If you have struggled with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or OCD trying to find solutions and knowing when to seek help can be a long and frustrating process. Perhaps more traditional therapies may not have been as successful for you. However, certain mental health disorders benefit from more enhanced treatment methods, like neurofeedback. So, what is Neurofeedback Therapy? This evidence-based treatment can successfully help retrain your brain so that you can experience relief from mental illness symptoms.

Our Florida Neurofeedback Program helps assist in treating neurological damage in the brain without the use of medication. Because this process can help treat substance use disorders, neurofeedback addiction treatment is used by many medical professionals to help treat addiction to drugs and alcohol. Whether a person is new to recovery from their addiction or has tried to become sober before and relapsed, neurofeedback addiction treatment may provide a missing piece of the recovery puzzle.

Neurofeedback Therapy For Addiction
The brain is a complex network of electrical activity. This activity is represented visually by brain waves: alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and theta. Certain common conditions, like ADHD, anxiety, and depression, generally occur when your brave waves aren’t working in concert with each other.

For instance, scientists have learned that depression tends to occur in people whose brains have an imbalance between the activity in the right and left frontal lobes. For individuals with anxiety, poor connectivity between the part of the brain called the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex seems to be the culprit. Neurofeedback helps rebalance or restore the messages your brain sends.

Neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive brain training system that utilizes your brain’s natural neuroplasticity — the ability to re-train and repair itself. Neurofeedback is designed to re-train your brain to recognize counterproductive activity patterns and replace them with more balanced patterns. This is done by sending targeted electrical impulses to the affected parts of your brain. The end result is to return the brain to a state of neural equilibrium and self-regulation.

The goals of neurofeedback therapy are:

  • Reverse unhealthy thought patterns
  • Take control of your thoughts and mind
  • Restore equilibrium in wave patterns

While not necessarily the primary goal of neurofeedback therapy, treatment has other additional benefits, which include:

  • Improved focus
  • Better mental clarity
  • Improved memory
  • Decreased impulsivity
  • Improved moods

How Neurofeedback Works

The origins of what became neurofeedback go back almost one hundred years, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that it was proven to be a way to help self-regulate the brain. It was applied to treat epilepsy and neuroses and help combat stress experienced by Vietnam veterans. Since then, its usage has become more common and is utilized to treat several conditions, including addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a subdivision of biofeedback treatment. Neurofeedback uses technological devices that gather information from a person’s brainwaves. The data is gathered through the use of monitoring devices, electronic sensors, and specialized software that interprets the information transmitted from the brain. Clinicians trained in neurofeedback then interpret the brain maps that were generated, which provides them with the ability to attempt to repair the damage done to the brain. It is a non-invasive procedure, meaning nothing is inserted into the head, and application of it does not require the use of drugs.

Neurofeedback treatment not only treats addiction to drugs and alcohol but also shows an ability to treat conditions including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Strokes
  • Aneurysms
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injury
  • Autism
  • ADHD

What is Brain Mapping?

Brain mapping is a tool that measures brain waves to help treatment providers find areas in the brain that aren’t communicating effectively. Brain mapping technology measures activity between neurons — the parts of our brains that send and receive messages. This activity creates brain waves.

Brain mapping is a non-invasive procedure. It allows your treatment professionals to more accurately diagnose areas in your brain that could benefit from neurofeedback therapy. By pinpointing specific zones for treatment with a brain map, neurofeedback can more precisely treat those areas. The goal of precise treatment is to minimize potential side effects while maximizing the benefit of the treatment.

Neurofeedback Addiction Treatment in Florida

How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Help Treat Mental Health Disorders?

You may have heard of brain mapping and neurofeedback but thought it was for neurological conditions only. What is neurofeedback therapy in terms of treatment for mental health disorders? By using sophisticated qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback practitioners are able to see precisely which areas of the brain need retraining. Using this information therapy is targeted to areas that could benefit from neurofeedback. Here are just a few areas where neurofeedback therapy is helpful:
Neurofeedback Addiction Treatment

What Happens in a Neurofeedback Addiction Treatment Session

An individual with a substance use disorder consistently has cravings to use drugs or alcohol. This compulsion stems from a malfunction in the brain. Neurofeedback addiction treatment involves locating exactly where the structural damage is and attempting to repair it, thus helping reduce cravings for substances.

