Neurotherapy: An Effective Treatment For Addiction?

Jun 3, 2013 by

Neurotherapy is an intervention to treating psychological problems by working directly with brainwaves. Addiction is one of several problems that may be treated by neurotherapy, as are anxiety, depression, and attention and learning problems. For this reason, neurotherapy can be very effective when there is another related condition that requires treatment in addition to the addiction. While there is data to support some benefit for neurotherapy in certain conditions, it is still considered an alternative treatment and is not a panacea.

Why Might Neurotherapy Help Treat Addiction?

One brainwave pattern typically seen in people with addictions, as well as the children of alcoholics (even those who do not drink), is too many fast brainwaves and too few slow brainwaves. This creates a lot of “mental chatter” for the person and can cause them to have a hard time quieting their mind. Drinking or drug use can be a way of slowing down the brainwaves and self-calming, which is why so many people with addictions also have problems with anxiety.

How Does Neurotherapy Work?

Neurotherapy uses computer technology to measure brainwaves. This is known as an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Although this process involves applying wires to the scalp, it is important to realize that the wires are simply measuring the electrical charge produced by the brain – they are not putting any electricity into the brain (as in electro-convulsive therapy, or ECT, which is commonly used as a treatment for refractory depression). The process is painless.

The brainwave signals are filtered through a computer program, so that the therapist and the patient can work together on changing specific brainwaves in areas of the brain that are affected. The filtering process allows the slow brainwaves to be separated out from the fast brainwaves.

Why Might Neurotherapy Help Treat Addiction?

One brainwave pattern typically seen in people with addictions, as well as the children of alcoholics (even those who do not drink), is too many fast brainwaves and too few slow brainwaves. This creates a lot of “mental chatter” for the person and can cause them to have a hard time quieting their mind. Drinking or drug use can be a way of slowing down the brainwaves and self-calming, which is why so many people with addictions also have problems with anxiety.

Another pattern often seen in people with addictions is the opposite – too many slow brainwaves, which makes it difficult for the individual to focus and hold their attention. People with attentional problems such as ADHD have this pattern, and they may cope by using stimulant drugs –- prescribed, over-the counter (including coffee), or illicit — to speed up their brainwaves and help them focus. With the help of neurotherapy, they may be able to bring their brainwaves into a more functional range and no longer need drugs to feel calm and focused.

Neurotherapy can be a good choice for people with addictions because it is a drug-free approach. Once the brainwaves have been adjusted to function more effectively, the effects are permanent. People who have been dependent on drugs for years can become drug-free.

It Can’t Be As Simple As Just Fixing My Brainwaves…

Neurotherapy can be used in conjunction with other therapies such as counseling, motivational interviewing , EMDR, art therapy and lifestyle changes. This is important for overcoming addiction, because there are many factors — genetics, brainwave imbalances, stress, social influences, and so on -– that both cause the addiction and keep it going. Each factor needs to be addressed to enable the individual to find new ways of coping that do not involve the addictive behavior or lifestyle.

 

 

Behavioral Health & Family Services is a licensed Substance Abuse Facility. We specialize in treating mental health and addiction disorders. Call 866-943-7779 for your free consultation or visit behaviorfamily.com

 

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