Having high prevalence and a persistent nature, it becomes clear that depression can be blighting for those struggling with its symptoms (Kessler & Bromet, 2013). According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 300 million people worldwide who are suffering from depression (WHO, 2017). Many options for treatment, such as psychotherapy and medication, have been shown to be effective in reducing depression. However, a recent study by Coben, Stevens, and Middlebrooks (2015) showed that four channel multivariate coherence neurofeedback treatment proved to be more effective in reducing depression compared to alternative methods. The current study aims to show that four channel neurofeedback training is not only effective for the duration of treatment, but continues to maintain positive effects over time.
The original study mentioned consisted of 54 patients across three conditions: psychotherapy, neurofeedback, and a waitlist control group. The patients who did not receive neurofeedback initially were later offered neurofeedback treatment at the conclusion of the original study (crossover design). After completing the crossover study (Study 1), results showed that 15 out of the 18 patients who received NFB had significant changes over time, leading to a decrease in depression by 1 standard deviation, compared to the other conditions which did not show significance (Coben, Stevens, & Middlebrooks, 2015). Our current sample consists of 48 patients involved in the original study who were administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II). In order to show the continued effects of neurofeedback on depression, the current follow-up study will compare the differences in depressive symptoms immediately following the completion of treatment and two years after the treatment has concluded. SPSS software will be used in order to perform an ANOVA for analysis. Results demonstrating the changes in reported symptoms are expected to support our hypothesis that four channel multivariate coherence training will maintain the reduction of depressive symptoms two years after the conclusion of treatment.
The data from the initial crossover study, as well as the current follow-up study, is expected to provide evidence that four channel multivariate coherence neurofeedback treatment can have continuing positive effects for individuals struggling with depression. With the commonality of depression present today, it is important we continue to expand our knowledge and explore the most effective treatment options.