Recently the Surgeon General of the United States has said addiction is a medical problem. It is a new concept to some that addiction is a neurobehavioral condition rather than a character flaw. Addiction has been defined as “a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.”

Addiction has a tendency to occur with other conditions. The co-morbid conditions that are sometimes found with addiction include ADD (attention deficit disorder), mild Traumatic Brain Injury and anxiety disorders. Brain mapping can help detect poorly functioning areas of the brain with all of these conditions and offer a targeted treatment process.

We have worked with addiction cases for almost a decade. There are findings in the brain we often see. In most addiction cases, we often see low alpha waves. Alpha waves (8-12 hertz) are called the feel good wave and are raised in the short term when people use and abuse. Beta waves (13-30 hertz) are associated with the executive functions of the body. When we balance these two brain waves with an advanced form of neurofeedback, we often have success in helping those dealing with addiction.

There is research to back up everything I have written. Researchers Finn and Justus found “Abnormalities in resting EEG are highly heritable traits, and are often associated with a predisposition to alcoholism development.” So we can determine that there are often identifiable markers in these cases and we can correct these abnormalities with neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is defined as the retraining of brain waves by use of computer.

The Luigjes research group recently found neurofeedback was “shown to have positive effects on drug use, treatment compliance and cue reactivity in patients with cocaine and alcohol dependence.” This is very exciting news for those in the addiction arena. We can often manage and correct the areas of the brain thought to be responsible for the addiction process. Deghani-Arani, Rostami, and Nadali (2013) found neurofeedback is effective as a therapeutic method in opiate dependence model.

The first step in seeing if this new approach works for you is getting a brain map. Brain maps allow us to find if there is a neurological reason behind the addiction. Chronic drug use causes alteration in brain activity that we can pick up on brain maps. The mapping process itself is a painless, 15 minute, computerized recording of brain waves.

We sometimes find other factors involved as well. These factors can include poor cerebellar health, poor fuel delivery to the brain, improper gut health and nutrition that is not correct for the individual. For more information about our process or to make an appointment, call us at The Martin Clinic at 770.237.3970 or check us out at We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals.