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Substance Abuse  & AddictionSubstance Abuse & Addiction

EEG Biofeedback as a Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: Review, Rating of Efficacy, and Recommendations for Further Research (abs.) by Sokhadze, T. M., Cannon, R. L., Trudeau, D. L. (2008)

Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback has been employed in substance use disorder (SUD) over the last three decades. The SUD is a complex series of disorders with frequent comorbidities and EEG abnormalities of several types. EEG biofeedback has been employed in conjunction with other therapies and may be useful in enhancing certain outcomes of therapy.

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The Peniston-Kulkosky Brainwave Neurofeedback Therapeutic Protocol: The Future Psychotherapy for Alcoholism/PTSD/Behavioral Medicine by Peniston EO Ed.D., A.B.M.P.P., B.C.E.T.S., F.A.A.E.T.S.

This paper is a review not only of the Peniston-Kulkosky protocol for alcoholism and PTSD but of the prior history of alpha training leading up to their epoch-making studies, as well as of the follow-on studies that replicated their work.

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Applicability of Brain Wave Biofeedback to Substance Use Disorder in Adolescents by Trudeau DL

Neurofeedback treatment for addictions in adults is probably efficacious, and several reported approaches are described with their indications. Neurofeedback is promising as a treatment modality for adolescents, especially those with stimulant abuse and attention conduct problems. It is attractive as a medication-free, neurophysiologic, and self-actualizing treatment for substance-based, brain-impaired and self-defeating disorder.

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Articles


Is there an Anti-Neurofeedback Conspiracy? (pdf) by Trocki KF PhD

As we all well know, addictions are very difficult to treat and relapse rates are very high. Furthermore the individuals with the best outcomes are likely to be white, of high socioeconomic status (SES) better educated, addicted to a single drug, or in a socially stable living situation. However over the past two decades a new kind of adjunct therapy for addictions has emerged that is ideally suited for delivery within treatment settings by midlevel licensed professionals such as nurses, socialworkers, counselors, or physical therapists. This is a treatment approach that has shown strong, positive results in long term follow-ups but the spread has been glacially slow. Given the strong positive findings it almost seems as though there is a sort of a conspiracy keeping this treatment from being used.

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Effect of EEG Biofeedback on Chemical Dependency by Kaiser DA and Scott W

A behavioral research team announced today that it has doubled the recovery rate for drug addicts in a study that gave patients feedback on their brain’s electrical activity in conjunction with conventional treatment for drug abuse. William C. Scott, principal investigator of the study, said that across the country, drug rehab programs have generally achieved a success rate of 20 to 30 percent in relapse prevention one to two years following treatment. In the current study, in excess of 50% of experimental subjects remained drug-free a year later. The study used Neurofeedback, a technique that trains patients to alter their brainwave patterns as they receive information about those patterns.

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Research Papers


National Institute on Drug Abuse

For the past three decades, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has led the way in supporting research to prevent and treat drug abuse and addiction and mitigate the impact of their consequences.

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Effects of an EEG Biofeedback Protocol on a Mixed Substance Abusing Population by Scott WC, Kaiser DA, Othmer S, Sideroff SI

Alcohol and drug abuse is an ongoing societal and treatment problem (1, 2). While major resources have been employed to study and treat addiction, there has been little significant improvement in the success rate of treatment. Relapse rates remain high, typically over 70% (3-5). Gossop et al. (6) reported 60% of heroine addicts relapsed one year following addiction treatment. Peniston and associates have demonstrated significantly higher abstinence rates with alcoholics when they incorporated EEG biofeedback into the treatment protocol (7-10). Eighty percent of subjects in these experiments were abstinent one-year posttreatment.

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Alpha-Theta Brainwave Training and Beta-Endorphin Levels in Alcoholics (abs.) by Peniston EG and Kulkosky PJ

An alpha-theta brainwave biofeedfack training program was applied as a novel treatment technique for chronic alcoholics. Following a temperature biofeedback pretraining phase, experimental subjects completed 15 30-min sessions of alpha-theta biofeedback training. Compared to a nonalcoholic control group and a traditionally treated alcoholic control group, alcoholics receiving brainwave training (BWT) showed significant increases in percentages of EEG record in alpha and theta rhythms, and increased alpha rhythm amplitudes.

