HEG works to end depression

Depression affects how a person thinks and behaves, and can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems.

by Stephanie Reese, Ph.D. — 

Depression is one of the most common health conditions in the world. Contrary to popular thinking, people experiencing depression are incapable of just “pulling themselves together.” Depression is a medical illness involving both mind and body. It affects how a person thinks and behaves, and can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems.

When depression is combined with anxiety — a constant feeling of agitation, where nothing ever settles down and the nerves are always on edge — it is even more difficult to deal with, because there is never a time of quiet. For those who experience anxiety, having to perform at work, go shopping, cook breakfast, read the newspaper — almost any daily task or endeavor can be overwhelming.

Standard treatment used to rely on cognitive/behavioral therapy — as in “let us sit on the couch and talk.” With the rise of HMOs, however, standard treatment now comes from the prescription pad — mind-changing pharmaceuticals. Depression is viewed as a chronic illness that requires long-term drug intervention, much like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Drugs can indeed calm the anxiety and decrease overall symptoms by as much as 50 percent, but anti-depressants can take time to work and may make people feel brain fogged. For some people they seem to eventually stop working altogether.

If you are especially low on serotonin — the hormone that is a master neurotransmitter — the drugs may not work much at all. (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac, Lexapro and Celexa actually deplete the cells of all serotonin trying to flood the body.) When people try to come off these medications, they need to work through multiple issues because of the depleted state of their neurotransmitters.

Depression can be caused by many things; sometimes there is a spiritual basis, but most often there is an organic cause. You may have poor neural function, meaning that your brain does not work efficiently or properly.

Your neurotransmitters could be misfiring because of low levels of serotonin and dopamine — which is like your brain running on two cylinders instead of eight. Even if you took serotonin, your body would not know what to do with it. For some people, food allergies trigger the blues. For others, a body burden of heavy metals inhibits neural functions to the point where nothing works and they feel depressed.

Other physiologic factors implicated in depression include low levels of vitamin D, head injury, vitamin deficiency, fatty acid deficiency and hormonal imbalance.

When we look at depression from the neck up, we often see impaired blood flow. Blood brings oxygen and glucose (energy) to all parts of the brain. The less blood flow you have, the less processing power you have.

HEG feedback is a simple way to increase blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain. This is the area responsible for executive functions like paying attention to and remembering details, organizing, strategizing and planning. HEG feedback is combined with the use of special sounds and pictures to exercise the brain on different levels. After about 20 HEG sessions, a person achieves permanent gains in brain function. HEG is proving to bring results more often and faster than the older style of qEEG feedback training.


Stephanie Reese, Ph.D., is co-founder of BrainAdvantage, which uses effective and scientifically based technologies to enhance total brain performance. She practices at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine. 480-240-2600 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 1, February/March 2010.

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