Biofeedback/neurofeedback, in conjunction with conventional treatments for Drug and Alcohol addiction, has proved more efficacious in treating addiction patients as compared to conventional treatment alone.
Neurofeedback, also known as electroencephalography (EEG), is a form of biofeedback therapy, which measures brain wave activity.
A significant enhancement in the recovery rate and a decrease in the dropout rate, for patients suffering from drug addiction, has been seen with neurofeedback when used in conjunction with conventional treatments for drug addiction. Drug rehabilitation programs generally achieve a success rate of 20 to 30 percent in relapse prevention, one to two years following treatment. With neurofeedback therapy, success rates of up to 80 percent, one year post treatment, have been reported.
Neurofeedback training has also shown a decrease in relapse rates in patients suffering from alcoholism, when used with conventional treatments for these patients. Additionally, a decrease in anxiety and depressive symptoms, in patients suffering from alcoholism, is seen when neurofeedback is used. This reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms could be responsible for decreasing relapse in alcohol addiction patients, by bringing about a reduction in stress-related cravings.
Apart from increased success rates and relapse prevention, an improvement in the overall functioning, both cognitive and psychological, can be seen in patients who undergo neurofeedback training. Neurofeeback has been shown to normalize –
- Stress hormones which are increased during abstinence
- Brain mechanisms which underlie substance abuse and addiction
- Mental functioning affected due to prolonged drinking.
Along with normalizing cognitive processes, neurofeedback training helps replace self-defeating patterns of thinking and behavior in patients with self-empowering choices, thereby bringing a holistic improvement in the individual.