Everybody gets anxious. Treatment is called for if the amount of anxiety is out of proportion to the problem or lasts too long. Many methods for helping people reduce and control their anxiety have been shown to be effective. Behavioral techniques include relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, and biofeedback. Any form of biofeedback that helps people become aware of their physiological responses as they become anxious and that helps people learn to relax is at least as effective as any other behavioral technique.
This therapy is rated as efficacious (level 4 on a scale of 1 – 5 with 5 being the best).
Why biofeedback would help this problem: There are several different underlying problems which cause abnormal levels of anxiety. Biofeedback helps each for different reasons.
a.) Breathing problems which cause anxiety: Half or more of people who habitually breathe too rapidly with shallow breaths are anxious because of the effects of their breathing on their brains’ chemistry. Most of these people are not aware they have incorrect breathing patterns. These incorrect patterns are easily detected using psychophysiological assessments and are corrected using several types of biofeedback related to helping people normalize their breathing patterns. When the breathing is normalized, the anxiety goes away.
b.) When a person experiences greater levels of anxiety or the anxiety lingers far longer than it should, the body’s normal responses to an emergency situation don’t shut down. This can cause the body to wear out while thinking and memory patterns change. The physiological reactions to anxiety are accurately assessed using psychophysiological recording techniques so both the patient and therapist always know when any therapy is helping and how much. Biofeedback treatments show the patient the abnormal physiological response levels. Patients use this knowledge to recognize when they are becoming abnormally anxious (so they learn to identify when is actually causing the anxiety) and to control their anxiety.