medication.
Even though biofeedback isn't as popular as meds it can still be extreamly helpful for stress and anxiety. Biofeedback can help someone gain control of the autonomic system or basically get more in control of involuntary fuctions of the body through the use of feedback. Neurofeedback uses EEG feedback where measurements are taken of brainwave activity through sensors on the scalp. It's supposed to help with depression and anxiety but not many have used it compared to meds simply because doctors much prefer to prescribe meds. Another reason bio/neurofeedback isn't too popular is due to cost. Most of the time insurance doesn't cover the costs and it takes at least 10 visits to the therapy center often many more sessions are required. You do the math. Not only that but biofeedback requires the person to be an active patient in that you have to be actively participating to train your mind and body to change. It's much easier of course to take a benzo or ssri with greater result. If you're not a believer of meds of course this is a great way to go. If so one thing I was looking into is a new neurofeedback system called LENS which is an automatic passive system of neurofeedback that will do the work for you while you lie there and relax. This new system is supposed to work very well with mood disorders. I can't post a link on here or I'll be banned but you can do a search on google for Len Ochs and LENS.
Thank you soooo much Frank for your encouraging words and information. I indeed, am desperate to get off the medication as I think it will only lead to dependency and harmful side effects. I was discouraged today because I resorted to taking a Xanax XR this morning because I had such a bad night with little sleep and nausea. The Xanax is the only thing right now that's taking the edge off.
Anyway, I'm encouraged by what you said and I will look into the LENS system. Have you had personal experience with Neurofeedback? If so, did you find the effects lasting? I've only had 2 sessions so far, so it's too early to tell. The expense is an issue for me as I am currently unemployed but I feel I need to try something (everything!) to get myself back functioning again so I even get a job. Right now I'm in a vicious circle of chronic illness that is being affected by fear and anxiety.
I myself have not tried neurofeedback except in college when I took a biofeedback course. I have a home trainer for galvanic skin response (gsr) and heart rate variablility. Using those basic home based biofeedback devices have helped me alot before and I still use them along with the autogenic excercises for relaxation. There's a sense of empowerment you get when you learn to have control of things you previously didn't know how to control or couldn't. That's what biofeedback has given me. So I know that neurofeedback will help if done over a period of time. As for LENS I have not needed it yet because I was able to control my anxiety/depression/ocd to the point where I think I am almost free from it all. I posted my story a while back in this thread.
If I didn't get better on my own however I would have definatly looking into alternatives like LENS, acupuncture, quantum healing etc... Lens really looks like a breakthrough system though, and the results with mood disorders seem to be pretty good. I think you can find a list of practitioners on that Ochs Labs website. Good luck.
Wow Frank, I just read your other thread. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and how you overcame your anxiety. It's inspirational to me that you did it completely without meds. I really want to get off the meds I'm taking because I don't know if they are doing more harm than good. For instance, the buspar might just be giving me more nausea but it might be helping with the other anxiety symptoms. Then there's the xanax, which makes me feel groggy and kinda spaced out but helps tone down the anxiety. It's confusing to know what to do.
It's neat that you have your own devices for biofeedback and can actually chart your own progress. The LENS neurofeedback system looks and sounds what the therapist is using on me. I'll have to ask her next time. I hope it works because I can only afford 10 sessions. I'm also trying acupuncture, but I think that might take awhile to work.
I'm glad you've found my old post helpful. Beating mood disorders like anxiety and depression isn't easy. It's the toughest thing I've had to deal with in my life but now that it's behind me I feel I'm a much better person for it. So in a way I'm kind of glad that I went through it. You just have to take the attitude that this is a crisis/transition point in your life and you have to learn to adjust your life. You either adapt for the worse or for the better. You have to choose for the better. I chose not to go the med route simply because I did not trust them and in a way, kinda wanted to see if I can do it alone. Basically I wanted see if I could master my mind and body without using meds to mask and surpress my problems. Once you can accept yourself in all your symptoms and miseries you'll get out of it. My plan was to dig up everything about myself that was 'dysfunctional' leaving no stoned unturned, worked on the things that needed to be worked on in my life, improve my diet by reducing my sugars, carbs, processed, and fatty foods etc.. started excercising regularly, and started taking suplements, did the whole health nut lifestyle basically.
With regard to alternative treatments there are lots of stuff out there like biofeedback/neurofeedback, acupuncture, homeopathy, reiki, qigong, quantum touch healing, emotional freedom technique (EFT) etc. All which I'd be willing to give a chance before I would resort to meds but if I had to use meds I would have I just made it a last resort. If I were in your shoes I'd simply try to slowly reduce the doses of meds to the min amt you need and try to get all the various aspects of your life in balance. Biofeedback can be practiced at home and there are many personal home systems out there, ask your biofeedback practitioner to recommend some to you. As for acupuncture if the person is good you'll get results pretty quickly if they're not you're just wasting your time. Don't be afraid to try different practitioners if you don't feel anything from your current acupuncturist. Psychologists and other therapists are great if you can find a good one but you can be the best therapist for youself because nobody knows you as much you do and can help you as much as you can help yourself. If you can face your problems and tackle this head on I'm sure you'll be able to overcome this.