Addiction Treatment

Is Biofeedback Therapy for Anxiety Helpful in Addiction Treatment?

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Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When it comes to fighting against addiction, sometimes you must think outside the box. Traditional drug and alcohol rehab works for some, while medication-assisted treatment works for others. Some people go to meetings and others to church.

One of the growing fields working to help people overcome their addiction is biofeedback therapy for anxiety.

What Is Biofeedback Therapy?

When the body is stressed, it has a range of involuntary reactions. Your breathing becomes more rapid, as does your heart beat. Your temperature and blood pressure increase, and you may experience sweating and muscle contractions.

When these involuntary bodily functions happen, they tend to create more stress. And that’s where biofeedback therapy for anxiety comes in. Biofeedback therapy tracks these involuntary body reactions and shows them to you in a live visual representation of flashing lights, sounds, or images. That way, when you see these things happening, you can utilize stress-reducing techniques to reduce anxiety levels and help the body return to baseline.

What does It Have to Do with Addiction?

When people are going through drug or alcohol withdrawal, the body goes through these same involuntary reactions, and without intervention, the responses get worse, creating more anxiety and stress on both the body and mind. But by utilizing biofeedback, withdrawal symptoms can be reduced, making the experience more bearable and making success more likely.

Biofeedback therapy for anxiety can also provide a much needed release for those who feel other addiction treatment options are not appropriate. That’s why it’s often recommended for the following populations:

  • Pregnant women, as taking other addiction medications may cause pregnancy risks
  • Those who’ve attempted and failed at medication assisted treatment in the past
  • Those who want to get clean without the assistance of medication
  • Those with certain mental health disorders can experience an increase in dual treatment benefits

How does It Work?

When you visit a doctor or therapist certified in biofeedback therapy, you’ll be hooked up to the biofeedback machine and initial body responses will be determined. An individualized treatment plan will be developed based on your specific results. You’ll learn different techniques to use when faced with stress, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, or cravings.

These can include mindful meditation where you intentionally release negative emotions; physically releasing tension in muscles throughout your body; or imagining soothing and positive images and scenes.

Depending on your specific needs, the treatment length can last between 10 and 50 sessions and patients can expect to see improvements with anxiety, depression, muscle pain, and restlessness.

Are You Interested in Biofeedback Therapy for Addiction?

Have you tried to get clean before and failed? Are you struggling with withdrawal symptoms and cravings? Maybe it’s time to consider biofeedback therapy for anxiety to help you fight back against your addiction.

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For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.