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EEG neurofeedback a non-drug therapy option

YCAN - EEG neurofeedback a non-drug therapy option



Two days a week, Kyron Thomas sends a spaceship soaring with his brain.

 The 10-year-old is undergoing EEG neurofeedback training, a form of biofeedback that aims to help people cope with attention deficit disorders, depression, anxiety and addiction. Participants use their brainwaves to play computer games, in the process retraining their brains to create more of some kinds of waves and less of others. 

 "I was excited about doing it. They told me I would get to play games with my mind," Kyron said. "I wasn't exactly sure it would work at first, but it does." 

 The process requires two or three sessions a week in the beginning. Research shows that people need 40 to 60 sessions to make the brainwave changes permanent. Insurance may cover some of the sessions. However, many insurers consider neurotherapy a relaxation technique or an alternative therapy and won't pay for it. 

 Kyron's parents, Kevin and LaTosha Thomas, asked their son to give neurofeedback a try after he changed from an eager, engaged, straight-A student to a withdrawn youngster struggling to finish his homework. His sleeping patterns also changed dramatically, and he started falling asleep in class, Kevin Thomas said. 

Kyron started the neurofeedback sessions in the summer of 2010 with David McMillian, a marriage and family therapist in Shreveport. In about three months, "we started noticing significant positive changes," Kevin Thomas said. "I told Dr. David, 'My child's back'," Thomas said. "Kyron's tapped into a creative side of him that we always knew was there. He's making friends again. That was a huge thing. He was just so lonely."

Kyron briefly took medication to help the situation, but said it made him feel "funny." He said he feels "normal" after the neurofeedback sessions.

"Dr. David says I'm near ending the sessions because I'm doing real good," Kyron said.

McMillian decided to invest in neurofeedback training and equipment because he likes non-drug ways to address his clients' needs. Two nationally known authors and therapists he follows also recommended the technique, and one offered to mentor him in it.

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