Everyone experiences highs and lows in their moods over time, but if you're one of the 5.7 million people in the United States with bipolar disorder, the problem can be magnified.

There are two main types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I disorder causes extreme mania and/or depression, while bipolar II disorder causes milder shifts from hypomania to depression. For some people with either of these diagnoses, Bipolar Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback therapy may be a useful tool to help manage the symptoms.

Using EEG for Bipolar Diagnosis

EEG works by attaching sensors to the scalp that can measure your brain's activity and record changes in frequency that may indicate a seizure disorder or other neurological problem. By getting a clear picture of how your brain functions, your doctor can determine if you are experiencing seizures or other issues that could be causing or worsening your symptoms. In some cases, video EEG is used to record brain events so that your doctor can make an accurate bipolar diagnosis.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Bipolar Treatment

While this brain imaging technique has been in use in a diagnostic capacity since the 1920s, in recent years doctors have been exploring how to use it to treat bipolar disorder and other neurological and psychological conditions.

Neurofeedback therapy (sometimes called neurofeedback training) is the common name for using EEG technology to measure the brain frequency and "reward" it. This trains the brain waves to stay in a constant state to prevent extreme shifts. Over time, this may enable patients to self-regulate their brain waves to keep their mood more stable.

What the Research Says About Neurofeedback Therapy

Current medical literature contains a growing number of case studies illustrating the effectiveness of using EEG or neurofeedback therapy as a bipolar disorder treatment. However, not enough large-scale research studies have been done on the long-term benefits of EEG/neurofeedback training for bipolar disorder, so it's still a relatively new approach that needs more studying to determine the full effects and recommended best uses.

The Promise of Neurofeedback Therapy

If you believe you might benefit from using EGG it's worth talking to your doctor and asking for a referral to a neurologist or training professional who can decide if you're a good candidate for this method. It can often be used in conjunction with your medications and other treatment approaches, so you can try it as a complement to these efforts.

Debra Warner, PsyD reviewed this article.


"EEGs and Epilepsy. When Seizures Mimic Psychiatric Illness." The Journal of Family Practice 1 (9) (Sept. 2002). Web. 27 Jan. 2013.


"The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America." National Institute of Mental Health. N.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.


"What is Bipolar Disorder?" National Institute of Mental Health. N.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.