Researchers have published many different articles explaining how addiction to Cocaine and other stimulants not only causes chemical changes within the brain, but that the brain also undergoes physical changes. This information provides insight as to why stimulant addicts cannot control addiction. The areas of the brain that normally help someone control behaviors are no longer functioning normally or being used. However, studies have also found that using different techniques, substance abusers can retrain the brain.
In the last decade, scientists studying addiction discovered that cognitive-behavioral treatments are some of the most effective means of changing the frontal regions of the brain. Since stimulant addiction inhibits this part of the brain from functioning normally, returning function to the frontal areas helps addicts regain control over temptation, which prevents possible relapse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps clients identify irrational or negative thought patterns that commonly lead to negative behaviors. These thoughts might include stress, temptation, hopelessness or poor self-esteem. Through therapy, individuals learn strategies and techniques to break the habit of these thought patterns. Stimulant addicts then learn how to use new thought patterns and behaviors to overcome cravings.
Neuroscientists have also evaluated the possible effects and benefits of meditation on the brain using imaging devices. After studying subjects who learned and practiced various forms of focused thought over a period of two months, researchers witnessed that the discipline was successful in changing the communication pathways between neurons. Middle and frontal brain tissue thickened, which meant that subjects had a greater sense of creativity and wellbeing. Improvements in the hippocampus enhanced learning and memory skills. On the other hand, decreased activity in the area known as the amygdala allowed people to better cope with anxiety and stress.
By learning meditation techniques, recovering stimulant addicts have more control over cravings and temptations. When seen as temporary feelings and thoughts, by using various visualization methods, substance abusers overcome these issues and gain renewed confidence in fighting against relapse. Deep breathing and mental body scanning techniques are also methods that help. When researchers studied addicts for four months while practicing mindfulness methods, the physicians observed that the individuals who participated in meditation programs experienced a lower rate of relapse.
More and more studies and information has been released in recent years about the benefits of neurofeedback in treating a variety of issues that include addiction. The non-invasive therapy uses specialized programs that enable clients to alter aspects of a progressive program by changing thought patterns. According to a study that neuroscientists published in the Journal of Neurotherapy, individuals suffering from cocaine addiction changed brain activity, which decreased cravings so dramatically, that the desire no longer existed when shown drug related images.
While the process is time-consuming and takes some time to learn, the therapy merely requires looking at a computer screen while wearing sensors. A therapist instructs the client as to what actions are needed as the program plays. Depending on the type of program used, different thought patterns may change screen colors, start or stop music or alter an animation. When using the correct brain waves, an audio or visual reward appears on the screen.
Advances in addiction science have helped more stimulant addicts overcome substance abuse. Consider learning more about getting help for stimulant abuse by talking to someone on a helpline. Get the answers you need by calling our hotline at 800-447-9081.