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The human brain is a complex organ and plays an integral role in our physical, mental, and emotional health. Mental health disorders can have a variety of causes related to genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices.
As we gain further insight into the complexities of the brain and its functions, the more we understand how mental health disorders can arise. At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we utilize brain mapping in Atlanta, Georgia to assist our team in better identifying the source of symptoms that clients experience.
Brain mapping animation

Brain Waves and Mental Health

Brain waves are essential indicators of our mental health. Irregularities in their patterns often correspond to various psychological issues. Too much activity can lead to anxiety and aggression, while too little is associated with depression or chronic pain. Uneven brain rhythms may be linked to obsessive compulsions, epilepsy attacks, or sleeping disorders like insomnia and nightmares. 

For example, recent discoveries in neuroscience uncovered a connection between an overabundance of gamma waves and schizophrenia. Too much brain activity, caused by the excess of these electrical signals, can lead to mental health issues like delusions and hallucinations as well as poor sleep quality. These factors contribute to triggering symptoms associated with this disorder.

Further, research has found that certain individuals may be genetically predisposed to depression due to an abundance of alpha wave activity in their left frontal lobe. Similarly, those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show a surplus in lower-frequency brain waves. These conditions often improve with neurofeedback therapy. 

Types of Brain Waves

Five types of brain wave patterns relate to various mental states. Our brains naturally cycle through a variety of wave states every day. These range from slow and restful to those associated with focus and alertness. But for some individuals these patterns are out-of-sync, leading to major difficulties in achieving desired mental clarity or relaxation.

These types include:

  • Alpha brain waves are present when someone is mentally and physically relaxed
  • Sensorimotor (SMR) brain waves occur when a person is awake and alert
  • Beta brain waves are the fastest and are used during active thinking
  • Delta brain waves are the slowest and typically occur during sleep
  • Theta brain waves are the next slowest and happen between wakefulness and sleep

What is Brain Mapping?

Brain mapping is a safe assessment process that involves using a diagnostic tool called a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG or QEEG). This non-invasive technique provides insight and clarity into brain functioning. Therefore, it enables us to determine accurate treatment protocols that can improve client well-being. In addition, the information helps provide crucial information on an array of brain-based disorders including anxiety and depression. 

At Southern Live Oak Wellness, our clinicians use brain mapping in Atlanta, Georgia to gain a deeper understanding of mental health disorders. QEEG brain mapping is similar to a physician doing a bacterial culture on someone with an infection to determine which antibiotic would best treat that infection. However, with QEEG it’s for neurological dysregulation rather than bacteria. As such, we’re able to create personalized and effective treatment plans using neurofeedback that improves our client’s quality of life.

Illustration of two head silhouettes with contrasting brain patterns symbolizing brain mapping.

The History of Brain Mapping

Brain mapping is an innovative field of research that combines cognitive psychology and modern imaging techniques to examine how the brain supports mental activities. The practice originated in the late 1800s when Paul Broca made groundbreaking observations on stroke victims with damaged speech centers. He discovered distinct areas within our brains responsible for specific functions. 

As a result, his discoveries led to a revolution in neuroscience. His work inspired further studies into human cognition and behavior through brain scanning technology. This includes positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Advances in brain imaging technologies have revolutionized our understanding of the human mind. By monitoring activity patterns across different areas, researchers are now able to gain new insights into both healthy and disordered thinking processes. Additionally, these discoveries can range from normal cognitive behavior patterns to cases like ADHD, schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.

How Does Brain Mapping Work?

The QEEG procedure involves a cap placed on the individual’s head that contains sensors that read the brain’s electrical output. The process collects data with eyes closed and eyes open. The EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns. The electrodes record the electrical impulses in the brain and send the signals to a computer that processes the results.

The multi-channel EEG data is processed using various advanced algorithms. The software statistically analyzes the digital data. Typically, values are compared with a “normative” database for reference values. Additionally, the software commonly converts the processed EEG into color maps of brain functioning called “brain maps.”

Then, experts interpret and use the QEEG information as a clinical tool to evaluate brain function. Also, the information helps them track changes that occur following interventions such as neurofeedback or medication. As a result, the QEEG helps guide clinicians on the effectiveness of various forms of treatment for mental health disorders.

Is Brain Mapping Safe?

A QEEG brain map is a revolutionary concept for those seeking to gain more insight into the inner workings of their mind. This non-invasive process is entirely safe. It simply involves measuring the electrical activity of the brain on its surface and then inputting this data into a computer for analysis. Although, some may have concerns like wearing a snug cap or having conductivity gel applied. Accordingly, our team has developed strategies to ensure a comfortable and positive experience.

Are There Different Types of QEEG Software?

There are different types of QEEG software and hardware used to measure brain wave activity. All QEEG hardware is approved by the FDA. Clinicians may have their preferences. However, they are all effective at measuring surface brain wave activity. The real difference in a QEEG brain map is the experience of the clinician interpreting the brain map. At Southern Live Oak Wellness, our experts skillfully interpret QEEG brain maps.

Will Brain Mapping Improve Mental Health?

Brain mapping identifies problems in the brain but does not provide solutions. A QEEG test helps improve mental health by showing us where to start with treatments. After someone gets tested, a behavioral health expert can suggest neurofeedback training that helps the brain “learn” to function more effectively. Therefore, with an individual brain map, experts can tailor the suggested brain training to meet the individual’s exact needs. The easy, noninvasive treatments painlessly improve mental health and outlook on life.

When is Brain Mapping Recommended?

Brain mapping has the potential to help a wide range of mental and neurological disorders. This diagnostic tool can help assess emotions, thought patterns, stress, anxiety, impulsivity, and cognitive flexibility, as well as many other issues. A QEEG can show if brain activity is healthy, or if there are areas where there is too much activity or not enough activity. 

First, clients meet with a clinician to determine if brain mapping is appropriate for their individual needs. Then, clients can expect their brain map report to consist of several pages of data that show how different parts of the brain function. The clinician will use the brain map to determine the parts of the brain that are functioning normally or abnormally.

Explore Brain Mapping in Atlanta, Georgia

Brain wave patterns have been associated with a range of mental health conditions. For some people, it’s helpful to undergo QEEG testing for a more complete picture of what is happening in the brain. At Southern Live Oak Wellness we offer a wide range of highly effective mental health services to significantly improve the lives of our clients.

Contact us to learn more about brain mapping and our personalized treatment plans.


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    Southern Live Oak Wellness saved my life. The therapists genuinely care about the clients and helping them get better. Working on yourself is not easy, but the therapists help guide you and make you be able to work through whatever may be going on.

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      Going to SLOW has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. I came for help with my mental state and came out with so much more; life skills, medical advice, mental health counseling and addiction treatment. SLOW is a whole life transformation program and I highly recommend it to anyone I know!

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      When I was a part of this program, I had the most personal growth I’ve had in my entire life. All of the tech staff were willing to talk to me whenever I felt like I needed someone to talk to and the group sessions gave me multiple perspectives I never would’ve thought of from people in similar situations to me.

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      This place has changed my life. For the first time in my life I felt heard and cared about. The clinical staff is amazing. The groups are well structured. You learn a lot of different skills to help you in life this is the best mental health facility to come to.

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