If you have a very specific source of anxiety in your life, biofeedback can even be a treatment in itself, although it is usually used in conjunction with psychotherapy. In biofeedback, machines monitor your heart rate, muscle tension, and other body functions you usually can’t directly see. The readings of the instruments are converted into a form you can directly perceive, such as blips on an oscilloscope screen or beeps in a headphone. By means of this feedback, you learn to control these bodily functions directly. For example, if you get extremely anxious when you have to speak in public, you might use biofeedback to learn to keep yourself relaxed in such situations so you can think straight and function well.

Like many skills, biofeedback works best if you keep it up. Several of my patients have had great success with it, but then laziness sets in, life’s too busy, and soon the learned techniques fall by the wayside. So if you’re going to try it, commit.

 When seeking a biofeedback center approach it with the same active thoughtfulness with which I have encouraged you to approach a new therapist [Finding a therapist, Choosing a therapist, Interviewing and selecting your therapist]. Get answers that make sense to you, know what they are doing and why they do it. The more you are involved in the treatment program, the more likely you are to stick to it after the training is over.

Biofeedback is currently being used to treat Attention Deficit, under the unweildy name of "neuro-bio-feedback". In fact, some research is showing success rates comparable to Ritalin -- the standard and quite useful treatment for attention problems in both children and adults.


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