"Critics of EEG neurofeedback hold this treatment to more rigid standards than many of the drug treatments," David F. Velkoff, M.D., medical director of the Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine in Los Angeles, who has treated over 1,000 patients with neurotherapy, told the press. "Yet unlike drugs, neurofeedback is benign." According to Frank H. Duffy, M.D., associate editor for Clinical Electroencephalography, any pharmaceutical drug that had as wide a range of effectiveness as neurofeedback would be universally accepted and widely used (Duffy, 2000).
Although neurofeedback remains an investigational therapy (Baydala and Wikman, 2001), the growing number of case studies on this therapy are compelling enough to warrant controlled clinical trials with adequate sample sizes that can generate replicable data. "Alternative research designs involving sham neurofeedback are already in use as well as comparative investigations of neurofeedback with both conventional treatments and with combined treatments consisting of neurofeedback and psychostimulants," according to Lubar. "The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback [AAPB] is currently developing application standards for ethical controlled studies of neurofeedback that simultaneously protect patients and the integrity of research investigations."
In summary, preliminary evidence suggests that psychopharmacological and electrophysiological approaches to the treatment of mood and behavioral disorders are not intrinsically contradictory. Neurofeedback is perhaps best viewed not as an alternative to conventional psychopharmacological agents, but rather as one component of a multimodal approach. When used as an adjunctive treatment in combination with standard medication, neurofeedback may improve certain clinical outcomes in some psychiatric patients.