What is Neurofeedback Therapy?
The challenges and traumas that people experience in life can upset the balance of their brainwaves. Since the brain is the “command center” for the body, this brainwave imbalance can affect all aspects of a person’s life. Neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive scientific method that directly works with a person’s brainwaves to restore that balance.
An electroencephalograph, commonly referred to as an EEG, is used to measure the brainwave activity. Computer software then interprets the activity to devise a program for the technician and patient to work on together. This painless process is accomplished through EEG sensors that are placed strategically around the scalp. The idea is to help the patient retrain the brainwaves through computer games that are animated by the brainwaves themselves.
Types of Drug Addiction Treated Using Neurofeedback Therapy
Neurofeedback therapy is used to treat a variety of issues including sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, attention deficit, addiction and stress related conditions. People with addictions also often have other underlying issues, and drug rehab facilities have more recently been using the therapy to aid patients in the recovery process.
Numerous common addictions have been treated by using these methods. These include addictions to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and other substances. It has also been used to treat other dependencies such as gambling addiction, food addiction and sex addiction.
Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy in treating Drug Addiction
The brainwave patterns of substance abusers often show an imbalance between the fast brainwaves and the slow brainwaves. Too many rapid brainwaves may lead to feelings of nervousness and anxiety. On the other hand, excessive slow brainwaves may cause a person to feel scattered or lacking in focus. Either way, this disparity could contribute to an addicted person’s desire to self-medicate.
There are several benefits to using this type of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. It is a safe, drug-free method with little or no side effects. People with sensitive skin occasionally develop some minor skin irritation from the electrodes. Some patients may feel fatigue or dizziness during the therapy, but these effects are usually not long lasting.
Research in neurofeedback therapy has shown many positive benefits for patients including less anxiety and stress, improved job or academic performance and better self-image. It has also helped with modifying destructive behavior and gaining self-control.
The successful adjustment of a person’s brainwaves using this technique is essentially permanent. When used together with other recovery methods such as counseling and lifestyle changes, neurotherapy can help eliminate the need to take drugs or use alcohol.