Treatment centers do their best given the constraints of the current model of addiction and insurance reimbursement. Unfortunately, success rates for the standard, 30-day, addiction treatment program are poor. Many people relapse and go through treatment programs multiple times, and others leave before completing their program. Professionals working in addiction recognize the benefits and weaknesses of their systems, and until the industry changes and insurance companies embrace systems that work better, it is difficult for addiction professionals to make a more significant impact without additional tools.
Neurofeedback is an important new treatment for addiction.
Neurofeedback, combined with addiction treatment, dramatically increases the success rate of treatment.
Let us explain why.
Addiction is a seriously debilitating, mental health disorder. If left unchecked, addiction strips people of their self-respect, their ability to function optimally, their relationships, their reputation, careers, and their soul.
It’s a disease that affects thinking – and causes a person to engage in behavior that is self-destructive and painful. It’s often accompanied by anxiety, depression, and bipolar or other comorbid mental health disorders.
Loved ones often erroneously believe that addicts are weak … that curing addiction is a matter of self-discipline. Addicts report feelings of shame, guilt, remorse, anger, and frustration. For many, it’s a brain function that is very hard to change.
Addiction is physiological, not psychological.
Because addiction is a brain disorder, not a moral issue or a lack of discipline, we work directly with the brain to retrain patterns of dysfunction. At Canyon Vista Clinics, we teach the brain to remain calm, relaxed, and focused. Training helps support more clear thinking. This builds a strong foundation for recovery and relapse prevention. Medications can help temporarily, and short-term, that may be a good thing.
The problem is medications don’t teach you how to cope. They may help with accompanying disorders but do not correct them.
Addicts learn to rely on substances to help them feel calm, or to pay attention, or to manage mood. Medications are just another substance.
How Neurofeedback Helps.
Neurofeedback training helps teach you how to calm down. It helps you connect to the reasonable, rational regions of the brain during stressful times. When people gain control of their emotions, they can start choosing the option to remain clean and sober.
There have been several research studies that show those who use neurofeedback as part of an addiction treatment program show much higher success rates and much lower relapse rates than the same program without neurofeedback. This appears to be true for every age group.
At Canyon Vista Clinics, we offer addicts the option to actively and physically gain control in a way that directly impacts their disease.
We advocate support groups, talk therapy, and behavioral interventions. Adding neurofeedback trains people’s brains to be more calm, to better manage moods and emotions, and allows better sleep. This tremendously reduces the problem of “white knuckling” the recovery. Without addressing these problems effectively, traditional programs produce higher relapse rates.
Brain training is a new approach that can help you to learn to gain self-control by decreasing stress, increasing reasoning, and override irrational thoughts that make abuse so compelling.
Brain training helps overcome the problem. Although the complications with addiction can make training more complex, dealing with the regions of the brain that are malfunctioning and restoring them to more normal neurological patterns helps to correct the underlying physiological manifestation of addiction.
Brain-training is respectful. We know that people suffering with addiction don’t choose this disease. They want to learn new ways of dealing with their disease. With the help of a brain map (a representation of the brain that maps out areas of over and under arousal and connectivity or lack of if throughout the brain), we can map out areas of concern to target for correction.
At Canyon Vista Clinics, we know that the brain learns — after all, it teaches us everything we know and directs our behavior. Addicts have learned maladaptive behaviors driven by faulty physiological determinants. With brain-training new healthful patterns can be learned and strengthened. Brain training provides new options including the ability to recognize triggers that lead to destructive, numbing behaviors.
How does brain training teach the brain?
The brain is a self-regulating feedback loop. When one area of the brain is out of sync, it messes up other areas that kick in to compensate for the dysfunctioning area.
Neurofeedback effectively improves mood, anxiety, impulsivity, and behavior through consistent reinforcement of the state the brain is in when it is calm and focused. This is a normal state for the brain. Through neurofeedback, the brain learns to return to normal regulation and balance.
With neurofeedback, the client is rewarded and made aware when the brain is producing the proper brain waves, reducing malfunctioning. Without reinforcement it would be impossible to know when you were practicing the proper balance which would allow you to improve brain regulation.
When you learn to a catch a ball and are rewarded by catching it, over time catching a ball becomes easier. It is no longer a conscious decision to think through the steps learned to catch a ball. It becomes somewhat automatic, and the more you practice, the better you get. Similarly, once you learn to return to a state of calm and connect to rational and reasonable thought patterns, you won’t forget.
What type of results can I expect from brain training?
Surveys of health professionals using neurofeedback estimate that over 85% of their clients successfully learn to focus, regulate behavior, and decrease impulsivity when they train on a consistent schedule.
Once learning is achieved, we work with clients and their physicians to decrease medications, where applicable, while decreasing the training schedule. Many individuals are able to decrease medications and training altogether, and some are only need a minimal dose of medication and a maintenance training schedule.
We also have several other tools available that complement, and often optimize, the training experience. Depending upon the individual client, these tools may assist by increasing the impact of neurofeedback and, at times, shortening the duration of training. Please contact us for an individual consultation.