When you chug down a mouthful of alcohol and it hits your system, your brain starts to function differently.
You’re probably wondering how this is possible. Well, drugs and alcohol release chemicals in the brain. Due to this, they can interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and encourage addiction.
Addiction and dependency are only half the story. Withdrawal symptoms then come swinging in every time one makes a valiant effort to quit. Even waiting a while before indulging causes one to suffer from several withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms are painful, uncomfortable and even life-threatening. Avoiding such experiences is more than enough reason to continue indulging, right? Wrong. In light of the struggles of addiction, numerous therapies and treatments have been developed. With one slowly rising through the ranks of the top effective therapies known to man: Biofeedback therapy.
Perhaps you’re a bit hesitant about it. Whether you’ve heard this type of therapy mentioned before, it’s normal to have qualms. So, below are a few things you ought to know.
What is Biofeedback Therapy?
To better understand the term biofeedback, we must break the term down. Bio means life, while feedback means response. Therefore, Biofeedback means responding or relaying back information concerning life functions. For example, checking your heart rate and getting a response can be considered biofeedback.
Biofeedback therapy, specifically for the treatment of addiction, is used for one main purpose: to monitor brain function. By measuring brainwaves, the doctors can receive information and study how the drug affected the brain.
It is also used for other purposes such as measuring other involuntary bodily functions. From measuring the heart rate, temperature and breathing rate, just to name a few; the patient is taught how to control them. The information received from monitoring the bodily functions is then used to identify the problems and how to control them.
What is its Origin?
The origin of this therapy can be traced back to Chinese and Greek healers from ancient times
They too, believed that the mind can help control bodily functions if well understood. Hence, they can be considered as the early advocates or pioneers of the therapy in question.
How Does it Work?
This therapy is based on the belief that a better understanding of bodily functions can increase one’s ability to control them. If one can control his/her bodily functions, they are more likely to improve their health and overall well-being.
This therapy is overseen or carried out by a doctor known as a biofeedback therapist. This therapist places sensors on certain parts of the body belonging to the patient being tested.
Then the sensors are then connected to a computer, which will display the patient’s psychological responses on the screen. The sensors then read and pick up information related to the patient’s heart rate, body temperature and even brain waves. The doctor will read and interpret the information to identify the extent of the damage done by the substance or drug abused.
The therapist will also focus on the functioning of the brain. By doing so, the doctor will be able to identify the areas that need to be worked on.
After that, the therapist will teach the patient certain techniques that will help him/her control and treat their disorder. For instance, let’s say the patient often experiences withdrawal symptoms such as trembling or muscle spasms. The doctor will teach the patient how to control and relax the affected muscles in his body.
Is Biofeedback Effective?
Yes, the therapy is said to be very effective. However, one is advised to not use the therapy as a stand-alone. Incorporating it with other treatment programs is advised.
What are its Benefits?
The therapy program has several benefits that anyone willing to recover should know about. They include:
- The process is painless
- Reduces cravings that can cause the relapse of an addict
- Improves one’s ability towards managing and reducing stress
- No medication is required to be used for the duration of the therapeutic process
- The techniques taught can help improve the patient’s sleeping habits and patterns
- The emotional exercises can be used to improve the patient’s emotional health
- There usually is a notable improvement in the brain function of the patient
- The patient can manage and control their withdrawal symptoms adequately. This is thanks to the techniques the patients are usually equipped
What are the Forms of Biofeedback Therapy?
There are different forms of biofeedback therapy. They include:
- Electrocardiographs (ECG’s): This form of biofeedback measures the heart rate of an individual
- Electroencephalographs (EEGs): This one focuses on monitoring and measuring brain waves
- Electromyography (EMG’s): This one is designed to measure muscle strain
What Are The Side Effects?
There are no known side effects of this therapy as of yet. It is known to be very safe. The fact that no medication is used for this type of therapy strengthens this fact. Hence, you can rest easy during treatment and trust that you are in safe hands.