Neurofeedback Treatment for Addiction: Teaching the brain to self-regulate

by: Dr. Tamara Roth, PhD

Neurofeedback For Addiction

Why, you might ask, would a client in addiction treatment be willing to sit with electrodes pasted to their head for 30-45 minutes twice a week while a computer beeps and buzzes in the background?

Relief.

Profound relief.

One of the benefits of Neurofeedback for recovering alcoholics and addicts is that it produces the similar effect of their drug of choice (to a lesser degree), without side effects and negative consequences.

What Is Neurofeedback?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. Think: white plastic sensors attached to your head that have wires that are connected to a main computer. Due to the brain’s ability to change and adapt new patterns (called neuroplasticity) the brain is able to create new neural pathways that, with time, become sustainable. In active addiction, the pathways that are created reinforce drug use. In recovery, we are trying to “rewire” these pathways.

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A $15,000 retreat claims it teaches people like Tony Robbins how to control their own brain waves

Austrian psychiatrist Hans Berger – Wikimedia Commons
  • Neurofeedback is a technique that involves placing electrical brain wave sensors on the scalp and using the sensors’ feedback to control a video game or a series of sounds
  • A 7-day retreat uses the technique, claiming it boosts IQ and improves creativity
  • Other neurofeedback providers say their methods can help with everything from mood-boosting to ADHD
  • While science says many of these claims are overstated, but there is one promising area of research

There are three cities around the world where, for $15,000, you can spend a week allegedly exercising your brain.

The cerebral workout plan was created in the 1980s by James Hardt, a physicist and psychologist who claims that a week of his program “expands your awareness more than 20 years of Zen meditation.”

Hardt’s company, called the Biocybernaut Institute, is centered around neurofeedback, a form of therapy that uses information about the brain’s electrical patterns to teach people about how their minds work. The idea is that people can learn to control their brain activity in specific ways — from increasing focus or creativity to decreasing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or even ADHD.

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Functional brain training alleviates chemotherapy-induced peripheral nerve damage in cancer survivors

Neurofeedback shows promise in reducing symptoms of CIPN in cancer survivors

A type of functional brain training known as neurofeedback shows promise in reducing symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, or neuropathy, in cancer survivors, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The pilot study, published in the journal Cancer, is the largest, to date, to determine the benefits of neurofeedback in cancer survivors.

Chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is caused by damage to the nerves that control sensation and movement in arms and legs. CIPN is estimated to affect between 71 and 96 percent of patients one month after chemotherapy treatment, with symptoms including pain, burning, tingling and loss of feeling, explained Sarah Prinsloo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine.

“There is currently only one approved medication to treat CIPN and it has associated muscle aches and nausea,” said Prinsloo, lead investigator of the study. “Neurofeedback has no known negative side effects, can be used in combinations with other treatments and is reasonably cost effective.”

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Memphis doctor performs brain training on PTSD patients

Featuring Dale S. Foster, PhD, QEEGD, BCN Sr. Fellow 2
Licensed Psychologist, Health Service Provider
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Diplomate in QEEG
Board Certified in Neurofeedback, Senior Fellow

Memphis Neurofeedback
758 Walnut Knoll Lane, Suite 101
Cordova, TN 38018
901-624-0100
www.MemphisNeurofeedback.com

New Brain Research Helps Treat List of Conditions

New Brain Research Helps Treat List of Conditions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A powerful and non-invasive process claims it can eliminate and dramatically improve chronic neurological conditions – simply by watching a movie, listening to music or even playing a video game.

It’s called Neurofeedback. Those who have tried it say they are seeing huge improvements in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, insomnia, ADHD and a number of others.

See the full story New Brain Research Helps Treat List of Conditions

Neurofeedback video only

In Defense of Neurofeedback

In response to recent news media outlets which have misrepresented our field,
the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) wishes to set the record straight. February 02, 2017 (updated 02-06-2017)

Neurofeedback (NF), or EEG biofeedback, has been practiced for well over four decades. Hundreds of thousands of individuals and families impacted by various mental health and/or neurological conditions have benefited greatly from this powerful, effective, established, and proven intervention. NF is relatively non-invasive and creates lasting results in stark contrast from the outcomes derived from pharmaceutical treatment for a wide variety of conditions. We estimate over 15,000 clinicians, world-wide are using this technology. The represented professions are inclusive of: psychology, counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, nursing, neurology, pediatrics, rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, naturopathic medicine, speech and language pathology, chiropractic, psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and family medicine.

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Business: Neuropathways to Learning

Neuropathways to Learning
Neuropathways to Learning

Hume learned to operate the neurofeedback equipment and got the results from her son’s brain mapping. Upon returning to Thailand and working with her son, Hume realized the success of neurofeedback. “I saw tremendous progress, and as a result I said, ‘Wow, if this works for my son, it will work for so many others as well.’”

Read the full article here 

Here’s how you can plant feelings in people’s heads, Neuroscientists show

inception

“Planting new emotions in unwitting people’s minds is probably nothing short of a superpower. And scientists have done just that.

Using a relatively new brain-training technique known as neurofeedback, scientists at Brown University were able to make people develop positive or negative feelings about photographs toward which they’d previously felt no strong emotions.

In other words, they induced feelings where there were none ― and without the study participants even becoming aware of it.”

Read the full article on The Huffington Post

EEG Neurofeedback: Application in ADHD and Epilepsy

dogsz

The use of electroencephalogram neurofeedback has been studied in a number of psychiatric disorders, especially for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, many clinicians are not aware of this treatment and the level of evidence supporting its use. In this article, we review the evidence for the efficacy of neurofeedback in several psychiatric disorders and also discuss the specific neurofeedback protocols that have been found effective in the treatment of ADHD, such as slow cortical potential, theta/beta ratio, and sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback.

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People can consciously control mental activity using brain scans

An example of brain activation from the Neurovault database. Red areas are activated by a particular task, blue areas are deactivated.
An example of brain activation from the Neurovault database. Red areas are activated by a particular task, blue areas are deactivated.
Credit: NSF

People who can “see” their brain activity can change it, after just one or two neurofeedback sessions, new research shows.

People in the study were able to quiet activity in the amygdala — an almond-shaped brain region that processes emotions such as fear — after seeing simple visual or auditory cues that corresponded to the activity level there, according to a new study published in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry. The findings reveal the incredible plasticity of the brain, the researchers said.

Read the full article at LiveScience.com