Guide to Neurofeedback Treatment for Addiction
Want to treat addiction using a modern method of retraining your brain? Read on for the complete guide to neurofeedback treatment in addiction recovery.
Fighting an addiction can feel exhausting at times and impossible at other times. However, neurofeedback treatment is a new modern strategy many people are using to treat their addictions.
Did you know over 20 million people struggle with addiction in America? Unfortunately, not every treatment works for every person. In fact, even after going through treatment plans people relapse 40 to 60 percent of the time.
That’s why the neurofeedback treatment was devised. It gives addicts another pathway to overcoming their addiction and starting a new life.
What is Neurofeedback Treatment?
This process was first used as a treatment for people with PTSD, epilepsy, and other mental disorders. However, in recent years it has been shown to help with addiction recovery as well.
When a patient undergoes neurofeedback treatment, white sensors are placed on their forehead. These sensors are part of a machine called Electroencephalography, or EEG for short.
They’re used to monitor the brain’s activity. Then they send that information to a computer, where the patient is able to view it.
How Does it Work?
The point of the process is to help retrain your brain. Many people believe that addiction is all about mind control, but that’s not exactly true.
Effect of Addiction
Addiction has very real physiological symptoms and issues attached to it. People that suffer from addiction can go through harsh withdrawals, such as anger, shaking, anxiety, vomiting and more.
In fact, here is the alcohol withdrawal timeline, and tips to getting through the detox.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, your brain has been trained to respond to certain factors and crave substances. In fact, there are pathways in your brain called synapses.
These work similar to ants. When an ant walks it releases pheromones that can be followed by other ants. If the original ant finds a food source. All of the other ants will walk toward the pheromones released and try to follow the path the ant create.
As more and more ants walk the trail, more pheromones leave their bodies. This creates a stronger scent and a more clear path for the colony to follow. Instead of wandering all over the area the ants learn how to take the most direct path to the food.
Your brain works in the same way.
The very first time you complete an action. a message is sent through your brain. As you complete this same action over and over the brain starts to create a stronger path and a faster reaction to it.
It’s how you get muscle memory and also how addictions are formed. Because your brain has learned to react a certain way to stimulants, it has to relearn the process.
This is where the neurofeedback treatment begins.
The Effect of Neurofeedback Treatment
As the readings from the EEG machine come in, the patients are able to see how their brains are responding to stimulus. Many times stressful situations cause people to relapse.
The treatment helps people train their brains to remain calm, relaxed and rational. in these situations. There are a couple of ways how.
First, by showing the brain activity on a screen it helps the patients to understand what is going on in their brains. They then can become more aware of the nature of their emotions and work to control them.
However, most of the time the brain reacts subconsciously, and the patients might not even realize that changes are going on inside.
Second, it helps the brain create stronger neuro pathways to replace the ones that the addiction held.
Lastly, it helps stabilize the patient’s emotions and feelings. Certain drugs make you optimistic and happy in the moment, but when they leave the body, they can cause depression and feelings of hopelessness. Sometimes these feelings last for quite some time.
Benefits of the Treatment
The treatment helps your body find its equilibrium and get over the addiction’s draining side effects.
While the main benefit of neurofeedback treatment is a stronger addiction recovery. There are many other benefits to the process as well. Some of these include better memory and retention, fewer headaches, improved sleep patterns, and a better mood.
It’s for that reason that the treatment has been used for various other patients, not only addiction recovery ones.
Another benefit to this treatment style is that it’s noninvasive and offers no poor side effects. Unlike medicine that can be easily abused, neurofeedback treatment is relatively safe.
In fact, many times people will substitute their current addiction, whether that’s drugs or alcohol, for their medication. This starts the whole process over again and isn’t healthy.
When partnered with a psychologist, the treatment can help reveal possible triggers for the addiction and how to avoid them. We’ve also outlined some tips for resisting temptations during the holiday season, check it out.
While it’s still a relatively new treatment, the success stories have been piling in. In fact, case studies have shown that relapse rates are much lower with it.
The one downside to neurofeedback treatment is that it’s not a quick solution. However, even for those patients that call it a long-term solution, it’s still a solution that works. And becoming clean from your addiction is worth the time.
Take Control of Your Addiction Today
If you are struggling with addiction it might feel like you’ll never be free, but that’s not true. Every day scientists are getting better at learning how to help fight off addictions in the brain.
Also, there are hundreds of resources easily available, not just on our blog, but all over the nation.
Not every treatment will work for you, but don’t stop trying! Because one of them will work, and being clean is one of the greatest and most motivational feelings in the world.
If you are struggling with addiction reach out to someone for help and learn about what treatment options are available.
Not sure where to start? Contact us! We run many different programs and can help you find the best one for your situation.