The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This dysfunction is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
But what if you could learn to change your brain’s responses to the triggers that activate your addiction? BrainPaint® is an evidence-based EEG biofeedback system that activates the brain’s natural ability to form new connections in response to experience. The neurofeedback software incorporates a comprehensive assessment tool, which systematically calculates scientifically proven procedure suggestions and acts like a stethoscope to listen to what is going on in the user’s brain. For issues like addictions and problems related to one’s discipline for or resistance to change, BrainPaint® is a powerful adjunct to other effective healing methods.
Learning to resist addictive cravings
Our brainwave activity is made up of beta, alpha, theta waves and sensory motor rhythm (SMR). Beta waves are associated with problem-solving and concentration; alpha waves, relaxation; theta waves, sleep; and SMR waves link the functions of the body and brain. During neurofeedback, this activity is replicated in brightly-colored hues on a computer screen in accompaniment to short bursts of sounds. The core to the technology is that the brain can be trained to change a person’s behavior, for example with drug and alcohol addiction.
“Neurotherapy, specifically alpha-theta protocol, is a training process that has been scientifically proven to improve the symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction as well as issues developed as the result of dysfunctional family systems, grief or trauma,” notes David Dequa, program director at The Discovery House, a Southern California residential addiction treatment center. “Addiction is a disease of the brain and our clients have found that neurofeedback helps them resist cravings for drugs or alcohol.”
Brain cells communicate with one another, in part, through a constant storm of electrical impulses. During BrainPaint® therapy, their patterns show up on an electroencephalogram, or EEG, as brainwaves with different frequencies. People have problems when their brainwave frequencies aren’t suited for the task at hand or when parts of the brain aren’t communicating adequately with other parts. These issues can be represented on a “brain map,” the initial EEG readings that serve as a guide for neurofeedback treatment. Subsequently, a trained clinician will help a patient learn to slow down or speed up those brain waves, through a process known as operant conditioning. The brain begins by generating fairly random patterns, while the computer software responds with encouragement whenever the activity meets the target.
Before patients are attached to the BrainPaint® machine, they are asked about their energy levels, mood, sleeping habits and factors that create stress in their lives. Sensors are placed on their head to pick up brain signals, which are then amplified. Information coming from the brain’s electrical signals is then displayed on the screen of a computer giving the brain a way to see itself in action. The patient is lulled into a meditative-like state and instructed to keep their concentration on the color spectrum of continuous wavelike motions set against short, yet continual, bursts of sound. Should their focus stray, a pop-up message redirects their attention back to the graphics presentation.
Neurofeedback as a tool for self-regulation
This Neurofeedback works as if it were a mirror for the brain, magnifying areas that are not working as efficiently as they could. Nothing goes into the brain. Neurofeedback only gives feedback to the brain on its states of focus, thoughts and feelings.
Feedback received during a session is information on how each brainwave frequency is performing and how the organ might improve upon that performance, training your brain, not your mind. When your brain changes, your mind will follow. Your brain makes sense of the information being conveyed to it by the software. The brain is an organ that processes substantially more information than your mind could handle. Even though your mind wants to understand and even participate in your neurofeedback session, it is your brain that is being trained. Neurofeedback utilizes your natural instincts of using feedback to learn new developmental skills.
“BrainPaint® neurotherapy does not focus solely on addiction recovery,” adds Dequa. “It can help with underlying issues that may become obstacles to long term sobriety. For example, if an addicted individual has ADD, ADHD, anxiety or frequent panic attacks, it is very difficult for them to sit through an individual, group or 12-step meeting. Helping to heal these underlying issues frees the newly sober to be more present for the drug rehab program.”
Studies have shown that improvements are typically permanent. According to a UCLA study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, almost 80 percent of participants who receive neurofeedback therapy in conjunction with a 12-Step program remain abstinent at 12 months, compared to 44 percent of those who didn’t receive neurofeedback.
The Discovery House, located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, utilizes a variety of treatment programs, such as neurofeedback, that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve. The pet friendly Southern California rehab center offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.
Each client at The Discovery House receives customized care to end their dependence on prescription drugs, heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol in order to live a sober life. To learn more about visit The Discovery House or call (855) 203-7930.
Do you agree that BrainPaint® is a useful tool in achieving and maintaining sobriety? Do you or a loved one have experience with neurofeedback? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter @TDHRehab #Neurofeedback