Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This used to be called shell shock and battle fatigue. While numerous treatments exist for post traumatic stress disorder, a cure remains elusive. But neurofeedback has proven to be especially effective. Practitioners believe that the brain is, essentially, rewiring itself during the treatment, detecting defects in its activity and fixing them to perform more optimally.


Those with PTSD often feel a heightened sense of emotions. They feel numb, angry, scared, agitated, ashamed, overwhelmed, unfocused, depressed and often experience unwanted feelings. All too often they might feel guilt about the haunting event (including “survivor guilt”).


The common symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:


Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

1. Hyper-Arousal

Impaired ability to concentrate

Being easily startled

Insomniac (trouble falling or staying asleep)

Having too much stress all the time.

Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you

Feeling more aware (hypervigilant) and even paranoia

Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger

2. Memory Intrusions

“Reliving” the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again

Repeated upsetting memories of the event

Repeated nightmares of the event

Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event

3. Avoidance Response

Emotional “numbing,” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything

Feeling detached (distancing behaviors)

Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma

Editing specific thoughts, social distancing and withdrawal

Having a lack of interest in normal activities

Showing less of your moods

Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event

Feeling like you have no future


Other symptoms that could occur:



Feeling your heart beat in your chest



There is a clear and understandable brain wave signature that occurs in PTSD patients. Normally when a person closes their eyes there is a burst of Alpha waves in the back of the brain in a place called the visual cortex. If we contemplate this response for a moment, we can see the brain’s wisdom for doing this. It increases the alpha waves when you close your eyes to increase the brain’s capacity for visualization. In other words, it heightens your senses when your eyes are closed People with PTSD, after having been exposed to a traumatic event, however don’t want to remember or recall this traumatic event. Increasing the alpha waves when eyes are closed takes them back to the trauma emotionally, visually and aurally. So when someone suffers from PTSD, they often have an opposite reaction that normally occurs. The brain protects itself in these people by suppressing the alpha response, thereby preventing the possibility of picturing the nightmarish experiences. The victim is protecting themselves from what they don’t want to see. Those with PTSD actually shut off this normal process of increasing alpha waves to prevent them from remembering what they don’t want to remember. In doing, so they also limit their ability to recall happy thoughts as well.


During a neurofeedback assessment, if the alpha waves drop from eyes open to eyes closed, the patient might have been exposed to traumatic stress or might be anticipating a life threatening or severely traumatic event. The remedy is simple. Neurofeedback treatment can be adjusted in these cases to help the patient increase the amount of alpha waves that their brain produces. The training experience, where the patient is prompted as to how to increase their brain’s alpha waves, is emotionally calming. The healing occurs gradually and naturally.


Alpha brain waves help you stay relaxed and will literally melt away all of your stress. When alpha waves are in the right range they have been documented to help improve learning, increase memory and be involved with helping improve social interaction. Neurofeedback machines are able to detect even the smallest amounts of alpha waves in your brain. We have various brain waves (delta, theta, alpha, beta, gamma) that fluctuate in different ranges at various times in different regions of the brain all the time. During a neurofeedback treatment , when your alpha waves fluctuate to an acceptable range, a soft pitched tone will come on. This tone lets you know your alpha just got a little bigger. Little by little, you start to make out where you are going. Soon, you’ve found your way into an increasingly familiar state. After you know how to get there, so you no longer need a machine to help guide you.


Neurofeedback is a process in which sensors are placed on the scalp and devices are used to monitor and provide moment-to-moment information that is fed back to you about your physiological brain activity for purposes of improving brain functioning. Neurofeedback helps you adjust your own brain waves by instantaneously alerting you when your brainwaves are at optimal levels. Like a heart monitor, neurofeedback displays information about your brain waves on a computer screen. This information however, is more than merely being monitored. Neurofeedback goes a bit further in that it will take this information and make it useful by  allowing the brain to make adjustments on the fly – correcting the abnormal disturbances in the process.  At this point your brain does the rest.

Click here to learn more about Neurofeedback.