Friday, November 25, 2011

Alcoholism Drug Treatment by Michael Logan

Developing information about brain based alcoholism drug treatment is an important part of the sweeping change that happens when one wishes to be rid of alcoholism or drug addiction.

The separation from the old playmates and playpens can give new habits and thinking patterns an opportunity to grow.

Now we have a clearer understanding of how the brain responds to treatment, and we know that we can encourage the brain to increase its neurogenesis and neuroplasticity as important aspects to the recovery process.

Neurogenesis is the birth of new brain cells, and the brain will do that for you every day in the absence of poisons like ethyl alcohol, or the presence of too great amounts of adrenaline or cortisol, and in the presence of B-vitamins, antioxidants, and omega three fish oil.

In the early days of alcoholism drug treatment, if the finances and legal issues are worrisome, it will be very important to teach relaxation skills, so physiology can be changed to support recovery, sometimes heart beat by heartbeat.

And now we have available research about the "brain in the heart" and heart rate variability biofeedback, an easily learnable skill, which can be linked to Step 11 of the 12 Step approaches.

So we teach our client that a significant part of recovery will be regulating stress chemistry in the body by regulating breathing and attention, and the brain will grow new brain cells for use in already existing circuits.

I would call that recovery.

And then we can teach about how the brain uses its neuroplastic capacity to rewire and reconnect depending on what we are paying attention to.

Sharon Begley has written convincingly of that process in her writing about the research of Richard Davidson, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin and the Dalai Lama and Buddhist monks who have permanently changed their brains and their capacity to feel compassion by practicing meditation.

Wonder if that is what the Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson had in mind when they made the 11th Step (daily prayer and meditation) a part of AA?

Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and relaxation using heart rate variability biofeedback can be learned and enhanced as an important aspect of alcoholism drug treatment, so the client can focus on early successes in treatment rather than the wreckage that usually accompanies someone to treatment.

Yes, and they can be learned fast, with results which the client can see if using feedback from computerized brain fitness programs or heart rate variability biofeedback tools.

One of the most interesting brain fitness tools is the dual n back task, which the research says increases IQ, and the research also says that there is no upper limit to the increases possible if you continue to practice.

You can see your improvement when using the tool, and a client can feel comfortable knowing that the very foundation of recovery, their brain, is healing and learning new attention and focusing skills that will generalize to all aspects of their recover