This week’s blog focus will continue to explore the subject of rewiring the brain circuitry as a valid form of addiction intervention and stabilization of recovery. In a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, and summarized in Medical News Today (12/10/2014) participants in a drug intervention program used mindfulness-oriented materials to handle cravings, alleviate pain and strengthen positive feelings. Eric L. Garland, an Associate Professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work, was the lead author.
One of the techniques used which altered brain responses relied on participants focusing on pleasant experiences through meditation. The results were revealing. The more participants focused on natural healthy pleasures (being in nature, positive connections with a loved one) the more brain activity occurred during these pleasurable thoughts resulting in fewer cravings for opioids.
Three components of the Mindfulness program are:
- Training the mind to increase awareness and gain control over attention
- Reframing stressful events to understand it growth promoting
- Focus attention on positive events to increase the natural reward feelings in enjoying a healthy daily experience (a beautiful scene)
Why Rewiring the Brain Circuitry Works to Help Stop Addiction
Scientists now know that the brain does create new message pathways. That is why treatment of many ailments now includes mindfulness training. The more one practices mindfulness, meditation, and healthy behaviors, the more the new neuro pathways become strengthened and dynamic.
Clients must be able to form new perspectives, feelings, and self-affirming actions to stop substance abuse and replace old drug/alcohol seeking behaviors and cravings. The need to create and cultivate new pathways is a crucial component of addiction treatment and aftercare.
While many respond well in residential treatment, they seem to fall back into old patterns soon after their release. Can utilizing these new neuro pathways strengthen early stages of recovery? Yes.
New Software Compliments Clinical Therapy and Furthers the Progress of New Neuro Pathways
Talking about experiences, feelings, choices and life skills are all necessary components of addiction treatment. Statistics indicate that these are not enough to keep people clean and sober when they are living back in their lives. Technologies that can employ multiple perspectives and senses now exist that can reinforce these new pathways.
Incorporating multiple senses through games, visual charts, making choices exercises, physically tracking moods, making connections to a community of sober and clean individuals, as well as to a therapist, lead clients to a deeper sense of self-accomplishment and forward progress.
These comprehensive programs, available on electronic platforms, strengthen the newly formed reward and pleasure neuro pathways. These softwares also supports learning and memory through repetition another key factor in strengthening neuro pathways and changing behavior and thought patterns..
Today, there are hundreds of applications online that claim to promote recovery. A 2012 study of smartphone applications for addiction recovery, published in the Journal of Addiction Disorders (2013) demonstrated that the apps helped users feel connected, informed, inspired and focused. Imagine if Providers could get software that went beyond the abilities of these individual apps, and could offer clients a comprehensive program accessible anytime, anywhere that addressed the multi-demensional approach of addiction treatment.
Recovery Passport has developed some of the leading edge software that works across electronic platforms. Our goal is to help clients quickly cement the progress they make during treatment, connect them with a support network and strengthen every aspect of their aftercare.
Our technology is designed to improve your bottom line, and your outcome measures. We are confident that our multilevel addiction treatment software can help rewire clients’ neuro pathways for the long term. These are exciting times for those seeking to help people suffering from addiction. We can succeed exploiting brain research and technology.