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What Is Neurofeedback Therapy?

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that measures brain waves and brain activity in real time. Similar to an EEG scan, the treatment also measures the patient’s heart rate. Unlike an EEG scan, neurofeedback therapy rearranges brain signals and balances brainwaves.

This signal rearrangement helps patients learn to regulate their own brain functions to manage unhealthy or counterproductive thinking and behavior patterns. This treatment has been effective in the treatment of several neurological disorders in adults as well as children.

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What Happens During a Neurofeedback Session?

Neurofeedback treatment is a noninvasive modality that uses neuroplasty to understand brain wave activity and create balance in the brain. The patient will comfortably rest in a chair with electrode sensors attached to the scalp as the healthcare provider measures brain function and beta waves.

Similar to an EEG biofeedback, the results are is displayed on a nearby computer screen. It’s important to note that the electrodes only read input data. They do not output any signals into the brain.

While the electrodes are attached, the patient may be asked to view images, play a video game, listen to music, or watch a movie. These simple activities engage the brain differently and provide varying levels of biofeedback.

During these training sessions, the technology reacts to brain wave activity in a way the patients can tangibly see. For example, the screen may brighten or dim based on the level and type of activity. Subconsciously, the brain is being trained on what to do in order to make the screen brighter. The patient’s brain is being trained to respond in productive ways and practice balance, coordination, and efficiency.

What Can Neurofeedback Treat?

Neurofeedback therapy has been an effective treatment in many clinical applications. Patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will benefit from this treatment.

Patients who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have also found balance and success in neurofeedback treatment.

Neurotherapy is especially effective in treating substance use disorder and is a nonpharmacological treatment option. The short-term effects of this treatment were shown to be comparable to the effects of stimulant medication in regard to behavior. The use led to a significant decrease in impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity.[1]

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Neurofeedback vs. Neurologics: A Comparison

Neurofeedback vs. Neurologics: A Comparison

Neurology is the study of disorders in the central nervous system (CNS), and neurologics is the treatment of those nervous system disorders. Neurological disorders are defined as those that affect the nerves and the brain.

Neurofeedback primarily focuses on directly addressing the symptoms of mental health or substance use disorders. Neurologics or Neuroengineering is more focused on identifying the root cause of specific disorders in the brain and working to remedy the associated neurological and habitual issues.

Neurofeedback is a general treatment for many disorders, whereas Neurologics goes deeper and targets the cause of specific disorders and behaviors. Over the last several decades, field studies have completely changed the understanding of substance use and how it affects the brain. These breakthroughs have paved new ways of thinking about Substance use disorder prevention and treatment.

Abnormalities in brain activity and nerves can result in a wide range of symptoms. From poor coordination, muscle weakness, and pain to confusion, seizures, and altered levels of consciousness, these are all symptoms related to neurological disorders.

Neurologics: An Effective Addiction Treatment

Drug and alcohol dependence is a chronic brain disease that comes with a high potential for relapse. Research indicates that recovery is often more difficult for those who also suffer from attention deficits and mental or cognitive impairments. These concerns are found more frequently in those who suffer from substance use disorders.

The cycle of alcohol or substance misuse becomes more severe as the patient remains dependent. The process produces significant changes in brain function that consistently reduce their ability to control any unhealthy habits.

Substances disrupt brain function associated with triggers and habit formation, increase pleasure or reward systems, reduce decision-making functions, and the ability to self-regulate. Without effective treatment, these disruptions can continue even after the substance is no longer being used.

By targeting and disrupting the parts of the brain associated with anxiety, stress, pleasure, reward, and attention or impairment processing, Neurologic practices help to optimize brain function and improve recovery success. Patients are less vulnerable to stress-induced relapse and build a greater level of resilience.[2]

How Neurologics Works

The field of neuroscience is constantly evolving to gain a better understanding of the brain and enhance the human experience. Unlike Neurofeedback, Neuroengineering is able to target and address specific causes of neurological dysfunction using a precise map of each patient’s brain activity.

A qEEG, (Quantitative Electroencephalography) measures electrical brain activity in more detail than other electric scans. This type of scan is able to determine levels of brain activity as well as cognitive function. It accurately detects abnormalities that may have been caused by substance abuse, brain trauma, mood disorders, learning disabilities, and developmental disorders.

