How Neurofeedback Therapy Helps to Manage Addiction

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How Neurofeedback Therapy Helps to Manage Addiction
How Neurofeedback Therapy Helps to Manage Addiction
Jan 16, 2021

How Neurofeedback Therapy Helps to Manage Addiction

Neurofeedback, often referred to as electroencephalography (EEG) or biofeedback, is a type of therapy that helps a person manage symptoms associated with addiction and other mental health disorders. Neurofeedback keeps track of brain activity and conditions the brain to reach a state of relaxation. 

The brain adapts to environmental changes and allows us to cope with emotions, the formation of memories, and learning. Some people may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Using substances to self-medicate can lead to addiction, serious health complications, overdose, and death.

How Addiction Changes the Brain

Addiction rewires the brain and causes chemical and physiological changes that make it difficult for a person to quit using drugs or alcohol. The substances affect the brain's neurotransmitter, dopamine, which causes temporary pleasure and euphoria. According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, "Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure but also plays a role in learning and memory — two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it."

Addiction is a complex chronic disease that is preventable, treatable, change biology, and can last a lifetime if left untreated. Tolerance develops to substances and causes a person to seek more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same "high" as they experienced the first time they drank or used. Over time, it becomes progressively more challenging to attain pleasurable effects. This can lead to a person using more substances with a higher potency.

The Impact of Substance Abuse on the Central Nervous System (CNS)

Substance abuse makes an impact on your CNS, which is composed of your brain and spinal cord. These effects can disrupt mental functions, such as decision-making, and physical ones like staying alert, walking, talking, and movement.

The CNS is responsible for receiving information through the senses, thinking, understanding, and reasoning. Alcohol and some drugs and alcohol make nerve cells in the brain slow down, and eventually, high doses can slow down breathing.

Health Risks Caused by Addiction

The brain adapts to and changes with addiction. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain. If drug or alcohol use continues, the changes become more permanent."

Drugs and alcohol make an impact on significant organ function in your body. Using them can put a person at risk of heart disease, liver failure, certain types of cancer, kidney failure, overdose, and early death. Addiction affects the brain's ability to form and store essential memories and can cause irreversible brain damage.

How Neurofeedback Therapy Works

Neurofeedback therapy is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record the electrical activity of the brain. Neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive method used to train the brain to self-regulate without drugs or alcohol. There are two types of neurofeedback therapy, auditory and visual and auditory-only.

With auditory-only neurofeedback training, a patient closes their eyes, enters a deep state of relaxation, and receives auditory feedback. With auditory and visual neurofeedback therapy, a patient sees images on a screen paired with sounds based on their brainwaves. The patient is informed when they are in the ideal state of relaxed attentiveness, and the brain is conditioned to learn how to achieve this state in the future. Each session lasts up to one hour and improves the brain's overall function and performance.

Neurofeedback therapy helps the entire person function more effectively. The nervous system controls everything we do voluntarily and involuntarily, such as feeling, walking, talking, and breathing. Neurofeedback training helps improve sleep, blood pressure, heart rate and regulates hormones in the endocrine system.

Mental Health and Addiction

Those who struggle with addiction can also suffer from an underlying, co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, or PTSD. Some people self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health conditions. The drugs or alcohol can worsen the symptoms of some mental health disorders, which can cause the person to continue drug or alcohol use as a way to escape. For the best outcome in recovery, treatment needs to address any co-occurring neurological or psychological disorders simultaneously as a dual diagnosis.

Getting Treatment

At Achieve Medical Center, we work as a team to provide comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellness services to children, adolescents, and adults in California, Oregon, and Alaska. We offer treatment to individuals based on their own unique needs and circumstances. Our neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive approach that can help a patient manage symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, ADHD, sleep problems, addiction, disordered eating, trauma, and other mental health disorders. 

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction or a mental health disorder, get help today. Using substances to self-medicate can be life-threatening. Make the life-saving decision to get help today. You can break free from addiction and live a fulfilling life in sobriety.

Neurofeedback therapy, sometimes known as biofeedback, is a safe and non-invasive method to treat addiction and mental health disorders. It does not require medication, and each session takes up to 60 minutes. Neurofeedback therapy helps the entire person function more effectively. It can help improve sleep, blood pressure, heart rate, and regulate hormones in the endocrine system. At Achieve Medical, we work as a team to help you identify strategies to manage mental health symptoms and addiction so you can live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life. We deliver a personalized plan tailored to your needs, so you can achieve total wellness that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. Our centers provide comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellness services to children, adolescents, and adults. We offer same-day appointments in person, as well as telemedicine appointments. To learn more about neurofeedback therapy and how it can help you, call Achieve Medical today at (619) 375-3977.