This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of neurofeedback (NFB) plus pharmacotherapy with pharmacotherapy alone, on addiction severity, mental health, and quality of life in crystal methamphetamine- dependent (CMD) patients. The study included 100 CMD patients undergoing a medical treatment who volunteered for this randomized controlled trial. After being evaluated by a battery of questionnaires that included addiction severity index questionnaire, Symptoms Check List 90 version, and World Health Organization Quality of Life, the participants were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group. The experimental group received thirty 50-min sessions of NFB in addition to their usual medication over a 2-month period; meanwhile, the control group received only their usual medication. In accordance with this study’s pre-test–post-test design, both study groups were evaluated again after completing their re- spective treatment regimens. Multivariate analysis of co- variance showed the experimental group to have lower severity of addiction, better psychological health, and better quality of life in than the control group. The differences between the two groups were statistically significant. These finding suggest that NFB can be used to improve the effectiveness of treatment results in CMD patients.
Effects of an EEG Biofeedback Protocol on a Mixed Substance Abusing Population
This study examined whether an EEG biofeedback protocol could improve outcome measures for a mixed substance abusing inpatient population. Method. One hundred twenty-one volunteers undergoing an inpatient substance abuse program were randomly assigned to the EEG biofeedback or control group. EEG biofeedback included training in Beta and SMR to address attentional variables, followed by an alpha-theta protocol. Subjects received a total of 40 to 50 biofeedback sessions. The control group received additional time in treatment equivalent to experimental procedure time. The Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA), and MMPI, were administered with both tester and subject blind as to group placement to obtain unbiased baseline data. Treatment retention and abstinence rates as well as psychometric and cognitive measures were compared. Results. Experimental subjects remained in treatment significantly longer than the control group(p < 0.005). Of the experimental subjects completing the protocol, 77% were abstinent at 12 months, compared to 44% for the controls. Experimental subjects demon- strated significant improvement on the TOVA (p<.005) after an average of 13 beta- SMR sessions. Following alpha-theta training, significant differences were noted on 5 of the 10 MMPI-2 scales at the p<.005 level. Conclusions. This protocol enhanced treatment retention, variables of attention, and abstinence rates one year following treatment.
Psychological improvements in patients with substance use disorders have been reported after neuro- feedback treatment. However, neurofeedback has not been commonly accepted as a treatment for substance depen- dence. This study was carried out to examine the effec- tiveness of this therapeutic method for opiate dependence disorder. The specific aim was to investigate whether treatment leads to any changes in mental health and sub- stance craving. In this experimental study with a pre-post test design, 20 opiate dependent patients undergoing Methadone or Buprenorphine maintenance treatment were examined and matched and randomized into two groups. While both experimental and control groups received their usual maintenance treatment, the experimental group received 30 sessions of neurofeedback treatment in addi- tion. The neurofeedback treatment consisted of sensory motor rhythm training on Cz, followed by an alpha-theta protocol on Pz. Data from the general health questionnaire and a heroin craving questionnaire were collected before and after treatment. Multivariate analysis of covariance showed that the experimental group achieved improvement in somatic symptoms, depression, and total score in general mental health; and in anticipation of positive outcome, desire to use opioid, and relief from withdrawal of craving in comparison with the control group. The study supports the effectiveness of neurofeedback training as a therapeutic method in opiate dependence disorder, in supplement to pharmacotherapy.
Neurofeedback in Treatment of Substance Abuse
The category of disorders associated with substance abuse is the most common psychiatric set of conditions affecting an estimated 22 million people in this country (SAMHSA, 2004). Furthermore, the disorder is accompanied by serious impairments of cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning. These conditions and symptoms so significantly alter a person’s brain and its functioning, that we often refer to the drug as hijacking the brain, making it very difficult to think logically and appropriately weigh the consequences of the drug related behavior.
Detoxified addicts have been shown to have significant alterations in brain electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns and children of addicts also exhibit EEG patterns that are significantly different than normal (Sokhadze et al., 2008, for review). This indicates that, not only are we dealing with the neurological consequences of drug-related behavior, but there appears to be a genetic pattern as well, that places certain people at greater risk for addictive behaviors. The complexity of these factors makes the treatment of addiction one of the most difficult areas of mental, emotional and physical rehabilitation.