Treating addiction through neuro-feedback mechanism

03-20-2018 Posted in Drug Addiction

Research has long proven that addiction is not an outcome of a weak will power or moral failing. Rather, a chronic medical condition, it occurs due to changes in the brain from consuming certain substances of abuse. Breaking free from opioid addiction takes much more than willpower. Once an addiction is formed, escaping from its vicious hold is not easy. Attempts to stop using it creates intensely unpleasant symptoms that people will do anything to avoid.

Effective addiction treatment consists of a combination of counselling, behavioral therapies and medication, along with 12-step programs. Medications are essentially used to ease a patient’s withdrawal symptoms and thereby prevent a relapse. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding medication-assisted treatment (MAT) which prevent their wide-scale use and availability. Almost all U.S. states are lacking in capacity to fulfill the need for MAT among patients with an opioid use disorder (OUD).

However, here is the good news.

Neuro-feedback therapy for opioid addiction

Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) have been awarded $10,000 in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, to help develop a system for neuro-feedback that is designed to help people rewire their brains to fight off opioid addiction. UDRI software engineer Kelly Cashion, who will lead the program, was also instrumental in writing the winning proposal that saw it get included among five winners that would receive funding from the Ohio Third Frontier.

Neuro-feedback is a type of biofeedback of the brain, used with sensors in combination with a brainwave monitoring system, such as electroencephalography (EEG). The sensors are attached to the scalp by way of a wireless headset that could also be in the form of a more traditional “shower cap” style and allows the wearer to view the brain’s electrical activity on a monitor.

This new therapy is not meant to wholly substitute other on-going therapies, but can be used as a supplemental treatment program with current addiction therapies that include behavioral counseling and MAT which are anyways not always sufficient or effective. It can be an option for those patients who are reluctant about MAT, such as methadone.

UDRI officials have pointed to the success of similar mind-body programs demonstrated in treating nicotine addiction, depression, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions.

Menace of Opioids

Opioids are highly addictive substances that have lethal consequences. Consumption of opioids creates a sense of euphoria due to some brain chemicals being released, creating pathways that become part of that euphoric feeling. These pathways grow stronger while other natural pathways grow weaker. It forges an addiction habit that leads to a compulsive need to use the drugs just to feel normal again, while not using those renders painful withdrawal symptoms.

The United States (U.S.) is in the grip of a frightening opioid overdose epidemic that has spanned two decades, starting 1999, when prescription opioids first became readily available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 people have died from opioid overdose between 1999 and 2016. In 2015 alone, death from opioid overdose reached a record high when more than 33,000 Americans died in that year, which is more than any previous year on record.

Reach out for help

This therapy is designed to help people regain control over their minds and bodies by training patients to learn the method of regulating their brain activity so they can avoid returning to opioids. This will accelerate the path to recovery. With advances in addiction treatment, the success rate is high.

If you or a loved one is afflicted with drug addiction, it is imperative to seek professional help. The 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline assists in accessing the best inpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5607 or chat online with our medical advisers to know more about the outpatient drug abuse treatment centers.