APEX Brain Centers

The Role of Neurofeedback in Addiction Recovery

Neurofeedback plays a crucial role in addiction recovery as a non-invasive, drug-free technique that enables individuals to gain awareness and control over their brain activity. By assessing a person’s brainwave activity, this treatment method helps individuals learn how to change their brain function and improve self-regulation. In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we focus on providing comprehensive care to address the needs of individuals with various cognitive and behavioral disorders, including addiction.

Research has shown that neurofeedback can be effective in helping with substance use disorders, depression, PTSD, and ADHD. We utilize a combination of functional neurology, low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and neurofeedback as part of our comprehensive care for individuals seeking help in their addiction recovery journey. Additionally, we employ balance and vestibular therapies, eye movement rehabilitation, frequency-based modalities, metabolic and nutritional therapies, and home care programs to support recovery and promote optimum mental health.

In essence, neurofeedback assists individuals in better understanding how their brain works and empowers them to control it to achieve the desired outcomes, or to effectively suppress unwanted behaviors. By bringing the brain into a healthy electrical state, it can potentially overcome its dysregulation and dysfunction, significantly contributing to addiction recovery and a higher quality of life. Our experience for the past two decades has shown that mental health services become significantly more impactful when combined with functional neurology assessments and interventions, making neurofeedback a valuable tool in the addiction recovery process.

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Understanding Neurofeedback

Concept and Components

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive technique for optimizing brain function by helping individuals learn how to self-regulate their brain activity. At its core, neurofeedback involves the use of an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor brain waves in real-time, allowing the person to receive feedback on their brainwave patterns and make adjustments accordingly.

EEG Biofeedback and Brain Wave

EEG biofeedback, or neurotherapy, is also known as neurofeedback. By placing electrodes on the scalp and measuring electrical activity produced by the brain, we can obtain real-time information about the person’s brainwave patterns. This information allows us to identify any irregularities or imbalances in brain function and networks and helps the individual learn how to modulate their brain activity for improved cognitive performance and overall well-being.

Various types of brain waves, such as delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma, have different frequencies and are associated with different mental states, such as relaxation, focus, or deep sleep. By monitoring and adjusting these brain wave patterns during neurofeedback sessions, we can help individuals achieve better self-regulation, which can be especially beneficial for those struggling with addiction, anxiety, or other neurological issues.

Neurofeedback as a Non-Invasive Treatment

In Addiction Therapy

At APEX Brain Centers, we use neurofeedback as a non-invasive, non-medication-based approach to addiction recovery. This method assists individuals in consciously controlling their brain waves, which can help alleviate some of the negative effects of substance abuse on the nervous system1. Neurofeedback has shown promising results in reducing drug-seeking symptoms, improving mental health, and promoting longer periods of abstinence1.

For Anxiety and Depression

Neurofeedback has also been proven beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety and depression, which are closely linked to addictive and compulsive behaviors. By monitoring and modulating brain wave patterns, we can help our clients regulate their emotions, improve their focus, and achieve greater mental stability.

Incorporating neurofeedback alongside our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies can significantly enhance the impact of more traditional mental health services in treating anxiety and depression. 

Role of Neurofeedback in Addiction Recovery

At APEX Brain Centers, we have found that neurofeedback can play a crucial role in addiction recovery. In this section, we will go over how neurofeedback is used for substance use, combating relapse and cravings, and its benefits for alcohol and cocaine addiction.

Neurofeedback for Substance Use

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive process that helps individuals learn to control their brainwaves consciously by providing audio or visual feedback. This form of therapy has been shown to improve mental health symptoms in individuals struggling with substance use disorders1. Learning to self-regulate is one of the core components of successful recovery. 

Combatting Relapse and Cravings

Relapse and cravings are common challenges faced by individuals dealing with addiction. Neurofeedback has the potential to help by targeting the physiological aspects of addiction, thus reducing the symptoms and risk of relapse2. In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we focus on providing comprehensive care to address the needs of individuals with substance use disorders, employing neurofeedback as a key component in the addiction recovery process, in addition to other brain-based modalities focused on improving learning and behavior.

Benefits for Alcohol and Cocaine Addiction

Research has shown that neurofeedback training can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with alcohol and cocaine addiction3. When combined with our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies, such as low-level laser therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the overall effectiveness of addiction recovery efforts is significantly enhanced.

Neurofeedback Training and Self-Regulation

Neurofeedback training plays an integral role in helping individuals with addiction recovery by teaching them to self-regulate brain functions.

Improving Focus

One of the key areas that neurofeedback training targets is the improvement of focus. By monitoring brain wave activities and providing real-time audio or visual feedback, we help our clients learn to control their brain activity and achieve a more focused state. This improved focus can lead to better decision-making, impulse control, increased self-awareness, and ultimately, a more successful recovery from addiction.

Some of the techniques we use to improve focus through neurofeedback training involve setting specific goals, providing rewards for achieving these goals and applying positive reinforcement. These methods are designed to encourage our clients to continually work on their focus, ultimately helping them to better self-regulate their brain functions.