This implementation process of both treatments feels similar in that electrodes are placed on the scalp. The patient is then presented with a personalized protocol of exercises designed to optimize brain function. Over time, these functions are sharpened and enhanced, alleviating the symptoms and effects associated with the disorder.

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What Can Neurofeedback Treat?

Our Levels of Care

At The Heights Treatment, we offer several treatment programs that are customized to fit the individual needs of each patient. From psychotherapy and group therapy to neurofeedback therapy and experiential therapy, our clinicians are here to facilitate recovery and healing at every encounter.

Our treatment programs take place during the day so our patients can fully commit themselves to recovery without distractions. This also provides the flexibility needed to attend to their career, school, or family obligations in the evenings.

Individualized Intensive Program (IIP)

IIP is ideal for patients transitioning from a higher level of treatment or an inpatient program. This program offers evidence-based modalities and an integrative approach, but patients still have the flexibility to balance their recovery with responsibilities at work, home, or school.

Neurofeedback vs. Neurologics: A Comparison

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A PHP is an intensive level of outpatient care that’s ideal for patients transitioning from a residential treatment program or IIP. Patients still have the flexibility to tend to work, home, or school but benefit from a structured environment for treatment and care in our welcoming rehab center in Houston.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Substance Use Disorders in Houston & Los Angeles

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our IOP is a good fit for patients who have completed IIP or inpatient treatment but may need more rigorous care than an outpatient program. This program can help patients who have taken the first step toward recovery on their own and need more long-term support, treatment, and accountability.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Alcohol Addiction in Houston, Texas

Outpatient Program (OP)

Mental health treatment programs provide evidence-based behavioral health therapy and psychiatry. A positive community of peer support, family therapy sessions, and a compassionate staff with an individualized, strategic plan. Patients learn skills like positive awareness, coping skills, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness in regular therapy sessions.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Alcohol Addiction in Los Angeles, California

Holistic Treatment at The Heights Treatment

Our outpatient treatment programs focus on evidence-based modalities designed to empower the whole person, from the inside out. We only use industry-leading and effective therapies backed by scientific data and field-relevant studies.

Our behavioral health and addiction treatment center leverages a blend of individual and group therapies to a path for holistic treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Some of our therapies include:

FAQs About Neurofeedback Therapy

FAQs About Neurofeedback Therapy

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about neurofeedback therapy:

Does Neurofeedback Have Any Side Effects?

The majority of patients do experience a time of adjustment to the treatment, but in rarer cases, there may be side effects of neurofeedback. The potential of activating any of these effects decreases significantly under the treatment of a skilled field specialist.

Potential side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Tension or vibrations

Does Neurofeedback Have Any Risks?

Neurofeedback therapy is a safe treatment and is associated with only minimal risks. In addition to the potential side effects above, there is a risk of ineffective treatment administered by an unskilled clinician or if attempted by the patient. In this case, it could be a waste of time and resources.

How Long Does Neurofeedback Take to Work?

For most patients, significant progress can be made in as little as 3 to 4 weeks or with 6 to 8 sessions. Others experience the benefits of neurofeedback immediately.

Can Neurofeedback Help With Neuroplasticity?

Yes! Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to recognize the connectivity of inquiry to the response. In short, the connection between an impulse, feeling, or thought and the subsequent actions. Neurofeedback encourages the neuroplasticity process to activate desirable behavior changes.

What are Brainwave Patterns?

Brainwave patterns, such as alpha waves and theta waves, are the patterns of electric activity in the brain and represent internal brain functions like thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. These patterns reveal the connectivity between function and action.

What is Brainmapping?

Brain mapping is a technique in the field of neuroscience that’s based on the depiction of spatial regions of the brain. During brain mapping, the clinician would identify the area of the brain that controls a specific action, such as speech, vision, and movement, for the purpose of measuring activity or before performing a surgical operation.

Does Neurotherapy Help With Self-Regulation?

Yes. Neurotherapy is a nonpharmacological treatment to reduce the effects of physical or emotional conditions without the use of medication for the purpose of improving self-regulation and activating positive behavior change.

Recovery is Within Reach.

Begin Neurofeedback therapy in Los Angeles & Houston for non-medicated treatment for PTSD, anxiety, migraines, substance use disorder, and other mental health and behavior disorders.

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