Eating disorders are serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Some people with anorexia severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. Bulimia nervosa is a disorder categorized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food followed by a behavior that compensates for this overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors.
While many people recognize anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa as eating disorders, binge-eating is not usually associated with mental illness. However, binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. People with binge-eating disorder lose control over their eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese.
Eating disorders are conditions of disordered eating that result from a complex interaction of a multitude of factors including internal mechanisms (homeostatic, cognitive, and emotional) and external influences (environmental cues, social context) on food intake. Neurofeedback has been proven to be an effective treatment for eating disorders. It does this by improving the brain’s ability to respond optimally to internal and external stimuli, such as the ability to recognize hunger or satiation.
Recently, studies have shown that a non-invasive neuromodulation technique, neurofeedback, can induce behavioural changes by targeting specific cortical brain regions. In a recent study, findings suggest that Infraslow Neurofeedback can suppress food craving and improve a sense of well-being in overweight or obese individuals who show signs of food addiction. Click here (link to the article) to read the double-blind placebo-controlled study.
We take a individualized approach to treating eating disorders with neurofeedback. Often, clients come to us after trying psychotherapy and/or attending in-patient facilities for eating disorder issues. They may feel out of control and have lost hope in recovery. At NFSNY, we work with each individual to develop a treatment plan that is customized to them. This may include Infraslow or sLORETA Neurofeedback for some; psychotherapy and neuromodulation for others; or all of the above plus dietary support and eating disorder support groups.
With Infraslow and sLORETA Neurofeedback brain function is normalized and the nervous system is regulated. As this happens, the person receiving neurofeedback training feels less stress and anxiety. This major system change has a positive cascading effect on emotions and thoughts. The dysregulation that drives eating disorders and over eating is normalized.
In a recent randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (link to the article), researchers measured the impact of Infraslow Neurofeedback on craving and sense of well-being in obese women. The results were incredible. In just ten sessions, these women had an increased sense of well-being and decrease in food cravings. While this research may be the first of its kind to study Infraslow Neurofeedback on food cravings, we consistently see this result in our clients.
I love this practice, it has been extremely helpful in many ways. I have been going through so many challenges in my life and i have been in and out of different therapy. With everything i have been through in my life i believe that Mark Smith and Neurofeedback have been the only things that have truly worked. Mark is a very funny, lovable enthusiastic person with an outstanding personality. Anyone would be lucky to work with him and his practice.
I have known Mark Smith as a clinician and instructor for fifteen years. He is open, candid, and professionally dynamic. An intensely knowledgeable practitioner, he has managed to develop a unique form of treatment and neurofeedback training that has been shown to achieve splendid results. He is intellectually honest and persistently refines his knowledge and techniques. His willingness to work with clients with complicated and chronic problems that other professionals have been unable to help is a testament to his dedication, determination, and compassion.
Neurofeedback has been a life-changing journey for me. I’ve had sleep problems since I was a kid, and for the first time in two decades, they finally feel manageable. Additionally, it’s reduced my overall anxiety to a staggering degree, and I’ve felt my overall alertness and creativity go up. Grateful for Mark, Noel, and Leila’s support.
I have only been performing ISF training for a few months, but I can say it is my personal and clinical opinion that this is probably the most powerful intervention ever known. With ISF, I have been working with people who thought they were beyond hope. They are getting significantly better, and finally getting back into the life they deserve. Mark Smith used the word “glücklich” in the ISF workshop, meaning that feeling of total euphoria, peace and happiness that sometimes comes upon someone during the training. I have not had this happen during my own ISF training, however I have lived this feeling in a very clinical way for the last few months because I am helping people in ways that I never dreamt possible. Each day I witness miracles. I have seen people that have been so depressed that they were frequently admitted to the hospital for suicidality. Now they're happy and going back to work or school. Clients with balance problems and mobility issues are walking again. A couple of my clients had asthma that interfered with their lives and sports performance, and now the asthma is gone. Other clients have had horrible gastric intestinal issues to the point where their lives revolved around accessing the bathroom or taking medications just to have normal bodily functions. These people have minimal gastric intestinal issues now. Two of my young clients have had horrific development trauma and are now playing and dancing like other children do. I spent thirteen years working in an inpatient psychiatric unit and saw some of the most dysregulated brains imaginable. Now I have some of these people in my private practice and they are getting better. I would not believe any of this unless I would have seen it on first-hand basis. It just doesn’t seem possible. On a personal note, my daughter had three concussions a few years ago. She spent a couple of years in bed and thought her life was beyond hope, then we discovered neurofeedback. She has had many sessions of surface neurofeedback training (both one channel and four channel Z score) and got her life back, but her gastric intestinal issues, temperature regulation, asthma, and sleep issues still lingered. Since she has been optimized through ISF, she is sleeping well, does not have asthma, and is eating foods that she was never able to eat before. Her GI functioning is fairly normal. I don't know that I can actually find the right words to express my feelings about ISF. Each day I experience “glücklich” because I witness miracles happening in the lives of others. I am very blessed to be providing this amazing treatment. Thank you Mark and all the others who have made ISF possible. We are changing the world, one client at a time. Rhonda Mateer Ross, Brain Advances BCN, LCSW, MED
In my opinion, Mark Smith and his staff should be the first call for treatment of ADD, ADHD, ODD, depression, anxiety, trauma and migraines. He is kind and patient, not to mention very well trained and overall a great clinician. I have used Mark as a resource several times in my own practice. If you are in or near the city and have any interest or questions regarding neurofeedback, I would highly recommend reaching out to Mark before you go anywhere else.