Aiding Sleep Regulation

Another important aspect of neurofeedback training is its ability to aid in sleep regulation. Sleep disturbances are common in individuals with addiction, and addressing these issues is a crucial part of the recovery process. A sleep deprived brain is unable to combat the challenges of addiction! By using neurofeedback to analyze brain wave patterns, we can identify any irregularities and develop personalized training programs to help our clients establish healthy sleep patterns.

By focusing on these key areas of self-regulation, we at APEX Brain Centers are committed to helping individuals through addiction recovery in the most effective way possible. Our neurofeedback training, along with our other comprehensive therapies, work in harmony to create a supportive environment for lasting change and recovery.

Neurofeedback and Associated Mental Health Disorders

At APEX Brain Centers, we also recognize the potential of neurofeedback in addressing various mental health disorders associated with addiction. In this section, we will focus on two key conditions where neurofeedback has shown promising results: ADHD and impulsivity, and PTSD and trauma.

ADHD and Impulsivity

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent condition characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In our practice, we have observed the effectiveness of neurofeedback in helping with ADHD symptoms, particularly impulsivity. Neurofeedback allows individuals to gain control over their brainwaves, guiding them towards healthier patterns, and ultimately influencing their behavior and cognitive functioning.

PTSD and Trauma

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can emerge from experiencing a traumatic event and often manifests in symptoms such as flashbacks, emotional disturbance, avoidance behaviors, and substance use. At APEX Brain Centers, we employ neurofeedback as an essential part of our approach to helping those with PTSD. By monitoring an individual’s brainwave patterns and providing real-time feedback, we can enable them to develop greater control and regulation over their brain activity and resultant behavioral actions.

Our comprehensive care approach also encompasses functional neurological therapies, eye movement rehabilitation and frequency-based modalities, alongside metabolic and nutritional therapies, and home care programs to support recovery. We believe that our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies make other mental health services more effective and highlight the critical importance of combining functional neurology assessments and interventions in treating PTSD and trauma-related conditions.

We remain dedicated to the mission of APEX Brain Centers, which focuses on providing targeted care to address various cognitive impairments and learning and behavioral disorders, such as PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, addiction, and more. By leveraging the potential of neurofeedback and other therapies, we aim to empower individuals on their journey toward recovery and optimal mental health.

Research and Studies on Neurofeedback

Study Design and Findings

Neurofeedback has been studied for its potential to help with addiction recovery. A meta-analysis of neurofeedback for treating substance use disorders collected data from a vast number of databases and repositories. This comprehensive analysis aimed to assess the efficacy of neurofeedback in individuals with substance use disorders.

The findings from various studies show promising evidence for the effectiveness of neurofeedback in reducing symptoms related to addiction by teaching individuals how to regulate their brainwave patterns. In a study on neurofeedback training for opiate addiction, it was found that the experimental group achieved improvement in certain aspects such as somatic (body) symptoms, depression, and general mental health scores. They also experienced a reduction in their desire to use opioids, relief from withdrawal symptoms, and an increase in positive outcome expectations.

Real-Life Success Stories

Evidence of real-life success with neurofeedback and addiction recovery can be found through numerous testimonials and case studies. Patients have reported improvements in their mental health and overall well-being, as well as a reduction in substance use. Furthermore, many of these individuals have been able to sustain these improvements long-term, emphasizing the lasting impact of incorporating neurofeedback into their recovery process.

At APEX Brain Centers, we combine our two decades of experience with functional neurology assessments and interventions to make mental health services significantly more impactful. We have seen numerous success stories from patients who have undergone neurofeedback sessions as part of their recovery plan, and we are confident in the potential of this therapeutic approach to help individuals overcome addiction and achieve better mental health.

Prospects and Future Directions

At APEX Brain Centers, we are committed to enhancing our understanding of the benefits of neurofeedback in helping with addiction and recovery. Future directions in this domain include exploring the potential of customizing neurofeedback protocols to address specific addiction-related brain dysfunction, ultimately leading to a more targeted and individualized approach.

One of the promising prospects lies in combining various neurofeedback techniques, such as alpha training, alpha/theta training, and sensorimotor rhythm (SMR)/beta training, particularly in drug addiction treatment. This combined approach may help optimize balance in the affected areas of the brain and improve overall brain function. Incorporating such techniques into our comprehensive care strategy could not only address addiction-related issues but also enhance the overall effectiveness of other therapies we provide.

Another area of exploration is the potential role of neurofeedback in addressing compulsive behaviors, such as substance use and overeating. Emerging research highlights evidence of shared brain functions and morphologies (relationships), indicating that neurofeedback could be a valuable tool in helping individuals struggling with these issues.

With advances in technology and a growing body of research, we are optimistic that the applications of neurofeedback within the realm of addiction recovery will continue to expand and evolve. Complementing our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies with the latest neurofeedback findings will ultimately enhance the holistic care we provide, offering individuals a better chance at overcoming addiction, improving their mental health, and reclaiming control over their lives.


  1. Neurofeedback Training for Opiate Addiction: Improvement of Mental … ↩

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

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