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Alterations in EEG Amplitude, Personality Factors & Brainmapping following Alpha-theta Brainwave Training (abs.) by Fahrion SL, Walters ED, Coyne L, Allen T

A controlled case study was conducted of effects of EEG alpha and theta brainwave training with a recovering alcoholic patient who experienced craving and fear of relapse after 18 months of abstinence. Training consisted of six sessions of thermal biofeedback to increase central nervous system (CNS) relaxation. Effects were documented with pretreatment and post-treatment personality testing, 20-channel digitized EEG evaluations both under relaxed conditions and under stress, minute-by-minute physiologic recordings of autonomic and EEG data during each training session, blood pressure, and heart rate indications taken both during relaxation and under stress, and by clinical observation.

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Experiments on Brainwave Therapy for Alcoholism (abs. pg.4) by Kulkosky PJ

In 1989, E.G. Peniston and P.J. Kulkosky published an innovative therapy for the treatment of alcoholism and prevention of its relapse. This therapy combined systematic desensitization, temperature biofeedback, guided imagery, constructed visualizations, rhythmic breathing, autogenic training, alpha theta brainwave biofeedback, and booster sessions to treat chronic alcoholism in male inpatients.

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Alpha-Theta Brainwave Neurofeedback Training: An Effective Treatment for Male and Female Alcoholics with Depressive Symptoms (abs.) by Saxby E and Peniston EG

This is the report of an experimental study of 14 alcoholic outpatients using the Peniston and Kulkosky (1989, 1991) brainwave treatment protocol for alcohol abuse. After temperature biofeedback pre-training, experimental subjects completed twenty 40-minute sessions of alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training. Experimentally treated alcoholics with depressive syndrome showed sharp reductions in self-assessed depression (Beck’s Depression Inventory). On the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-I, the experimental subjects showed significant decreases on the BR scores: schizoid, avoidant, dependent, histrionic, passive-aggression, schizotypal, borderline, anxiety, somatoform, hypomanic, dysthymic, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, psychotic thinking, and psychotic depression. Twenty-one-month follow-up data indicated sustained prevention of relapse in alcoholics who completed BWNT. Only one of the fourteen experienced relapse.

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Three Year Outcome of Alpha/Theta Neurofeedback Training in the Treatment of Problem Drinking among Dine’ (Navajo) People by Kelley MJ

This three year follow-up study presents the treatment outcomes of 19 Dine’ (Navajo) clients who completed a culturally sensitive, alpha/theta Neurofeedback training program. In an attempt to both replicate the earlier positive studies of Peniston (1989) and to determine if Neurofeedback skills would significantly decrease both alcohol consumption and other behavioral indicators of substance abuse, these participants received an average of 40 culturally modified Neurofeedback training sessions. This training was adjunctive to their normal 33 day residential treatment.

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Alpha Conditioning as an Adjunct Treatment for Drug Dependence: Part I (abs.) by Goldberg RJ, Greenwood JC, Taintor Z

The effects of alpha conditioning on the habits of four methadone maintained patients were assessed. All four learned some control over alpha activity in the 5-week, 10-session training period.

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Alpha Wave Biofeedback Training Therapy in Alcoholics (abs.) by Passini FT, Watson CG, Dehnel L, Herder J, Watkins B

This investigation evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of alpha-wave biofeedback treatment for alcoholics. Twenty-five Ss were compared to a matched control group before and after administration of a 3-week alpha-wave biofeedback regimen on a wide variety of criteria that included State-Trait Anxiety, the MMPI, Multiple Affect Adjective Check List, Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale, Watson’s Anhedonia Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and baseline alpha.

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Self-Regulation of Slow Cortical Potentials in Psychiatric Patients: Alcohol Dependency (abs.) by Schneider F, Elbert T, Heimann H, Welker A, Stetter F, Mattes R, Birbaumer N, Mann K

Ten unmediated alcohol-dependent male inpatients participated in a Slow Cortical Potential (SCP) self-regulation task utilizing biofeedback and instrumental conditioning. These patients were hospitalized for treatment of alcohol dependency after chronic abuse of alcoholic beverages. Somatic withdrawal symptomatology had occurred recently and the patients were free of any withdrawal symptoms of the autonomic nervous system.

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Alpha Biofeedback Therapy in Alcoholics: An 18-month Follow-up (abs.) by Watson CG, Herder J, Passini FT

In an earlier study on patients with alcohol problems, an experimental group given 10 hour-long alpha biofeedback training sessions showed greater improvement on State and Trait Anxiety scores than did a control sample. In the present study an 18-month follow-up was done on those Ss.

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