Skip to main content

Depression & Mood Disorders - Quick Facts

  • Depression is globally on the rise in children, adolescents, youth, adults, and elders.
  • Pharmaceutical solutions / sales have increased tenfold.
  • Pharmaceuticals are still the ‘go to’ ignoring environmental and social contributions.

Like anxiety, depression & mood disorders are globally on the rise. Some instances are purely circumstantial e.g., increased loneliness, isolation, loss of connection, and larger meaning. But some are true chemical imbalances. Chicken and egg one might say.

To date, ‘solutions’ have largely been pharmaceutical with lesser interest and value placed on non-chemical and social intervention(s). Fortunately, times are starting to change, and the fields of medicine, psychiatry, and psychology are increasingly becoming aware of the role of functional biology and our ability to train it; embracing non-pharmaceutical modalities.

Our specific assessment method (Swingle ClinicalQ) can provide insight into ‘cause’ and contribution to mood dysregulation. Blue moods that run in families (genetic pre-disposition), situational mood destabilizers (e.g., family strife / pending divorce, etc.) and situational ‘depression’ (e.g., significant loss such as death of a parent, child, or spouse) all have distinct markers on the brain. As too does a now very common form of depression that is a combination of both under and over arousal; a specialty of Dr Mari Swingle which she refers to as agitated depression.


Depression and Mood Disorders

For depression and mood disorders, please book a 5 point ClinicalQ assessment.

About the Condition

Depressive disorders are a group of well-recognized conditions, which are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition – Text Revision (2023). While most people feel in low mood from time to time, others experience severe feelings of sadness, anger, or numbing, that doesn’t shift even with life circumstances being stable.

Recommended Neurofeedback Treatment

There are several types of depressive disorder that improve with Neurofeedback treatment. When low mood is related to emotional trauma or ongoing anxiety, it will typically resolve once these conditions are successfully treated, through alpha and theta frequency band training at the rear of the brain. Other people may be experiencing emotional dysregulation or low mood as a result of an imbalance of beta frequencies (18-25hz) at the right frontal lobe. Rapid improvement can be experienced after a course of Neurofeedback, particularly in combination with a home harmonic treatment to assist with frontal lobe balancing.

Additional Recommended Psychological Services

When depression is related to emotional trauma, sometimes complementary counselling, or psychotherapy such as EMDR can help to resolve the underlying emotional issues. Often, people with depression benefit greatly from lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise and sunlight exposure.

Antidepressant medication is often prescribed, and is managed by the prescribing physician. Your clinician can consult with your physician to ensure the timing of any medication reduction is appropriate, given your progress in therapy. You will need to sign a release of information form to give your consent for your clinician to consult with your physician.

Recommended Reading

Biofeedback for the Brain

Further reading...

Allen, J. B., & Cavendar, J. H. (1996). Biofeedback alters EEG asymmetry. Psychophysiology, 33(suppl), S17, (Abstract).

Baehr, E., & Baehr, R. (1997). The use of brainwave biofeedback as an adjunctive therapeutic treatment for depression: Three case studies. Biofeedback, 25(1), 10–11.

Baehr, E., Miller, E., Rosenfeld, J. P., & Baehr, R. (2004). Changes in frontal brain asymmetry associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder: A single case study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 8(1), 29–42.

Baehr, E., Rosenfeld, J. P., & Baehr, R. (1997). The clinical use of an alpha asymmetry protocol in the neurofeedback treatment of depression: Two case studies. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(3), 10–23.

Baehr, E., Rosenfeld, J. P., & Baehr, R. (2001). Clinical use of an alpha asymmetry neurofeedback protocol in the treatment of mood disorders: Follow-up study one to five years post therapy. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(4), 11–18.

Bech, P., Lindberg, L., Straasø, B., & Larsen, E. R. (2015). A 2-year follow-up study of patients participating in our transcranial pulsating electromagnetic fields augmentation in treatment-resistant depression. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 27(2), 119–125.

Berg, K., Siever, D. (2009). A controlled comparison of audio-visual entrainment for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13(3), 166–175.

Bodurka J. Randomized Clinical Trial of Real-Time fMRI Amygdala Neurofeedback for Major Depressive Disorder: Effects on Symptoms and Autobiographical Memory Recall. Am J Psychiatry. 2017 Aug 1;174(8):748-755. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16060637. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

Bulubas, L., Padberg, F., Bueno, P. V., Duran, F., Busatto, G., Amaro, E., … Brunoni, A. R. (2019). Antidepressant effects of tDCS are associated with prefrontal gray matter volumes at baseline: Evidence from the ELECT-TDCS trial. Brain Stimulation, 12(5), 1197–1204.

Cantor, D.S., Stevens, E. (2009). QEEG correlates of auditory-visual entrainment treatment efficacy of refractory depression. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13(2), 100–108.

Cassano, P. et al. “Review of Transcranial Photobiomodulation for Major Depressive Disorder: Targeting Brain Metabolism, Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Neurogenesis.” Neurophotonics, vol. 3, no. 3, Mar. 2016, p. 031404, doi:10.1117/1.NPh.3.3.031404.

Cheon, E.J., Koo, B.H., Choi, J.H. (2016). The efficacy of neurofeedback in patients with major depressive disorder: an open labeled prospective study. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 41(1), 103-110. doi: 10.1007/s10484-015-9315-8

Grin-Yatsenko, V. A., Othmer, S, Ponomarev, V. A., Evdokimov, S. A., Konoplev, Y. Y., Kroptov, J. D. (2018) Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback in Depression: Three case studies. NeuroRegulation 5(1), 30-42.

Gruzelier, J. H. (2014). Differential effects on mood of 12–15 (SMR) and 15–18 (beta1) Hz neurofeedback. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 93(1), 112–115.

