…in the present experimental study we examined the effectiveness of neurofeedback in comparison with MMT/BMT (Methadone or Buprenorphine maintenance treatment} in two groups of opiate dependence patients, with a pre versus post treatment evaluation. This study focused on general psychological health and opiate craving in patients. Neurofeedback was shown to decrease the craving to use substance and improve general mental health in opiate dependence patients…
…Our results, combined with those of others, suggest that neurofeedback training over a long period may be more effective than pharmacotherapy alone in treating substance use and in promoting mental health. Although pharmacotherapy can lead to some improvements in patients, side effects, instability, and the high risk of relapse, are some of the main limitations of using pharmacotherapy alone (Fagan, 1994; Gossop et al,. 2002). Neurofeedback attempts to address the fundamental operational functions of the brain and acts as a mechanism for the brain to self- regulate. Its goal is to correct irregular brain functions and consequently improve psychological abnormalities. Furthermore research confirms the stability of neurofeedback effects and its prevention of negative side effects (Hammond, 2005).
Dehghani-Arani, F, Rostami, R., & Nadali, H. (2013), Neurofeedback Training for Opiate
Addiction: Improvement of Mental Health and Craving in Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback,
June; 38(2): 133-141. Published online 2013 Apr 20. doi: 10.1007/s10484-013-9218-5
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Recovery
Addiction (alcoholism and drug addiction) is the number one brain- related illness on the planet. Difficult to treat, over 70% of people suffering from addiction will relapse within one year of their participation in recovery programs. The first significant study using neurofeedback training to treat alcoholism was conducted by Peniston and Kulkosky, and resulted in a dramatic reversal of this figure. Eighty percent of the participants achieved abstinence, and maintained it at check- up three years later. Subsequent studies investigating this approach have had similar success rates with alcohol as well as other substance addictions.
Because of the many factors that contribute to addiction, neurofeedback training is not a stand-alone approach. The client must be in a recovery program, either in-patient or out patient, or under the guidance of recovery experts. Research demonstrates that the addition of neurofeedback training to their program may be critical to recovery.
How does Neurofeedback help treat Addiction?
Neurofeedback is a drug-free approach for people struggling with addiction. Brainwaves are brought into a more functional range and balanced, allowing a person in recovery to feel more calm and focused. Once the brainwave pattern has been adjusted to operate more effectively, the effects can be permanent. People who have been dependent on alcohol and drugs can become drug-free.
Brainwave patterns can indicate a predisposition toward addiction
Research has found that those with substance addiction and alcohol dependence problems often have underlying brainwave abnormalities. Often hereditary, these patterns can result in an over aroused brain, exhibiting a surplus of fast brainwaves; or an under aroused brain, with too many slow brainwaves. Drinking or drug use can be a way to slow down or speed up unbalanced brainwaves in an attempt to self-regulate and self medicate.
A person with an over aroused brain will seek relief from an experience of unrelenting agitation or anxiety through alcohol because it helps the brain to produce slower brain waves. While providing temporary relief, over time, excessive use can make it harder for the brain to produce the appropriate brainwaves, reinforcing the destructive cycle of addiction.
A similar pattern results from under arousal. Too much slow brain wave activity makes it difficult for the individual to focus and maintain their attention. People with attention problems such as ADHD have this pattern, and they may try to cope by using stimulant drugs, either prescribed, over-the-counter (including coffee), or illicit — to speed up their brainwaves and help them focus.
Neurofeedback training seeks to regulate and balance the brain so that recovery is supported by relief from anxiety, stress, and depression associated with these imbalances.