VISTAS Substance Abuse

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.



Neurofeedback Training for Substance Use Disorders: A Review of the Applicability in Treatment

James C. Shepard

2015

This paper reviews the applicability of implementing neurofeedback training in
the treatment of substance use disorders. This is a relatively symptom free
treatment modality that is based on operant conditioning in which clients receive
audio or visual feedback to reinforce and/or inhibit certain brainwave
frequencies. By helping clients change brainwave patterns and alter some aspects
of neuronal functioning, neurofeedback training promotes neuroplasticity, which
can be beneficial in the treatment of substance use disorders. The primary
treatment modalities for neurofeedback when used with substance use disorders
include the Peniston Protocol, the Scott-Kaiser Modification of the Peniston
Protocol, and quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) guided training.
Studies implementing the Peniston Protocol with alcohol dependent individuals
have shown higher abstinence rates and lower levels of depression compared to
traditional treatment. Research on the Scott-Kaiser Modification of the Peniston
Protocol suggests that this protocol is highly successful in terms of retention and
abstinence for a variety of substance use disorders. While few studies have been
conducted on QEEG-guided neurofeedback training, the results of this training
have been comparable to the other two modalities in terms of abstinence rates.
Overall, neurofeedback training appears to be an efficacious treatment modality
that promotes high rates of abstinence for individuals with substance use
disorders.

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