Recovery programs for substance abuse make good use of modern technology. Case in point is the neurofeedback therapy program at Phoenix Rising Recovery in Palm Springs. This non-invasive treatment is currently in use for clients undergoing care for anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in general clinical practice. At Phoenix Rising, therapists use this modality as part of our Palm Springs rehab center experience for our residents.
We here at Phoenix Rising use neurofeedback therapy because it’s a safer option than other treatments available. There are virtually no neurofeedback side effects, and reports indicate only mild ones if so.
We strongly believe that every treatment plan at Phoenix Rising should be comprehensive and personalized. Neurofeedback therapy for addiction adds an additional tool that individuals at Phoenix Rising may use to help them achieve recovery.
Understanding Neurofeedback Therapy
Therapists use neurofeedback therapy alongside addiction counseling services. Neurofeedback therapy pinpoints structural injuries to the brain. In particular, neurofeedback therapy focuses on brain wave data to highlight areas that require targeted stimulation. As you work with a specialist to collect the information, you gradually assist with the preparation of a brain map.
Participating in the neurofeedback therapy program is easy. You meet with the therapist in a comfortable setting and begin the treatment. This often involves attaching electrodes to the scalp, which is painless.
The electrodes connect to a machine that collects the data. In addition, it provides a visual output that the expert then evaluates. Throughout the session, you receive targeted brain stimulation. There are different ways of doing so.
For example, you may receive a set of pages to read. In some cases, you interact with a video game. There are no right or wrong answers in neurofeedback therapy. It’s all about how your brain analyzes and processes the data it receives.
Neurofeedback Side Effects
Numerous studies indicate that neurofeedback therapy is a safe alternative to treatment that has potentially dangerous side effects. With minimal neurofeedback side effects, it’s a worthy competitor of other forms of therapy that exist within the addiction treatment spectrum. A part of why there are few serious neurofeedback side effects is because the procedure is non-invasive.
Non-invasive treatment is when a medical professional doesn’t use any instruments that may cut or enter parts of the body. With this, individuals who use neurofeedback therapy will not ingest any medications that could alter bodily and brain hormones for the worse. That said, each person is different when it comes to neurofeedback side effects.
One systematic review of content related to the safety and efficacy of neurofeedback side effects found that there were no serious consequences. This review collected 17 reputable studies in relation to fatigue and cognitive impairments in cancer patients. Out of the four studies that explicitly reported side effects, none of these side effects were life-threatening in any capacity.
One of the studies within this collection monitored neurofeedback side effects after each session. This particular study found that 52.5% of the study’s participants reported at least one side effect. However, they weren’t serious and so therapy continued for each patient.
In another study, if the neurofeedback therapy worsened a patient’s condition. The medical professionals in this study reasoned it was because of overtreatment and so they shortened the session length.
Common neurofeedback therapy side effects noted in the collection of studies include:
- sleep problems
- muscle spasms
- tingling sensation
- physical pain associated with previous injuries
Fatigue and restlessness were indicators of overtreatment in one study. As for all the other side effects, one study by Schoenberger et al observed that some of the side effects listed above subsided after five to seven days.
Other Neurofeedback Therapy Side Effect Factors to Consider
There aren’t any life-threatening side effects of neurofeedback therapy, but it’s important to keep in mind that different diagnoses require different types of frequencies. Some of the frequencies may include gamma waves and beta waves. A person undergoing neurofeedback therapy may have more side effects based on the frequency.
For clients at an addiction treatment center with more than one diagnosis, neurofeedback therapy may cause adverse effects. When an individual has a substance use disorder along with a mental illness, it’s classified as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Depression and anxiety are common occurrences among those suffering from a substance use disorder. Neurofeedback therapy could worsen the symptoms of both of these mental illnesses in some cases.
Even though neurofeedback therapy could worsen some symptoms of mental illnesses, the same can be said about other treatments for anxiety and depression. For instance, Zoloft is a common serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that treats both anxiety and depression. However, some of the side effects include hallucinations and even seizures.
When comparing medications for mental illnesses versus neurofeedback therapy, there is no question as to what treatment is worth trying first. Additionally, medications that may help a dual diagnosis can negatively interact with other prescription drugs.
