Addiction

Addiction can take many forms, but the single greatest misunderstanding is that of attributing addiction to a lack of self-discipline.  This is simply not true – addiction is a physiological issue that can take a range of debilitating forms in a persons life.  It needs to be seen as such to be able to formulate a recovery plan that goes beyond the multi-step programs often rooted in faith or even internment in expensive rehabilitation clinics, mostly with a high risk of relapse.

Neurofeedback aims to address the brain disorder of addiction by retraining the brain.  It teaches the brain how to become calm, focused and relaxed, thus creating a more desirable state of mind than what drugs offer in only a temporary and often incapacitating manner.  Without resorting to medicine, neurofeedback lays the tracks for a healthy state of mind, creating a brain that can respond clearly and rationally to the impulses that prompt addictive behaviour in the first place.  It helps create a mind that can adapt its arousal level to any situation as needed.

With neurofeedback training, the brain learns to self-regulate, to summon resources when needed and to switch off into a deep sleep for recovery when desired.  It gives the person the freedom to observe their emotions, respond to situations as needed and generally retain a certain coolness in daily life that reflects a zone where the brain is neither having to be hyper-focussed (‘fight-or-flight mode’) nor overwhelmed and thus drawn to shut down and rest.  Neurofeedback calms the body and the mind, restores a healthy sense of self-worth, and adds cheerfulness in a measure that’s genuine and organic.

Addictions often arise as a reaction to undigested negative experiences, or trauma.  Putting the mind in a state where it can relax and start dealing with this is a key goal.  At first, symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, insomnia, anger and over-excitability are addressed.  Then, we use Alpha Theta neurofeedback training to help the brain deal with the unresolved issues.  Alpha Theta neurofeedback training holds the person in a state of deep relaxation, where memories can safely surface and as a result be processed.  The idea is that traumatic memories are put into long-term storage, where they can be recalled from, without the adverse emotional state attached to them.

Scott & Peniston Study:  Treating Alcoholism with Neurofeedback

Alcoholics produce measurably less alpha activity.  In 1993 Scott and Peniston conducted a neurofeedback study with 24 veterans with PTSD and alcoholism, training alpha-theta while inhibiting delta activity to prevent reliving trauma.  Participants likened the experience to observing their past behaviour from an emotionally neutral vantage point.  It was found that 12-18 months later, none of the participants suffered from PTSD, and 79% had remained abstinent from alcohol and substance abuse.

 

Neurofeedback is a form of complementary therapy and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine.  qEEG brain map-based neurofeedback training takes a more holistic approach to brain functioning, rather than just focusing on medical symptoms.  It is not intended as a form of diagnosis nor medical intervention nor medical advice per the disclaimer.

 

“I used to smoke cannabis daily, not just to get to sleep, but to be creative, social, inspired and probably also to detach myself from my surroundings – as if to say, ‘it’s not really me, just my funny, slightly stoned side’.  Neurofeedback helped me regain a sense of self-worth that is different from ‘me me me’, it made me confident and self-assured, and I actually enjoy sobriety more now that I realise that it’s not the weed that made me funny, that’s actually me!

I’ve started vlogging, I’m not ashamed to expose my personality in front of others, and I can get to sleep without smoking, which is great as I wake up with a fresh mind, get things done, and I’m still creative – not just that, I’m actually doing things with the ideas I have.

I still smoke occasionally, and I do enjoy it, just in a different way – for one, it’s no longer a stimulant, just a relaxant, and I can have great conversations and good times with friends.  It’s weird, something I relied on to become animated has fallen into the shadow of my personality, it’s almost a drag as I know I’ll be hungover the next day so I really just reserve it for social occasions or special moments – that way I feel the effect much more strongly and it’s become a treasure, not a vice.”

– Jacy, Graphic Design and Social Media Freelancer

Note:  NeurofeedbackIO does not endorse drug use.

Brain Maps and Personalised Brain Training

Personalised Brain Training is a neurofeedback training method devised by founders of the field, Barry Sterman and David Kaiser.  

 

Every Brain is individual and different, therefore Personalised Brain Training neurofeedback

We take a holistic approach to healthy brain self-regulation, rather than categorisation or diagnosis.  In our view, and experience, symptoms resolve when our system is balanced.

Neurofeedback Training calms the mind and restores functionality

A brain map is an analysis of brain wave behaviour as measured by a qEEG recording.  We record 20 minutes of the brain activities with a 19-sensor qEEG recorder.  There is no stimulation, and contact between the sensors and the head is via an easily removable gel applied to specific points.  From this recording, we can generate a brain map using Kaiser Neuromap software.  

qEEG recording of brain waves is analysed to generate a brain map in form of a Kaiser Neuromap

The functional connectivity between various brain areas allows us to see vulnerabilities to character traits or behaviour patterns.  

Kaiser Neuromap brain maps show character traits for neurofeedback

Neurofeedback training is a process where we give the brain feedback about its own activity at a particular cortical site in real time, via visual, auditory or tactile means.  There is no direct stimulus to the brain and the sensors attached are for measurement of cortical EEG, or tiny electrical currents detectable on the surface of our head.  This signal is then amplified and analysed by software in real-time, and this information is used to provide feedback to our brain.  

