Addiction and Neurofeedback

Hi everyone! Today’s blog post is a very personal one, above is a video of Founder Selene Kepila and Director of rehabilitations/ Provider Gina Bonelli. Here they talk about their personal experiences with Brain Optimization and what it did for them and the ones they love. Here they speak of trails they overcame and how they were lead to brain optimization. So I will open with this..

We all have our own stories of love and loss, and really everything in between. The question is how does it play a role in the functioning of our brains and our personalities there after. Emotional and physical trauma can impact the way blood flows and information is processed in your brain. Sometimes that means your brain doesn’t receive and process information in a healthy way and becomes unbalanced.

Something I wanted to share with all of you is how “brain optimization” can really help you on a very deep level. Weather you are dealing with trauma from your childhood or even subconscious issues that now show up as anxiety, depression etc. Brain Optimization allows your functionality of dealing with the wading of positive and negative things that life will hand you. And i am sure some of you are wondering what well hey? What is “Brain Optimization”? And how does it even work?

Let us dive into that subject piece by piece. Let’s start with what Brain Optimization is. 

Brain Optimization is based on electroencephalography (EEG), a tool that’s been used in neurology for decades to measure electrical activity in the brain. The brain has no way of knowing if it’s out of alignment. So Neurofeedback or Brain Optimization’s advanced computing technology helps the brain get “unstuck” by creating an Acoustic Brain Mirror  for your brain activity, enabling it to become aware of the imbalance. Neurofeedback is not considered a cure, but rather a method of managing or regulating the workings of the brain so it functions in a healthier manner.  So, how does it work? computerized neurofeedback program that teaches your central nervous system to reorganize and regulate brainwave frequencies. Neurofeedback assesses your brain and provides information about areas of dysfunction that are causing symptoms so that they can be treated directly. Truly this is something everyone should try, nobody’s brain in in complete balance, therefore it is important to manage your brains health by using technologies as such! There will be plenty more videos and posts to come on our our blog about this amazing thing called neurofeedback. 

What does neuroplasticity mean for addiction treatment?

When we develop a habit, the brain creates a path in itself in support of that habit. As we engage in the habit over and over again, the pathway becomes well-worn or stronger. This is similar to lifting a weight. If you lift a weight over and over, the muscle will get stronger.

In many ways, addiction can be explained as a neuroplastic event. The brain gets trained to do a particular behavior—use drugs or alcohol or gambling—eventually to the exclusion of all else. But in treatment, we can retrain the brain, that is, develop a new pathway that supports recovery.

With intensive psychotherapy and other holistic interventions, we strengthen the new “recovery” loop within the brain. The brain then learns to enjoy recovery, those things that give us pleasure in our sober lives—family, work, interpersonal interactions. We retrain the brain and thus change our lives.

How does the brain’s function have a role in relapse?

Essentially, the pleasure centers of the brain are hijacked by the addiction. Eventually, it is only the addictive behavior that brings the addict any sense of joy or at least freedom from pain. This is not only a biochemical process, as the drugs themselves affect the brain’s biochemistry, but also a process of habit.

The addict’s brain becomes accustomed to the addictive act being the source of pleasure—not family, friends, a good meal, or a job well done. We can retrain the brain, and we can rebalance the addict’s biochemistry, But the old neuropathways, the old links between addiction and pleasure, are still there.

This is why we suggest complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol to addicts. It doesn’t take much to jump-start the old habit.

For example, you may not have been to your college campus in 20 years, but within minutes of arrival for a visit, it will become familiar to you—your old haunts, how to get around, etc. Addiction is no different. Recovery doesn’t remove the addictive thought process; it just gives the addict an opportunity to change behaviors.

Neurofeedback treats the brain disorder of addiction by retraining a person’s brain. Teaching the brain how to be calm, focused, and relaxed helps a person think more clearly and rationally. As stressful incidents are a major cause of relapse, neurofeedback training helps build a solid base on which to build recovery. It helps teach the tools one needs to cope over the long term.

