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Biofeedback 2017-04-06T09:19:07+00:00
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Biofeedback is a type of non-drug therapy that uses sensors attached to the body to measure key body functions and processes that are normally involuntary (i.e. muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). It is intended to help a patient learn more about how their body works.

Electrodes attached to the skin, or in some cases, sensors held in the patient’s hands, measure these processes and display them on a monitor. With help from a Biofeedback Therapist, a patient can learn to change their heart rate or blood pressure, for example. At first a monitor is used to see progress. But eventually a person will be able to achieve success without a monitor or electrodes.

Chronic stress can have dramatic effects on your body, however, by promoting a more effective mental and physical response to stress, Biofeedback aims to help control body processes, thus causing milder or contained responses to external stimuli.

Biofeedback Methods

Biofeedback gives the person the power to use their thoughts to control their body, often to improve a health condition or physical performance. Determining the method that’s right for a patient, will depend on the current health problems (involuntary muscle spasms, blood pressure, addiction, etc.) and goals. These methods include:

  • Brainwave: This type of method uses scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG).
  • Breathing: During respiratory biofeedback, bands are placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing pattern and respiration rate.
  • Heart rate: This type of biofeedback uses finger or earlobe sensors with a device called a photo-plethysmograph or sensors placed on your chest, lower torso or wrists using an electrocardiograph (ECG) to measure your heart rate and heart rate variability.
  • Muscle: This method of biofeedback involves placing sensors over your skeletal muscles with an electromyograph (EMG) to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction.
  • Sweat glands: Sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist with an electro-demographer (EDG) measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.
  • Temperature: Sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure your blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you’re under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques.

Brainwave Biofeedback (also called Neurofeedback) is different; while patients learn to change their brain wave patterns, they experience the beneficial effect of relaxation and reduced stress.

Biofeedback has shown dramatic success in several studies where it has been used for drug/alcohol addiction treatment, and in preventing relapses from these addictions.

Biofeedback for Addiction Treatment:

Although not many people know it, Biofeedback and drug addiction is a concept that has been resonating in the medical field for the last three decades.

Biofeedback is built on the concept of “mind over matter.” The idea is that, with proper techniques, you can change your health by being mindful of how your body responds to stress and other stimuli (i.e.: external substances such as drugs and/or alcohol).

Because addiction is a disease of the brain, using Biofeedback for addiction treatment helps patients in understanding their involuntary functions.

Alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms often lead to physical stress and heightened involuntary responses. Biofeedback therapy for alcoholism and drug abuse, can help treat common symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, depression, chronic muscle pain and restlessness.

Biofeedback for addiction treatment uses the information recorded on the machines and displays them back to the recovering addict, in order to help them build awareness of their reactions and learn to control them.

Biofeedback therapy for alcoholism and drug abuse, has been employed in conjunction with other rehab programs and may be useful in enhancing certain outcomes of therapy.

Based on published clinical studies, either alone for alcoholism, or in combination with beta training for stimulant and mixed substance abuse and combined with residential treatment programs, Biofeedback for addiction treatment is effective.

Biofeedback therapy for alcoholism and drug addiction starts with a medical and psychiatric evaluation of the patient’s health and physical dependence on alcohol and/or other substances. Then, a comprehensive treatment plan will be developed to help the patient safely withdraw from alcohol and other substances, a follow-up treatment to remain off these drugs, prevent relapse, and treat the medical complications caused by the intake of these drugs.

The concept of Biofeedback and drug addiction or alcoholism has proven successful because it increase the effectiveness of drug therapy and psychotherapy in maintaining abstinence. Applying Biofeedback for addiction treatment works by using the results from the psychophysiological profile to develop a training program to help correct abnormal resting or stress-evoked physiological responses that may be associated with distress or drug craving.

It is estimated that roughly one in four persons with substance abuse and addiction problems has an attention issue as well. Biofeedback for addiction treatment can be used to train people how to self-generate a state of effortless attention—a relaxed, alert focus that increases control over actions associated with addiction.

That in turn can translate to an improved ability to make healthy decisions and a greater willingness to be in treatment. The good news is that Biofeedback therapy for alcoholism and drug abuse is already being used by addiction treatment centers.

Some facilities using Biofeedback for addiction treatment report relapse rates as low as 25 percent.

If you or your loved one is suffering addiction, Biofeedback is a promising therapy. With more attention and more research time and money devoted to it, we may start seeing more people healed and treated with this innovative technique. Don’t wait – call us today at 1-877-640-7820.

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