Neurofeedback process illustrated by electrode measurement analysed and transformed into feedback via a movie in visual and auditory form for the preconscious mind to process and adapt its behaviour to in a learning process.

 We use a movie of choice as the feedback mechanism – our conscious mind engages with the film, and feedback is delivered by small changes in volume or picture size.  Our pre-conscious mind adapts its behaviour to preserve the more comfortable volume and picture size, and learning occurs.

Neurofeedback helps restore functional connectivity in key neural networks

Neurofeedback training is safe, effective and non-invasive. 

Neurofeedback training is safe and non-invasive shown in a picture using Othmer Method

Neurofeedback is evidence-based. 

Neurofeedback is evidence based therapy with a wealth of over 3,500 peer-reviewed research reports per PubMed neurofeedback

 

Guided by a Kaiser Neuromap, our neurofeedback training targets specific brain areas, neural hubs and networksThis improves integration of the  brain area we are training, as well as its network and sub-cortical connections.

Developed by a founder of the field of neurofeedback, and with a wealth of over 3,000 brain maps and thirty years’ of experience, Personalised Brain Training uses advanced neurofeedback protocols.

qEEG-brainmap takes under an hour to obtain and is a non-invasive process.  A nineteen-sensor cap is comfortably fitted and we record about twenty minutes of brain activity.  Using specialised software, we obtain a visual analysis which we will communicate verbally.  This also forms the basis of our training plan.  Note that we do not provide diagnosis.

qEEG brain map for personalised brain training in neurofeedback

This brain map approach is unique in that it analyses the connectivity of a functional brain area, rather than simply geographic areas of the brain.  

Connectivity is a measure of regional integration of specific brain areas with other areas and key networks.  This is a relative measure – to be meaningful, it has to be referenced to a baseline.  Rather than use an average as a reference, we compare results to a set of hand-picked individuals who are both high-performing professionals and well-balanced individuals.  Our ability to engage with others, form friends and alliances, and make consensual decisions is deemed as important for success as professional specialisation and technical performance.

functional brain area, as first delineated by Korbinian Brodmann in 1909, was first defined by variations in the number of layers in its grey matter.  This difference in physical property still holds as a valid way to separate brain regions, and each has its own function while being connected to other areas of the cortex via white matter, as well as to the brainstem, in particular, the thalamus.  With a brain map, we gain insights into both cortical integration (how well the area connects with its surrounding areas), as well as its thalamo-cortical integration. 

Neurofeedback training relies on real-time EEG measurement, analysis and translation into feedback

Neurofeedback Training Sessions

Personalised Brain Training aims to optimise the cortical connectivity, as well as promoting improved thalamo-cortical connection.  Neuroplasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain to make new connections, is an essential and continuous process that underpins our ability to learn.  With brain training, we can promote this process.  

Protocols are generally around 30-45 minutes per brain area that we train; as such, training sessions are ideally around 90-120 minutes.  This corresponds to the average length of a movie.  This is also the length of our ultradian rhythms – attention cycles that govern our day, letting us perform at more than 100% at peak, and less than this at trough – think of the lull we experience around lunchtime.  By training the brain throughout a complete cycle, we are more likely to provide the brain with a challenge at different points in its attention cycle for a more comprehensive training. 

The primary feedback mechanism in Personalised Brain Training is auditory, that is, a subtle change in volume.  The brain recognises this, preconsciously, while our conscious mind is focused on the movie, and corrects its behaviour to preserve the continuity of the watching (or listening) experience.  A secondary, visual feedback mechanism can be activated, whereby the picture size changes too, though this is optional in cases of high visual sensitivity (e.g. migraines).   

We can track progress by remapping the brain at intervals, usually after every 20 hours of training.  Ten sessions will give a good indication of responsiveness, which besides subjective feedback we can ascertain with a further remap.  With neurofeedback training, we are showing the brain a more efficient state during a session.  Upon repetition, the brain learns to adopt this new state.  The person has to then implement this new learning in their life.  Internal changes have to be externalised.  Training success depends on this ability thus results can vary.  

Neurofeedback training begins with two to three sessions per week and the frequency of training can then be adjusted to need and symptom improvements.  Intensive courses involving two or more sessions per day can also be accommodated.

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)7966 699430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io to arrange sessions.

The Process

Brain Map

We record qEEG brain activity for about 15-20 minutes.  This process takes about 30-45 minutes overall and we discuss results a few days later via call or in person.  This provides the basis for the Personalised Brain Training Plan. 

Neurofeedback Sessions

 Comfortably watching a movie of choice, we train specific brain areas per our Personalised Brain Training Plan.  Sessions are two hours (shorter if necessary), and ideally we aim to do two or three per week.  Alternatively, intensive courses can accommodate two sessions per day.  Generally, we would look to do 40 hours or 20 sessions.

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)7966 699430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io to arrange sessions.