Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is the use of a drug in amounts or by methods that are harmful to the individual or others. It is a form of substance-related disorder. In a nutshell, substance abuse means doing something even though you know it will have negative consequences. A person suffering from substance abuse is often called an addict.
Unfortunately, in this country substance abuse is quite common. In 2015 it was estimated that 27 million Americans were afflicted by this disease and it accounted for over 300,000 deaths.
How does Neurofeedback therapy help?
People with addictive issues often have underlying pathology. It is theorized that there is an inherited dopamine dysfunction for many people with this disease. Dopamine helps us feel pleasure. When it doesn’t work correctly, people are dysthymic or feel slightly depressed all the time. The inherited dysfunction corrects under the influence of their drug of choice and they suddenly feel ‘normal’. In others, the dopamine balance can be disrupted by repeated abuse of substances that deplete dopamine. Social anxiety ifs often found underneath the substance problem.
The classic EEG of addiction to alcohol is a low voltage fast wave presentation. For cannabis, it is a large amount of frontal alpha.
Barry had always been a drinker. It had been fun in the old days, but at 54 he had been in rehab three times without success. After a bout so severe he landed in the hospital near kidney failure, a relative told him about Advanced Therapy Center. We believe that the hope neurofeedback gave him kept him going through the first month of abstinence. The next month, the neurofeedback helped him reduce his craving. There were a couple of slips along the way, but he kept coming back. When sobriety seemed to be holding well, we began to focus on his underlying anxiety and conflict avoidance with LORETA Neurofeedback. It’s been nine months since his last drink. His craving is only occasional and mild. He is starting to initiate conversations about the conflicts he has with family and friends. He has reduced his anti-depressant medication and is slowly working on reducing it further in pursuit of feeling more of the ups and downs in life.
Gwen is a hard-working business owner. She had sacrificed for years to build a successful chain of dress shops. As the years rolled by, she found she had more trouble sleeping and began to use alcohol to help her sleep. It got to the point where she was waking up to drink several times a night. If her husband hadn’t put his foot down and made her come for help, who knows how long she would have gone before she was seriously ill.
Gwen was immensely helped by using anti-anxiety techniques. It was also very important that she began to allow herself to be seen and to tell her story. She was from a wealthy family of inherited success and had never felt appreciated. Her drive to work so hard, in part, came from wanting the recognition that her family of origin never had and never would give her. There were lapses along the path of her recovery and we explored how the escape of drinking was almost the only ‘fun’ she expected. We worked to rediscover her outside interests and how she could healthfully enjoy herself. She is now able to occasionally enjoy a glass of wine with friends or family and keep work within a reasonable schedule. She sleeps well.