Neurofeedback at Landmark
At Landmark Recovery, patients will have the opportunity to participate in Neurofeedback, a program designed to help bring control and comfort back to the emotional mindstate of individuals in recovery.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback (also known as EEG Biofeedback) is the process of gathering valuable health information through monitoring brain wave patterns. The goal is to gradually promote control over the involuntary neurological responses of the brain through working to condition the patient to react in a positive way manner to certain stimuli.
Neurofeedback looks to measures amplitude in specific areas of the brain to see what is being triggered, along with monitoring for any dysregulation or abnormalities in the way brain waves work. Patients can also compare their brains to others of the same gender and age, through what is known as Z-score methods.
Studies show 77% of people who have neurofeedback therapy, along with a 12 step program, have remained abstinent for a year and half or longer.Having neurofeedback therapy can make the process of recovery flow with ease and comfort.” – EEGinfo.com
Neurofeedback helps identify the neural pathways that lead to relapse such as stress, cravings, or reliving traumatic events. Through ongoing therapeutic assistance, patients can gradually learn to understand what leads to relapse and are better equipped to prevent it from happening.
How Neurofeedback is Used to Treat Addiction
Neurofeedback helps treat the physiological condition of addiction by charting the brain signals that lead to relapse, and through continued training, rewiring the brain of an addict to operate in a different manner. By teaching the brain to be calm, focused, and relaxed, people can think more clearly and rationally. Stressful scenarios and negative modes of thinking are usually what lead to relapse, but neurofeedback helps to build a solid foundation for abstinence.
During times when relapse may occur, the brain needs to be able to think calmly and rationally, and not to cave into old methods of usage. Neurofeedback will help to teach your brain to operate in a calm, reasonable, and positive state even during times where you are tempted to relapse.
- Neurofeedback is safe, non-invasive, and has no negative side effects.
- According to multiple studies, integrating Neurofeedback into someone’s treatment for addiction yields higher rates of success and lower rates of relapse than programs that do not incorporate Neurofeedback.
- Neurofeedback clinicians reported that more than 85% of their patients that trained with neurofeedback improved their overall focus, and became more successful at regulating behavior and reducing impulsivity.
- Neurofeedback has also been shown to be useful for a wide range of conditions including depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Neurofeedback uses brainmaps to determine the areas of the brain that are not firing correctly. Once this has been mapped out, the clinician then creates a targeted plan for correcting brain behavior. First you are placed in a comfortable, quiet place, and electrical sensors are attached to your head that will help feed your brain waves into the program. Most sessions typically last 30 minutes and you listen to music played through headphones.
As animals, we are trained to use auditory perception as a primary method of orienting ourselves in our environment. During Neurofeedback, music is played that is connected to your brain waves. When you experience a negative emotion and a specific neural pathway is triggered, the music stops, causing the brain to immediately come to reality. Over these 30 minute sessions, over multiple sessions, the brain is eventually conditioned to stop reverting to the stress response and to come into the present, to treat triggering emotions with calmness and rationality.
Types of Brain Waves
- Delta – The slowest frequency, associated with sleep.
- Theta – Not as slow as Delta, associated with deep meditation
- Alpha – The second fastest brain wave, linked to feeling relaxed
- Beta – The highest frequency, linked to motor activity
So, for example, if someone were full of anxiety, or maybe had PTSD, Neurofeedback could be used to condition the brain to produce slower frequencies, such as theta waves. If a person were depressed, they would be conditioned to have their brain waves produce more high frequencies. The number of sessions varies per person, but specialists generally suggest starting with 2 or more sessions per week, and after 20 sessions judging if the program has been beneficial.
Benefits of Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback is still a growing technology, and as such, has not seen as widespread an adoption as most traditional methods of addiction treatment. However, clinicians have seen promising results in treating a variety of addictions. Research findings have shown that neurofeedback administered between 0.02 and 0.2 Hz, can incur significant reductions in the severity of PTSD symptoms. and overall improvement in cognitive functioning. Another study showed positive correlations relating low frequency neurofeedback with positive effects in cognitive functioning such as reduced arousal and emotional stability in victims of PTSD.