In recent years, society has made a clear paradigm shift in how we discuss mental health. As increased awareness and sensitivity slowly outpace long-held stigma, relief becomes more accessible. Still, healing from addiction and other mental issues can be the challenge of a lifetime, and battling any residual, socialized shame can feel exhausting.
Fortunately, new neurotechnology treatment options can bring a sense of ease and relief to your recovery. These new technologies can leverage neuroplasticity to rewire your brain in ways that promote healing beyond prescriptions and talk therapy alone.
What is Neuroplasticity?
Your brain is affected by your environment, just like any other organ in your body. But your brain can also change and adapt over time in response to new stimuli. Researchers have studied this ability, called neuroplasticity, along with its impact on both healthy and diseased brains.
Research often focuses on neuroplasticity in the early stages of child development; the experiences we have in the first few years of life have lasting effects on the structural and functional growth of the brain. Some of the most significant influences include:
- Parent-child relationships
- Exposure to sensory situations, such as learning a language or emotional cues
As we age, various factors like stress, addiction, anxiety, and depression damage our neurotransmitters and limit our capacity for healthy neuroplasticity. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that make up the electrical network inside the brain – they’re responsible for everything we do and think, consciously and unconsciously. Damaged neurotransmitters create chemical imbalances that disrupt healthy brain activity.
But growing evidence suggests that we can encourage neuroplasticity even as we age using various techniques and lifestyle changes, including meditation, talk therapy, and neurotechnology. These modalities can regulate brain activity and “rewire the brain,” opening the door for new opportunities, new behaviors, and new levels of healing.
What Is Neurotechnology?
While traditional treatments such as talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle interventions can go a long way in alleviating the symptoms of mental health issues, they don’t address the root issues. Exhausting the more traditional methods without relief can make people feel even more conflicted, adding more frustration to an already draining experience.
Fortunately, alternative neurotechnology treatments are becoming more mainstream. Neurotechnology, in simple terms, is any modality or technology that works with the nervous system to regulate brain function,
Every day, more and more research points to the efficacy of innovative neurotechnologies like deep TMS, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ketamine-assisted therapy, and neurofeedback. These modalities can be especially powerful for clients with treatment-resistant conditions.
Neurotechnology gives clients the freedom to create a balanced treatment plan with healthcare providers. Together, they can incorporate traditional methods alongside cutting-edge neurotechnology for a truly custom healing protocol that relieves their symptoms and treats the root causes of mental health issues.
It’s important to understand that although these treatments exist outside the scope of “traditional” medicine, they are still tested rigorously in clinical trials for safety and efficacy for both FDA-approved and off-label treatment indications. Let’s take a closer look at each modality and how it helps rewire the brain.
What Is Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (or deep TMS) is an FDA-approved, non-invasive brain stimulation technique that uses pulsed magnetic fields to regulate the brain’s production of neurotransmitters. This technology can be a lifesaving option for people who have struggled with treatment-resistant depression or addiction.
Deep TMS alters neural pathways and signals for more optimal brain activity. Each TMS helmet contains BrainsWay’s unique, patented H-coil technology and directly stimulates specific brain regions associated with various mental health conditions.
Benefits of Deep TMS
Deep TMS can improve mood and mental stability. Clients may also notice increases in the following:
- Initiation and ability to maintain sleep
- Stress tolerance
- Motivation and focus
- Better social connections
Deep TMS is FDA-approved for the clinical treatment of:
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Anxious depression
- Smoking addiction
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Deep TMS is entirely non-invasive and painless. During each session, you’ll sit on a chair with a cushioned helmet over your head. The procedure doesn’t involve any injection or incision and requires virtually no recovery time after a session.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is another emerging technology that can help treat mental health issues. HBOT chambers saturate the air with therapeutic levels of oxygen. As you breathe in, your blood cells distribute oxygen-rich plasma throughout the body to decrease inflammation and promote healing.
The extra oxygen supplies damaged tissues, wounds, and areas of low circulation with more oxygen. This process:
- Reduces swelling
- Kills bacteria
- Creates new blood vessels
- Promotes overall healing
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
HBOT can be helpful for people with depression associated with specific medical issues because it stimulates the immune system, alleviates inflammation and pain, and promotes healing.