The Best Way to Avoid Neurofeedback Therapy Side Effects
In order to avoid any of the side effects of neurofeedback therapy, it’s best to seek out a reputable facility. The Journal of Neurotherapy found that there is a growing number of unlicensed neurofeedback therapists who don’t understand how to properly treat patients. They lack the medical background and experience it takes to decide what frequencies would be best suited to treat a patient with and they don’t know how long a session might last.
Thus, this is the number one reason why individuals experience side effects during this form of therapy. Fortunately, Phoenix Rising Recovery has licensed medical professionals who specialize in neurofeedback therapy. We always want our clients to have the most comfortable, effective treatment to expedite their respective recovery journeys.
Overcoming Chemical Dependency through Neurofeedback Therapy
There’s little doubt that drug addiction is a physiological and psychological illness. Therefore, it makes sense to counteract the condition on both planes. Neurofeedback therapy helps you understand which part of the brain requires targeted stimulation for proper functioning.
This could be as simple as retraining your frontal lobe to function better for a higher level of concentration. In the process, you boost your ability to focus on the other rehab modalities. Similarly, neurofeedback therapy can help you enhance your productivity, which can help eliminate boredom (a common trigger for substance abuse).
Most importantly, a neurofeedback therapy program is an excellent addition to any set of treatments. These options could include:
- Biofeedback as a way to augment neurofeedback therapy on a physiological level
- Trauma informed care, which encourages you to overcome triggering situations from the past
- Cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses your attention on negative thought patterns Psychotherapy and group therapy as opportunities to deal with specific situations you want to develop coping skills for
- Recreational program participation to work on physical health and stamina
Combining Multiple Treatments to Achieve Lifelong Sobriety
The problem with chemical dependency is the potential to relapse. However, you can better your odds of achieving a sober lifestyle by participating in various programs that emphasize healing. The neurofeedback therapy program at Phoenix Rising is one of them. Biofeedback is another choice.
However, it’s essential to continue the momentum of healing even after program graduation. Almost all program participants choose to enter a support group. Doing so gives you the opportunity to practice accountability. Most importantly, it prevents social isolation, loneliness, and boredom, which can be relapse triggers.
Phoenix Rising offers alumni events as part of its aftercare program. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to these. Local community groups also provide resources that help individuals protect their sobriety.
Types of Programs
There are two categories of treatment programs available at most addiction treatment facilities. They are inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Each offers unique benefits depending on the patient. Either can include neurofeedback therapy as a part of a personalized plan depending on the addiction treatment facility.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
Outpatient treatment is when an individual at an addiction treatment center doesn’t live at the facility. They will dedicate time each week to addiction treatment but will be able to go home at the end of the day. There are three levels of outpatient programs:
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) – Requires the most amount of time
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) – Requires less of a time commitment than PHPs but more than OPs
- General outpatient programs (OPs) – Requires only a few hours a week of treatment
Those with a severe addiction should only consider PHPs or IOPs as viable options. Standard outpatient programs are appropriate for those who have completed a more rigorous form of treatment prior.
Outpatient programs are suited for those who have external commitments outside of addiction treatment. For instance, many mothers may need to take care of their children and don’t have the ability to uproot where they live. Those who don’t face a similar issue should consider an inpatient program.
Inpatient Treatment Programs
Inpatient treatment requires addiction treatment patients to stay at their rehab facility during treatment. This is especially beneficial for those suffering from severe substance use disorders.
There are two main forms of inpatient programs offered at most addiction recovery facilities.
A standard inpatient program is arguably the most intense form of addiction treatment. Patients in this program will adhere to strict schedules with little free time. Alternatively, a residential inpatient program still requires patients to live at the facility but is less strict overall.
Don’t Wait to Get Neurofeedback Therapy for Addiction
It’s tempting to adopt a wait-and-see attitude when dealing with chemical dependency. You hope that it’ll somehow get better on its own. However, addiction doesn’t do that. Rather, addiction is a disease that progressively worsens.
You don’t have to continue on this self-destructive trajectory. Find out if neurofeedback therapy at Phoenix Rising Recovery could be what you need to achieve lasting sobriety.
Also, learn more about the other treatments that combine with neurofeedback therapy. Contact us now to talk to a caring intake advisor who can help choose the right treatment for you.