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Biofeedback Therapy in Addiction Treatment (Explained)

Posted: October 12, 2020 by in Hope Recovery Addiction Center

If you or a loved one are addicted to a substance, there are multiple treatments and therapies available. Specifically, biofeedback therapy is a great tool to use either during your regular treatment or after. Biofeedback treatment teaches you how to rewire certain responses your body has in distinct circumstances. Particularly when you are tempted by a substance that you are trying to stop using such as a drug or alcohol.

Through this biofeedback therapy, you can begin to purposefully intercept those reactions and prevent yourself from a relapse.

Furthermore, if you have questions or concerns about biofeedback therapy, then call us today at 918-779-0011. We would love to clarify this treatment for you and find the best place for you to receive treatment. Addiction is a hard process and we want to see you on the road to recovery.


Continue reading for further assistance in understanding biofeedback therapy in addiction treatment. Contact us today if you require additional support.

Marijuana Addiction and the Best Treatment

 Understanding Addiction

First and foremost, you have to understand that overcoming addiction is a challenging, painful process. Rehab and treatment centers are a necessity to overcome most addictions because they are so severe. The first couple of decisions to use a drug or drink alcohol in excess is the individual’s choice. They made those decisions voluntarily with a full understanding of the possible consequences. However, there comes the point where a person can no longer choose to stop abusing the substance.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse

 With continued use, a person’s ability to exert self-control can become seriously impaired. Brain imaging studies of people with addiction show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control.

However, with decision-making and judgment impairment, it is understandable why addiction comes with such compulsive behavior. Unfortunately, people who have become addicted to a substance find themselves struggling to stop using, even if they harm them. The impairment of self-control is why treatments and biofeedback therapy exist. The use of biofeedback therapy for addiction treatment has proven to be safe, effective, and beneficial.

Defining Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy helps individuals struggling with anything from headaches to fighting addiction. You learn how to be in-tune with your body as equipment turns the physiological signals happening in your body into auditory or visual cues. For example, your heart rate projects on a screen and you get to see how it operates under your current situation physically. A practitioner guides you through scenarios and teaches you how to be in tune with your body. When you are able to witness these cues on a screen, you are able to better understand how your body operates.

The study, “Biofeedback in Medicine: Who, When, Why, and How?” shows:

Using a screen such as a computer monitor, patients get feedback that helps them develop control over their physiology. Just as looking into a mirror allows one to see and change positions, expressions, biofeedback allows patients to see inside their bodies, with a trained practitioner serving as a guide directing them to use the feedback to regulate their physiology in a healthy direction.

Being able to see how your body functions is an excellent tool in defeating addiction. In addition, it is similar to physical therapy but for your mind. Over time in biofeedback therapy, you discover how to manage your stress levels and other triggers that might incline you to abuse alcohol or drugs. However, it is a self-regulation technique that allows you to become more in tune with your body.

If you would like more information then contact us today. Our trained experts will be able to help guide you to figure out the best course of treatment for you.

What happens in a Biofeedback Session?

What is biofeedback therapy and what specifically happens in a session? Your body has involuntary reactions such as your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and skin temperature. In a biofeedback therapy session, these reactions are amplified through sounds, images, and lights on a monitor. Through finger sensors and electrodes is how biofeedback works. Moreover, They are little circles that stick to your skin and connect to the monitor, translating your bodily responses. On the screen, you have a visual representation of what is happening inside you when you are calm and when you are stressed.

When you’re under stress these functions change. Your heart rate speeds up, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, you start to sweat, and your breathing quickens. You can see these stress responses as they happen on the monitor, and then get immediate feedback as you try to stop them.

Furthermore, being able to see your body calm down after a stressful situation visually on a screen, allows you to determine what will calm you down. It is okay if you don’t know what will work at first. A trained biofeedback therapist will teach you multiple techniques on how to be in tune with your body.