Studies show HBOT improves blood flow to the brain, stimulating healing and symptom relief for people struggling with various mental health issues. This modality addresses the root cause of ailments, making it an effective treatment for concussions, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
While HBOT cannot completely reverse brain damage, it can prompt significant repairs to damaged tissues and facilitate healthy cell growth. HBOT initiates processes that contribute to healing brain damage, which is where traditional medicine often falls short.
What Is Ketamine-Assisted Therapy?
Doctors first noted ketamine’s potential as a mental health aid after patients recovering from battlefield surgery reported rapid relief from depression symptoms. With additional research, scientists found ketamine could quickly reduce depressive symptoms and provide much-needed relief for clients struggling with suicidality.
Ketamine is most commonly delivered in a higher dose using a nasal spray, nebulizer, IV, pill, or transdermal patch. Providers can tailor each client’s dosage based on their needs; at higher doses, patients can experience the full dissociative effects of this psychoactive chemical.
Benefits of Ketamine-Assisted Therapy
During ketamine treatments, people with anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder can let their guard down or access distressing memories without feeling overwhelmed. Ketamine serves as a therapy incubator, allowing you and your therapist to gain a deeper level of trust and understanding rapidly, paving the way for future success.
Ketamine-assisted healing and therapy can be used as an off-label treatment for:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
In 2019, the FDA approved the nasal spray form of esketamine to treat depression in adults with treatment-resistant depression in conjunction with an oral antidepressant.
Ketamine has been called the “anti-medication” medication because most clients notice improvements in mental health symptoms during treatment rather than after a few months. Clients are more likely to achieve long-lasting results when combining ketamine-assisted therapy with continued psychotherapy.
What Is Neurofeedback?
Simply put, neurofeedback creates a feedback loop that teaches the brain to heal using neuroplasticity.
During each session, a provider places electrodes on the scalp and earlobes to measure electrical signals in the brain. The electrodes send data to a computer that translates brainwave activity into images and sounds tailored to teach the brain how to function better while building new neural pathways that support and promote this new way of behaving.
As the brain learns and builds on new input, it becomes more effective and creates long-lasting, often permanent results. When your brain learns to function better, you start to feel better.
Benefits of Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback can help with a wide range of symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults, including:
- Behavior disorders
- Developmental delays
- Brain injuries
- Cognitive loss
- Anxiety, trauma, and stress
- Attention deficits (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Depression and suicidal ideations
- Postpartum Depression (PPD) and birth trauma
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Neurofeedback can also:
- Improve outcomes in drug and alcohol treatment
- Stabilize and regulate emotions
- Promote better sleep, mood, mental clarity, and memory
- Improve attention, focus, and impulse control, even for people with ADHD
Plus, neurofeedback comes with the benefits of relatively minimal side effects and immediate relief with long-lasting results. Each session takes no more than one hour, and neurofeedback is safe and FDA-approved for stress reduction.
Neurotechnology: Low Risk, High Reward
Deep TMS, HBOT, ketamine-assisted therapy, and neurofeedback are low-risk treatment options with minimal side effects. Your providers will work with you to minimize potential risks with a series of preventative strategies and ongoing support from your treatment team.
Neurotechnology can offer life-changing relief for some debilitating mental conditions. As the existing pool of research grows, evidence points towards a growing array of mental illnesses responding to various neurotechnologies.
Plus by APN Neurotechnology
The best time to treat and address mental health issues is before they can progress – like regular maintenance to keep your system in check. But even when our systems become dysregulated, we can find a better balance with healthy lifestyle choices, medication, therapy, and alternative neurotechnology treatments.
If you’d like to learn more about the various neurotechnologies and traditional treatment options used at All Points North, call us at 855.235.9792 or start a conversation now using our online contact form. We offer deep TMS, HBOT, ketamine-assisted therapy, neurofeedback, and stellate ganglion blocks at our Plus by APN treatment centers in Colorado, California, and beyond.
No matter what treatments you’ve tried in the past, there is a path forward, and we can help.