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The following are abstracts taken from published studies related to neurofeedback and addiction.

Alternative Substance Addiction Treatment

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2005;31(3):455-69. Links
Scott WC, Kaiser D, Othmer S, Sideroff SI, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA.

Effects of an EEG biofeedback protocol on a mixed substance abusing population

This study examined whether an EEG biofeedback protocol could improve outcome measures for a mixed substance abusing inpatient population. METHOD: One hundred twenty-one volunteers undergoing an inpatient substance abuse program were randomly assigned to the EEG biofeedback or control group. EEG biofeedback included training in Beta and SMR to address attentional variables, followed by an alpha-theta protocol. Subjects received a total of 40 to 50 biofeedback sessions. The control group received additional time in treatment equivalent to experimental procedure time. The Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA), and MMPI, were administered with both tester and subject blind as to group placement to obtain unbiased baseline data. Treatment retention and abstinence rates as well as psychometric and cognitive measures were compared. RESULTS: Experimental subjects remained in treatment significantly longer than the control group (p <0.005). Of the experimental subjects completing the protocol, 77% were abstinent at 12 months, compared to 44% for the controls. Experimental subjects demonstrated significant improvement on the TOVA (p<.005) after an average of 13 beta-SMR sessions. Following alpha-theta training, significant differences were noted on 5 of the 10 MMPI-2 scales at the p<.005 level. CONCLUSIONS: This protocol enhanced treatment retention, variables of attention, and abstinence rates one year following treatment.

Medical Psychotherapy, 1990, Volume 3, pp.37-55
Peniston, EG, Kulkosky, PJ, VA Hospital

Alcoholic Personality and Alpha-Theta Brainwave Training

The MCMI (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory) and the Sixteen personality factor Questionnaire (16PF) were employed to assess personality difference and changes among chronic alcoholics and nonalcoholic controls prior to and after either traditional medical treatment or alpha-theta brainwave training of the alcoholics. On the MCMI prior to treatment, both groups of alcoholics showed significantly higher scores than non-alcoholics on scales measuring factors labeled schizoid, avoidant, passive-aggression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anxiety and dysthymia. Administration of EEG alpha-theta brainwave treatment was accompanied by significant decreases in MCMI scales labeled schizoid, avoidant, passive aggression, schizotypal, borderline, paranoid, anxiety, somatoform, dysthymia, alcohol abuse, psychotic thinking, a and psychotic delusion. Alcoholics receiving standard medical treatment showed significant decreases only in two MCMI scales, avoidant and psychotic thinking and an increase in on scale – compulsive. On the 16 PF prior to treatment, both groups of alcoholics were significantly more affected by feelings, submissive, shy, apprehensive, and tense. EEG alpha-theta brainwave treatment corresponded to significant increases in warmth, abstract thinking, stability, conscientiousness, boldness, imaginativeness, and self-control. Alcoholics receiving tradition medical treatment showed only a significant increase in concrete-thinking. These personality differences and changes in alcoholics are comparable to those previously reported with these instruments, and provide confirmatory evidence that the application of alpha-theta brainwave treatment brainwave treatment produces fundamental changes in alcoholic personality variables. These changes may underlie the sustained prevention of relapse and absence of increases in beta endorphin levels in alcoholics receiving prolonged alpha-theta brainwave training (Peniston and Kulkosky, 1989).

J Clin Psychol. 1995 Sep;51(5):685-93.
Saxby E, Peniston EG. Biofeedback Center, Pacific Grove, CA USA.

Alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training: an effective treatment for male and female alcoholics with depressive symptoms.

This was an experimental study of 14 alcoholic outpatients using the Peniston and Kulkosky (1989, 1991) brainwave treatment protocol for alcohol abuse. After temperature biofeedback pretraining, experimental subjects completed 20 40-minute sessions of alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training (BWNT). Experimentally treated alcoholics with depressive syndrome showed sharp reductions in self-assessed depression (Beck’s Depression Inventory). On the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-I, the experimental subjects showed significant decreases on the BR scores: schizoid, avoidant, dependent, histrionic, passive-aggression, schizotypal, borderline, anxiety, somatoform, hypomanic, dysthmic, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, psychotic thinking, and psychotic depression. Twenty-one-month follow-up data indicated sustained prevention of relapse in alcoholics who completed BWNT.

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2002 Dec;27(4):231-49.
Monastra VJ, Monastra DM, George S. FPI Attention Disorders Clinic, Endicott, New York USA

The effects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Note that many addicts have ADD or ADHD

One hundred children, ages 6-19, who were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), either inattentive or combined types, participated in a study examining the effects of Ritalin, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of ADHD. All of the patients participated in a 1-year, multimodal, outpatient program that included Ritalin, parent counseling, and academic support at school (either a 504 Plan or an IEP). Fifty-one of the participants also received EEG biofeedback therapy. Posttreatment assessments were conducted both with and without stimulant therapy. Significant improvement was noted on the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA; L. M. Greenberg, 1996) and the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale (ADDES; S. B. McCarney, 1995) when participants were tested while using Ritalin. However, only those who had received EEG biofeedback sustained these gains when tested without Ritalin. The results of a Quantitative Electroencephalographic Scanning Process (QEEG-Scan; V. J. Monastra et al., 1999) revealed significant reduction in cortical slowing only in patients who had received EEG biofeedback. Behavioral measures indicated that parenting style exerted a significant moderating effect on the expression of behavioral symptoms at home but not at school.

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2003 Mar;28(1):1-12.
Fuchs T, Birbaumer N, Lutzenberger W, Gruzelier JH, Kaiser J. Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, Eberhard-Karls-University, Gartenstr. 29, 72074 Tubingen, Germany.

Neurofeedback treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children: a comparison with methylphenidate.

Clinical trials have suggested that neurofeedback may be efficient in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We compared the effects of a 3-month electroencephalographic feedback program providing reinforcement contingent on the production of cortical sensorimotor rhythm (12-15 Hz) and betal activity (15-18 Hz) with stimulant medication. Participants were N = 34 children aged 8-12 years, 22 of which were assigned to the neurofeedback group and 12 to the methylphenidate group according to their parents’ preference. Both neurofeedback and methylphenidate were associated with improvements on all subscales of the Test of Variables of Attention, and on the speed and accuracy measures of the d2 Attention Endurance Test. Furthermore, behaviors related to the disorder were rated as significantly reduced in both groups by both teachers and parents on the IOWA-Conners Behavior Rating Scale. These findings suggest that neurofeedback was efficient in improving some of the behavioral concomitants of ADHD in children whose parents favored a nonpharmacological treatment.