Biofeedback Therapy (BT) is a non-pharmaceutical technique that helps people control their normally involuntary body functions. For example, it can help someone slow their heart rate or relax their muscles.
BT uses electrical sensors that read and interpret information from the body. A person can adjust aspects of themselves based on this information and ultimately control their body. BT helps with the management of many different conditions, including:
It is also effective for treating addiction and substance use disorders, especially during withdrawal. BT treats common symptoms of drug withdrawal, including anxiety, depression, chronic muscle pain, and restlessness.
Doctors aren’t sure exactly how Biofeedback Therapy works, but according to The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), it is most effective for treating conditions related to stress. When stress levels rise, a person’s internal processes become irregular. BT helps control this and provides a tool for alleviating symptoms. It helps people change unhealthy habits by interpreting brain activity and helping people familiarize themselves with their body’s responses.
There are three types of Biofeedback Therapy, including:
Are there any risks of Biofeedback Therapy?
Most medical experts believe that any risk associated with Biofeedback Therapy is low. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is generally safe and there are no reports of negative side effects. However, this doesn’t mean the treatment is for everyone.
The effectiveness of treatment like Biotherapy Feedback is determined by how comfortable someone is using it.
Biofeedback Therapy is used to help with substance use disorders. It allows a person struggling with addiction and their therapist to recognize the body's involuntary functions that trigger substance use. BT tracks how the body reacts, tracking alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms that cause stress and heightened involuntary responses.
Most people undergoing biofeedback therapy sessions see improvement in fewer than a dozen sessions. These sessions last about an hour.
Biofeedback Therapy is an effective tool for treating addiction because it enhances other therapies and allows people to feel more in control of their health and their overall situation.
Biofeedback Therapy tracks the body’s involuntary functions. These include:
BT machines monitor and provide information about these functions. This allows the monitored person, as well as his or her therapist, to interpret the information about how the body responds provided by the machines. This information helps with planning an approach to withdrawal and recovery.
During Biofeedback Therapy, information about the person is recorded and transmitted to a monitoring box during exposure to different visual and audio stimuli. This allows a therapist and/or the observed person to identify mental activities and relaxation techniques to regulate bodily functions that normally go unnoticed and uncontrolled. During the sessions, the person practices control and eventually learns to control his or her reactions without monitoring.
There are several different factors that can be tracked by biofeedback. These include:
Biofeedback Therapy is available in physical therapy clinics, medical centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other locations. Devices can also be worn and used at home. However, BT is usually administered by a medical professional with specialized equipment. The at-home devices are supplemental and alert the wearer to changes in their body so they can adjust to these changes accordingly. Medical professionals typically monitor Biofeedback Therapy devices used for treating substance use disorders.
Biofeedback Therapy is most often used in combination with other drug and alcohol treatment options. It is also a replacement for more invasive treatment or treatment options that triggered negative side effects.
BT gives people with substance abuse disorders an edge in beating their addiction. It provides them with additional information for managing their disorder and understanding how their addiction affects their minds and bodies. Knowing how addiction affects the body and finding ways to manage those effects helps with recovery. Biofeedback is a management tool. It also helps people with a drug or alcohol addiction manage co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD, ADHD, and more.
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“Biofeedback Therapy: How It Works and Uses.” Www.Medicalnewstoday.Com, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265802.
“Biofeedback: Types, Purpose, and Risks.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/biofeedback.
“Biofeedback - Mayo Clinic.” Mayoclinic.Org, 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/about/pac-20384664.
Sokhadze, Tato M., et al. “EEG Biofeedback as a Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: Review, Rating of Efficacy, and Recommendations for Further Research.” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, vol. 33, no. 1, 24 Jan. 2008, pp. 1–28, 10.1007/s10484-007-9047-5, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2259255/