For example, you might learn relaxation techniques. These are used to slow down your brainwaves when you have tension or stress occurring. Some relaxation exercises you might encounter are:

  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation — alternately tightening and then relaxing different muscle groups
  • Guided imagery — concentrating on a specific image, such as the color and texture of an orange, to focus your mind and make you feel more relaxed
  • Mindfulness meditation — focusing your thoughts and letting go of negative emotions

Outcome of Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy for addiction treatment is used because stress can lead to a relapse. Stressful situations can cause a relapse when an individual is trying to become sober. Therefore, if you learn how to control your body’s neurobiological responses during a stressful period, then you can hinder a relapse.

A study was conducted called the Biofeedback as a Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. It rates the efficacy of Biofeedback therapy. According to the study, biofeedback therapy

May increase successful abstinence from drug-taking. Considering the important role of cognitive and emotional processes involved in the predisposition for drug abuse, the development of non-pharmacological interventions is a feasible strategy.

In addition, using biofeedback therapy for addiction treatment as a stress manager teaches self-regulation. Cravings are a part of the brain’s function and if that function can be physically seen on a screen then it can be understood. Once the behavior is understood, you can begin to strengthen and activate your impulse control.

A study called “Neurofeedback Training for Opiate Addiction: Improvement of Mental Health and Craving”, was conducted by Fateme Dehghani-Arani, Reza Rostami, and Hosein Nadali. The study results showed that biofeedback therapy

Appears to be a promising alternative due to effects such as reduced drug-seeking symptoms, improved psychological variables (I.e. depression), and longer periods of abstinence.

Biofeedback treatment can help you fight addiction. By learning about your body and how it operates you can reduce your cravings and impulses. Biofeedback therapy has produced positive results surrounding addiction. Therefore, it is worth considering if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. Call us today to gather more information.

Biofeedback Therapy and Treatment Together

Biofeedback therapy and treatment work wonderfully together. It is important to remember that as valuable biofeedback therapy is, it is not solely considered treatment on its own. If you or a loved one are addicted to alcohol or drugs, biofeedback therapy can be administered alongside regular treatment or it can begin after regular treatment has been completed.

However, according to the “Biofeedback in Medicine: Who, When, Why, and How?” study

The individual must continue to work toward recovery and use the techniques they learned to manage their behavior. Traditional addiction treatment is often needed in addition to biofeedback therapy, in order to give the person even more tools to help manage their addiction.

Furthermore, the more tools you have then the more likely you will overcome your addiction. This is why biofeedback therapy and treatment can complement each other. The use of biofeedback therapy for addiction treatment has shown quicker improvement in patients beating their addictions.

Also, according to the “Neurofeedback Training for Opiate Addiction: Improvement of Mental Health and Craving” study:

patients were given substance dependence neurofeedback along with conventional addiction treatment. They reported that their treatment doubled the recovery rate for drug dependence.

Biofeedback therapy is also called Neurofeedback therapy and it has shown to be quite effective. This study showed how the patients were able to better process the information about the addiction in their bodies. This biofeedback therapy was able to help these people decrease their cravings by teaching them how their body operates. However, Being able to visually see and audible hear your own body’s responses helbs connect you to your body on a much deeper level.

Spotting Addiction

Biofeedback therapy for addiction treatment is quite helpful, but what if you don’t know you have an addiction? If you are unsure, there are some warning signs you can be aware of. If you or a loved one is addicted to a substance there are shifts in mood, behavior, and appearance that you can look for.

For instance, according to Partnership To End Addiction, be conscious if you or a loved one is/has:

  • Silent, uncommunicative
  • Hyperactive or unusually elated
  • Changed relationships with family members or friends
  • Less motivated or has a loss of interest in school, work or other activities
  • Disappears for long periods of time and makes endless excuses
  • Frequently red or flushed cheeks or face
  • Burns or soot on fingers or lips. Or track marks on arms or legs
  • Poor hygiene
  • Has become unusually clumsy: stumbling, lacking coordination, poor balance
  • Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech or rapid-fire speech
  • Has periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of “catch up” sleep
  • Hostile, angry, uncooperative behavior
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Frequent seizures and/or vomiting

To summarize, if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and considering biotherapy treatment, call us today. Learning how biofeedback works might make you more comfortable with the process. This is a difficult and confusing time and we want to make it easier on you. Call us at 918-779-0011 and we can guide you to the correct treatment plans that will help you learn, grow, and become sober again.

Written by Julia Bashaw


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