Is Neurofeedback Really a Way to Hack Your Brain and Stop Addiction?

Neurofeedback practitioners observe the portions of the brain that fire under-stimulation. This information can be used to help train those who struggle to manage stimulation or stress to find new pathways. Such training can help nearly everyone but is especially helpful for someone who’s struggling with addiction. Addictive behavior can be a stress response.

If someone is able to detox to the point that their body no longer needs the drug or drugs previously used, they’ve taken a critical step toward recovery. However, if the recovering addict can’t find new ways to deal with scenarios that trigger the desire for the drug, they won’t have the skill they need to cope with the stress. This leads to suffering and relapse.

Brain Power Made Visible

Our choices turn into habits, and our habits create strong neural pathways in the brain. One of the big challenges of the brain is that we’re always building habits, even if we don’t intend to. For example, if you find that a particular food helps you fight the stress of a situation, you’ll reach for that food. This can lead to

  • overeating, a bad habit
  • obesity, a dangerous outcome

Others turn to addictive drugs, while some turn to exercise. Part of the danger of developing a strong neural pathway is that other areas of the brain are allowed to wither, or at least to be skipped over, in the drive to take away the pain, stress or anxiety. If you only have one go-to habit or thought process when you’re under pressure and you can’t use it in safety and health, you’re at risk.

Getting Control of Your Brain

Once you understand what the triggers are that send your brain down the rabbit hole in search of the addictive substance you’re fighting to stay away from, you have power. In the 12 step process, recovering addicts are encouraged to remember to HALT. This means to not allow themselves to get too

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely, or
  • Tired

When you’re empty, you’re at risk of old habits kicking in and driving you towards a bad decision. Again, habit formation is a constant whether we’re trying to do it or not. If you get home from work and need a snack, it may be habit instead of hunger. If you want a beer or another mood-altering product, that can be an habitual stress response. Being aware of what is going on in your brain and being able to visualize that activity can make it easier to think your way out of a bad, repetitive habit that doesn’t serve you.

Building a Brain Training Program

Neurofeedback training provides the recovering addict with imagery of what their brain is doing during cravings and times of stress. Upon understanding that this pathway can be changed, many in recovery programs feel a better awareness of the part that the brain plays in addiction and in recovery. A thorough neurofeedback training program will help you

  • understand how the usage habit was created
  • see how it fires up during times of stress
  • realize that it can be rerouted.

Addiction can make people feel that there is no hope. If an addict has been through physical detox and suffered a relapse, they may feel that their return to a substance that they have left behind is a sign of weakness or a personal default. This is simply not true. Our brains evolved, in no small part, by creating habits. Deep thinking on creative subjects can’t happen if we’re struggling to figure out how to walk, eat, shower or dress every day. Over time, habits have created efficiencies that free up our brains to do more. Habits can be good or bad. Changing the pathway of a habit is possible, but it takes time and effort.

By providing neurofeedback awareness, training and therapy, we can help you understand that old path and build a better one that helps you direct your life toward new goals. Ready to get started on understanding just how remarkable your brain is? Call us today at 844-639-8371 to build new pathways to a healthier life.

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