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Neurofeedback and the Effects on the Brain

At Chateau Recovery, we treat our clients from a holistic or whole-person approach using a number of different evidence-based treatments and modalities. That includes common practices like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and group therapy sessions.

There are, however, some modalities that may be unfamiliar to you. One of those modalities is neurofeedback, which to define briefly, focuses on observing brainwaves to change physiological responses. Our mission is to empower and equip you while you strive for hope, health, and a new mindset in recovery. Neurofeedback may be a new tool that can be utilized to put you on a path to recovery and improved well-being.

What Is Neurofeedback?

As mentioned, neurofeedback is one of the evidence-based therapy modalities used at Chateau Recovery. What exactly is neurofeedback, though? For a lack of a better term, neurofeedback is like a form of brain training. It focuses on training the brain to self-regulate and improve function. Neurofeedback therapies are a form of biofeedback.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), biofeedback refers to “using instruments to measure and provide real-time feedback on patients’ physiological responses.” This process helps you learn to change the responses. That might include measuring various bodily systems, from the heart rate to muscle activity. In the case of neurofeedback, it is the brain, in particular, that is monitored. For example, mental and substance use disorders affect the brain’s ability to regulate itself. Through neurofeedback training, you can become conscious of your brainwave responses and can retrain the brain to regulate itself.

In addition to helping you train your brain, neurofeedback training or therapy can also help you manage symptoms associated with your disorders. Your brain affects the way you cope with emotions. If you are unable to cope with certain situations, you may turn to alcohol or substance use, especially when suffering from co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression. Substance use causes physical changes in the brain. By monitoring the brain’s neuroactivity, you can see these responses and hopefully, through neurofeedback, change them.

How Neurofeedback Is Used at Chateau

We focus on treating addiction, dual diagnosis, substance, trauma, and PTSD. With our diverse treatment offerings, it is difficult to say what you should expect upon entering into treatment with Chateau. That is because there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to our treatment. Treatment is individualized. Your treatment plan may be completely different from the person sitting next to you. No one determination would constitute the use of neurofeedback in your treatment. It is simply one of the many modalities that we offer.

As mentioned, in the way that anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma can negatively affect your quality of life, it can also affect your brain’s ability to regulate itself. Whatever you are struggling with – PTSD, substance use disorder (SUD), or depression – it becomes worse when the brain cannot function properly. During your neurofeedback therapy, electroencephalography (EEG) is recorded. You can then view your results and use that as a stepping stone to your next stage in treatment.

Benefits of Neurofeedback

Whether or not neurofeedback is an effective tool has been researched. One major benefit is the fact that it is non-invasive. Research from the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institue (MDPI) on the effectiveness of neurofeedback training claimed that “neurotherapeutic interventions, such as neurofeedback and biofeedback, which gave individuals a more active role in their own health care, utilize a holistic approach to body, mind, and spirit, are non-invasive, and elicit the body’s own healing response.”

Modalities like this allow you to feel empowered through the ability to observe and train your brain. When you are able to change the responses you observe in your brain, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD improve significantly, and you can focus better – which is why neurofeedback is frequently used in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite these benefits, are there harmful effects of neurofeedback? How exactly is it affecting your brain?

What Effects Does Neurofeedback Have on the Brain?

Due to its non-invasive nature, there are not a standard set of side effects of neurofeedback. At least not in the way that there are side effects of taking medications to treat and manage symptoms of mental illness. With that being said, neurofeedback may not be for you. It may be an unusual practice initially, but you can become more comfortable the more you utilize it. You may experience headaches, dizziness, cognitive impairment, muscle tension, or fatigue.

It is important to mention that neurofeedback equipment does not manipulate the brain. The equipment simply monitors your brainwaves for observation. Although, this method does impact brainwaves. After all, that is the point of neurofeedback training: to change your own brainwaves. The training is designed to reinforce your brain's circuit, which in turn can improve your symptoms.

Remember, neurofeedback is just one of many evidence-based modalities implemented at Chateau Recovery. We emphasize combining these modalities with a holistic approach to treatment. That means we treat the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Depending on your symptoms and struggle, you will have the chance to be exposed to our other modalities if they suit your treatment needs.

If you are suffering from addiction, trauma, substance use, or any number of co-occurring disorders, reach out to Chateau today to learn more about the programs we offer. Our clinical professionals can work with you to offer individualized treatment and improved quality of life. Decide that today is the day you change your life.

There are many evidence-based clinical modalities implemented at Chateau Recovery. The modalities you are exposed to during your time here will depend on your specific treatment needs. We do not treat clients with a one-size-fits-all approach. We believe in working with you to create a plan of care most conducive to your treatment and recovery.

One of the modalities you may experience is neurofeedback therapy. Biofeedback involves using instruments to observe physiological responses and change those responses. Neurofeedback observes brain waves to change these physiological responses, which can help treat substance use, mental disorders, and trauma. Neurofeedback equipment does not manipulate the brain. The equipment simply monitors your brainwaves for observation. From there, you can change your brainwaves and, hopefully, improve your symptoms.

Treatment must start with you. If you are seeking treatment or are interested in learning more about neurofeedback training, call Chateau Recovery at (435) 222-5225 today.

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