During the first appointment, an initial assessment of the patient will take place. It will typically involve learning their history with abuse, any treatment they’ve had in the past or are currently receiving, and deciding on goals to achieve. During sessions, a patient who receives neurofeedback treatment may dress however they wish and will sit comfortably in a chair. They remain awake for the entire session and are able to speak and otherwise interact with others.

The practitioner attaches electrodes to the person’s scalp that transmit data to a software program. It records the brain wave activity, allowing the practitioner to see where damage has occurred and formulate a plan to help alleviate it. Stimulus is introduced, such as music, other sounds, or a video game or activity the person will participate in.

The electrode sensors gather data from the person’s brain and display them so the practitioner can read and interpret them. How the person’s brain activity responded to the stimuli can tell a neurofeedback expert a lot.  They can identify the parts of the brain related to addiction that involve underactivity, overactivity, or inactivity. Through guidance from the practitioner, a person can learn to help control their brain, resulting in healthier patterns that reduce the symptoms of addiction.

Common Questions About Neurofeedback

While any questions a person who is interested in neurofeedback addiction treatment has can be directed to the provider, here are some answers to some commonly asked questions:

The electrodes applied to the head are non-invasive and do not leave any punctures or bruising. The ones applied directly to the scalp will not leave any sticky residue. The electrodes are often attached to something similar to a swimmer’s cap that goes on the person’s head, which is simply removed after the session is completed.

A session typically lasts from 30-45 minutes.

Many people report feeling relaxed both during neurofeedback addiction treatment and in the time immediately following their appointments. A person who has received neurofeedback can drive themselves home and resume their normal activities.

Because neurofeedback itself does not involve taking any medications, it will not interfere with meds a person is already taking.

Several sessions are needed to achieve maximum effect, with the provider determining how many are needed and how often to have them. Most people report feeling a positive change after several weeks of sessions.

Neurofeedback Therapy in West Palm Beach, FL

How Quickly Does Neurofeedback Work?

Retraining your brain effectively is not an overnight process. While many patients may start to notice results within the first couple of sessions, it is helpful to remember that neurofeedback therapy is a marathon, not a sprint. Generally speaking, you may notice improved sleep right away or other minor improvements, but that might now always be the case. However, the biggest gains are achieved after 8-12 sessions.

Most patients who have successfully used neurofeedback therapy to treat mental health disorders will achieve long-term relief from the majority of their symptoms. Brain training becomes an ingrained skill that is reinforced every day. However, follow-up treatment may be necessary for you if you have experienced a setback due to a crisis or trauma. Follow-ups may also be necessary for individuals with a brain injury or other degenerative condition.

Take the first step towards healing
with Neuroscience Institute at Ambrosia

Our approach uses active behavioral research coupled with proven and effective evidence-based therapeutic approaches to help our clients find meaningful recovery from mental illness symptoms. Call us today to speak with a caring professional and take the first step toward mental wellness.

Neurofeedback Side Effects

Retraining your brain to increase or decrease certain wave activity may result in temporary side effects during treatment. Side effects tend to be more intense during initial treatment sessions, or if other neurological conditions are present, but lessen over time. These effects include:

  • Feelings of panic
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depersonalization
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Low energy
  • Muscle tension

If you experience side effects during treatment, is important to let your provider know. Treatment can be adjusted to accommodate any issues and make your experience more comfortable.

Neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive treatment that has proven to be remarkably successful in treating many mental health conditions. Even individuals who do not suffer from depression, anxiety, or PTSD may find improved focus, better sleep, and enhanced memory from receiving treatment. However, neurofeedback therapy is not for everyone. For individuals with certain neurological conditions, like epilepsy, neurofeedback may not be a recommended course of treatment.

Neurofeedback Therapy in West Palm Beach, FL

Finding effective treatment for your chronic mental health conditions doesn’t have to leave you feeling hopeless. We also accept Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance for those who qualify. If you have wondered what is neurofeedback therapy and how it can work for you, contact Ambrosia Behavioral Health. Our team of multidisciplinary professionals have been treating complex mental health conditions for years. We are here to help you find healing and help restore you back to health.
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