Haesebaert, F., Mondino, M., Saoud, M., Poulet, E., & Brunelin, J. (2014). Efficacy and safety of fronto-temporal transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) in drug-free patients with schizophrenia: A case study. Schizophrenia Research, 159(1), 251–252.

Hammond, D. C. (2005). Neurofeedback with anxiety and affective disorders. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14(1), 105–123

Hammond, D. C. (2001). Neurofeedback treatment of depression with the Roshi. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(2), 45–56.

Hammond, D. C. (2002). Neurofeedback training for anger control. Journal of Neurotherapy, 5(4), 98–103.

Hardman, E., Gruzelier, J., Chessman, K., Jones, C., Liddiard, D., Schleichert, H., & Birbaumer, N. (1997). Frontal interhemispheric asymmetry: Self-regulation and individual differences in humans. Neuroscience Letters, 221, 117–120.

Iseger, T. A., Arns, M., Downar, J., Blumberger, D. M., Daskalakis, Z. J., & Vila-Rodriguez, F. (2020). Cardiovascular differences between sham and active iTBS related to treatment response in MDD. Brain Stimulation, 13(1), 167–174.

Iseger, T. A., van Bueren, N. E. R., Kenemans, J. L., Gevirtz, R., & Arns, M. (2020). A frontal-vagal network theory for Major Depressive Disorder: Implications for optimizing neuromodulation techniques. Brain Stimulation, 13(1), 1–9.

Jenkins, P., & Moore, W. H. (1985).The effects of visual feedback on hemispheric alpha asymmetries and reported processing strategies: A single-subject experimental design. Brain & Cognition, 4(1), 47–58.

Kotchoubey, B., Schleichert, H., Lutzenberger, W., Anokhin, A. P., & Birbaumer, N. (1996). Self-regulation of interhemispheric asymmetry in humans. Neuroscience Letters, 215, 91–94.

Kumano, H., Horie, H., Shidara, T., Kuboki, T. et al. (1996). Treatment of a depressive disorder patient with EEG-driven photic stimulation. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 21(4), 323–334.

Moffa, A., et al. “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Acute Major Depressive Episodes: An Updated Meta-Analysis of Individual Patient Data.” Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation, vol. 12, no. 2, Mar. 2019, p. 479, doi:10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.562.

Putman, J. A., (2002). EEG biofeedback on a female stroke patient with depression: A case study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 5(3), 27–38.

Raymond, J., Varney, C., Parkinson, L. A., & Gruzelier, J. H. (2005). The effects of alpha/theta neurofeedback on personality and mood. Cognitive Brain Research, 23, 287–292.

Ribeiro, R., Penteado, S. P., & Cordeiro, Q. (2017). Designing a Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) device and its clinical certification through a randomized double-blind controlled trial in depressive patients. Brain Stimulation, 10, 351.

Rosenfeld, J. P. (2000). An EEG biofeedback protocol for affective disorders. Clinical Electroencephalography, 31(1), 7–12.

Rosenfeld, J. P. (1997). EEG biofeedback of frontal alpha asymmetry in affective disorders. Biofeedback, 25(1), 8–25.

Rosenfeld, J. P., Baehr, E., Baehr, R., Gotlib, I. H., & Ranganath, C. (1996). Preliminary evidence that daily changes in frontal alpha asymmetry correlate with changes in affect in therapy sessions. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 23, 137–141.

Rosenfeld, J. P., Cha, G., Blair, T., & Gotlib, I. (1995). Operant biofeedback control of left-right frontal alpha power differences. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 20, 241–258.

Sampaio-Junior, Bernardo, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation as an Add-on Treatment for Bipolar Depression: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Psychiatry, vol. 75, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 158–66, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4040.

Saxby, E., & Peniston, E. G. (1995). Alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training: an effective treatment for male and female alcoholics with depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51, 685–693.

Schneider, F., Heimann, H., Mattes, R., Lutzenberger, W., & Birbaumer, N. (1992). Self-regulation of slow cortical potentials in psychiatric patients: Depression. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 17, 203–214.

Tadini, L., El-Nazer, R., Brunoni, A. R., Williams, J., Carvas, M., Boggio, P., … Fregni, F. (2011). Cognitive, mood, and electroencephalographic effects of noninvasive cortical stimulation with weak electrical currents. The Journal of ECT, 27(2), 134–140.

Tanaka, Y., Akiyoshi, J., Kawahara, Y., Ishitobi, Y., Hatano, K., Hoaki, N., … Fujikura, Y. (2011). Infrared radiation has potential antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in animal model of depression and anxiety. Brain Stimulation, 4(2), 71–76.

Tsai, H., Peper, E. Lin, I. (2016). EEG patterns under positive/negative body postures and emotion recall tasks. NeuroRegulation 3(1), 23-27.

Uhlmann, C., & Froscher, W. (2001). Biofeedback treatment in patients with refractory epilepsy: Changes in depression and control orientation. Seizure, 10, 34–38.

van Belkum, S. M., et al. “Treatment of Depression with Low-Strength Transcranial Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields: A Mechanistic Point of View.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 71, Nov. 2016, pp. 137–43, doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2016.07.006.

Walker, J. E., Lawson, R., & Kozlowski, G. (2007). Current status of QEEG and neurofeedback in the treatment of depression. Chapter in J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of Neurofeedback. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, 341–351.

Walker, J., (2013). QEEG-guided neurofeedback for anger/anger control disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy

Wang, S.-Y., Lin, I.-M., Peper, E., Chen, Y.-T., Yeh, Y.-C., …. Chu, C.-C. (2016). The efficacy of neurofeedback among patients with major depressive disorder. Preliminary study. NeuroRegulation, 3(3), 127-134.