Medications may be helpful to begin change in the short-term, but recovery from addiction is a long-term process. Neurofeedback retrains the brain patterns causing dysfunction, giving a person with addiction the ability to succeed past the typical 30-day treatment cycle. In addition, for a person who has relied on a substance to manage daily life, medication may be just another substance.

How Does Neurofeedback Help End Addiction?

During times of stress, a person with addiction needs to be able to remain calm, reasonable, and rational in order to make important choices needed to stay clean and sober.

  • Neurofeedback teaches a person’s brain to operate in a calm, rational state, even in stressful situations.
  • It’s respectful, non-invasive therapy with no side effects.
  • According to a number of research studies, integrating neurofeedback training into one’s treatment program yields higher rates of success and lower rates of relapse than treatment programs without neurofeedback, for all age groups.
  • Neurofeedback clinicians report that more than 85% of their clients who train with neurofeedback improve their ability to focus, regulate behavior, and reduce impulsivity.
  • Since neurofeedback helps a person manage emotions and mood and improve sleep, adding neurofeedback to an addiction treatment program gives people the necessary tools to help them be more in control, achieve success, and avoid relapse.

Advancements in addiction research keep underscoring how drugs hijack the brain. Clinicians are increasingly understanding the need to look into the brains of recovering individuals. When it comes to drug addiction, anyone affected by it sees the symptoms in action. The true source of the problem was invisible throughout much of the history of drug addiction, but not anymore. Brain maps can now show recovering individuals the neurobiological reality of their disease. Neurofeedback sessions can be an effective form of treatment for those recovering individuals who would like to learn how to train their brains back to a state conducive to a drug-free living. 

HOW CAN NEUROFEEDBACK HELP WITH MY ADDICTION:

Alcohol and drugs are psychoactive substances and their effects represent changes in neurological functioning. It is possible to learn to control one’s brain states from within, without drugs and alcohol. In this way, addictions can be overcome without a lifetime of struggle and craving. Neurofeedback (also called EEG biofeedback) trains the brain to modulate its level of activity, to become more or less aroused according to the needs of the individual.

Chemical addiction and sex addiction often involve poor self regulation and impulsivity. In these cases it can be helpful to teach the brain to regulate and become less aroused. It seems that Neurofeedback can improve addictions treatment outcomes and lead to better results than the best mainstream approaches now available.

Treatment often begins with a quantitative EEG (Brain Map) which guides training. One widely used process for over arousal is called the “Ensele protocol”, after the researcher Eugene Peniston who refined and researched it. At Ensele we often utilize this protocol. We have found that many substance and sex addicts are deficient in alpha and theta waves. These types of brainwaves are associated, respectively, with a relaxed and yet alert state. These addicts are cortically hyper-aroused and find it hard to maintain a state of relaxed focus.

Using a substance or obsessing over an image temporarily increases the amount of alpha and theta waves and reduces cortical arousal. This is associated with the addict’s sense of euphoria. However after this temporary increase in alpha and the acting out event takes place increased fast beta comes back. The person is more anxious and tense than before acting out.

There have been several research studies that show those who use Neurofeedback as part of an addiction treatment program, show higher success rates and lower relapse rates than individuals who do not use neurofeedback as a part of their treatment plan. Neurofeedback may help you to feel calmer, overcome trauma, and increase your chances for a full recovery. Because addiction is a brain disorder, not a moral issue or just a lack of discipline, we work directly with the brain to help people self-regulate.

Lets stick together during these times to support ourselves and the ones we love stay healthy not only physically but mentally. It is more important now than ever. 

Spread this message, share this message. ‘

For all of those watching this..This is for you. 

Something beautiful you can take from this post is that we offer this at Ensele, and even through quarantine, we have brain devices that we can send directly to you.

Sending love and light to all of you reading. For more information visit www.ensele.com, or call 1-818-914-6924

Ensele’s highly trained healthcare providers are available at the ready to assist you with any questions regarding mental health and how we can support you.

With Love and Light,

Ensele

| Addiction and Neurofeedback | Ensele September 2021
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