Dopamine and Neurofeedback
Dopamine is a central chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) of the brain. The lack or excess of dopamine has a large effect in various disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, Parkinson’s disease and finally attention deficit disorder.
How does the same substance affect a variety of disorders while their severity differs?
the human brain consists of a million neurons secreting dopamine. The cells are scattered in different regions, and each area is responsible for different functions, including movement, cognitive functions, memory, management skills such as decision making and planning and enables attention and learning.
Dopamine is also secreted when feeling pleasure and success as part of in a positive feedback regulation. This miraculous system enables us to strengthen our desired behavior and progress in achieving our goals. The system works in the neural pathways that create a sense of pleasure, motivation, and concentration. When we have an interest or desire to succeed in the task, we secrete dopamine and the secretion of dopamine increases our motivation and attention and of course the feeling of success.
The reinforcement system operates under the mechanism of positive feedback, dopamine secretion is enhanced in response to success and as a result, we are highly motivated and focused on the task.
The practice of neurofeedback allows the trainer to change his brainwaves frequency to the desired frequency while using his own self-regulation system. Thus, the sense of self-confidence and success becomes stronger for the trainer that is not reliant on the therapist.
The neurofeedback practitioner is wearing a headset which is a simple dry sensor that measures his brain frequency in real time while he is playing a computer game that responds to the sensor (practically it responds to the trainer brain waves). Only when the trainer brainwaves frequency is as expected for attention or relaxation, he will get scoring in the video game he is playing. When the trainer achieves points (meaning he has reached the desired frequency in the brain), he experiences success and the reinforcement system is activated. The excreted dopamine increases attention and the trainer gets motivated to maintain the right brainwaves frequency.
The flexibility of the brain is reflected in its ability to remember the way it changed frequency and by learning to reach the desired frequency even when the computer game is no longer there.