The efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in addiction treatment
Severe and long-term alcohol or drug use often leads to loss of brain function relating to cell death. Research indicates that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can help accelerate brain recovery and assist addicts whose brains have been damaged from years of substance abuse.
Oxygen is the natural antibiotic of the body. It helps the damaged bodies of drug and alcohol addicts to recover by speeding up the healing process. When the absorption of oxygen is increased, it can reduce the time toxic substances remain in the brain. For instance, alcohol and drug abuse can result in the buildup of aldehydes and acids in the brain. HBOT can help clear the body of these toxins, and is a useful component of drug and alcohol detoxification.
Hyperbaric Oxygen is an effective tool the recovering brain needs to heal itself.
Long-term substance abuse and prolonged prescription medication use can damage cells in the brain, especially in the frontal lobe where strategic thinking and decision making takes place. Clinicians have reported that HBOT shows promising results in helping patients with traumatic brain injuries, since it is a therapy that can deliver oxygen to the brain in places not reachable when breathing at sea level.
A simple brain-imaging scan can show the areas of the brain that have been damaged from addiction. Those are the areas that haven’t been getting enough blood flow, thus not enough oxygen. The damaged cells are also unable to detoxify properly, which slows down the brain’s healing process.
However, this can be changed after 20-40 oxygen therapy treatments, when the blood flow in the patient’s brain increases. The improved blood flow in this areas supplies the cells with the needed nutrients they need to heal themselves. After only 10 treatments many patients report better memory, higher energy levels and an overall sense of well-being.
Most illnesses and injuries caused by addiction occur and last at cellular or tissue level. So, the healing process of the body cannot take place without appropriate oxygen levels in tissues. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy provides that extra oxygen naturally and with minimal side effects. It improves the quality of life of people in recovery in many ways in which standard medicine is not working.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helps to:
- decrease swellings and inflammation
- help damaged liver, pancreas and brain heal
- help the detoxification process in body cells
- help the detoxification process in brain cells
- improve circulation in damaged tissues
- improve sleep patterns
- normalize enzyme systems in the organism
- reduce cravings
- regenerate tissues
- stimulate the appetite
Moreover, if used in conjunction with cognitive and behavioral therapies, HBOT has shown remarkable benefits in treating the brain and body damages from years of substance abuse.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and the Treatment of Addiction
Addiction and physical dependence lead to withdrawal symptoms when you quit taking your substance of choice. The most frequently experienced addiction withdrawal symptoms include:
- body aches and pains
- changes in heart rate
- difficulty concentrating
- weight gain or weight loss
When detox begins, the discomfort, severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can quickly lead to relapse. However, when the course of withdrawal is altered, as with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, it is possible to improve chances of success and reduce of the risk of relapse.
HBOT helps with the detoxification processes in body by opening up the circulation into damaged tissues and normalizing various enzyme systems. Then, a healed and metabolically healthy cell will be able to participate in the required chemical steps to detox the brain and help reduce cravings.
Studies and Reviews
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Pain, Opioid Withdrawal, and Related Symptoms: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for ischaemia of the hand due to intraarterial injection of methadone and flunitrazepam
- Quantification of neurocognitive changes before, during, and after hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a case of fetal alcohol syndrome
- Hyperbaric oxygenation in the treatment of patients with drug addiction, narcotic addiction and alcoholism in the post-intoxication and abstinence periods
Jane Brown Sparks: 57 years old, mother of two boys
My name is Jane Brown Sparks. I am from Newfound Lake which is located in Bristol NH. My dear friend since childhood offered me the opportunity to use HBOT for the past 3 years. As much as I wanted to do the treatments, the fear of the commitment and the unknown variables kept me away until my life and health was at “crisis level” mid February this year.
I am a Woman in long term Recovery, which means that I have not found it necessary to use alcohol or mind altering drugs since February 5, 2009. My Recovery from Substance Misuse has been extremely gratifying on many levels, however challenging at times as well. Recovery has been progressive with the use of many pathways, including 12 step meetings, prayer, meditation, yoga etc. However, approaching my 9 year anniversary this year it was evident that I was still suffering from many symptoms from my overall abuse to my body over a lifetime.
My boys are grown and I have a Granddaughter and a Grandson on the way—it was imperative that I needed to let go of my job and current lifestyle and whole heartedly commit to the HBOT and an overall awareness to my total Wellbeing.
Some of my glaring symptoms were:
- Foggy brain and vision,
- inability to sleep more than 2-3 hours,
- chronic fatigue and need for at least 1 nap per day to make it through the day,
- cravings for unhealthy foods and behaviors that were detrimental to my overall wellbeing,
- depression and anxiety,
- low energy,
- the inability to execute simple everyday functions,
- unhealthy blood work,
- aches and pains in my joints and overall body.
Some of the changes I incorporated, to get the most out of my hyperbaric oxygen treatments were:
The first couple of weeks were challenging as I was settling in to the treatments and constructing an overall lifestyle change.
- Healthy clean eating
- Daily supplements
- Journaling with gratitude
- Daily attendance at 12 step meetings
- Listening to my body and resting when needed
The most beneficial immediate result from the treatments was the ability to sleep peacefully through the night. If I woke I could easily get back to sleep. With this consistent sleep and clean eating I was able to begin to heal on a very deep cellular level…I could feel it!!!
As I just finished my 40th dive yesterday, I feel renewed in so many ways! Completing this 2 month – 40 dive protocol in itself is a true testament to the benefits of this treatment, as it was extremely difficult for me to finish any project and certainly not a 2 month commitment. I also worked diligently on reading and studying a book by Deepak Chopra that I have been trying to finish for a couple years….
- Sleep through the night and no longer need a daily nap
- Over all body aches and pain relating to inflammation are gone
- My thinking is much clearer
- I can focus at the project at hand
- My vision is great, I can see long distance now with no glasses (I understand this is only temporary)
- My attention span has greatly increased
- I no longer take depression/anxiety medications
- I no longer need Benadryl to get to sleep at night
- My cravings for unhealthy foods and behaviors that are not promoting my wellbeing are for the most part nonexistent.
- I am able to listen to my body with awareness of its needs.
- My overall awareness of my total well being is acute and allows me to make better choices
- My awareness and clear thinking is helping me to take a closer look at some of the deep rooted issues associated with my alcohol and drug misuse over my lifetime.
I would definitely recommend HBOT to anyone looking to enhance their Recovery from the physical, mental and emotional damage from Alcohol and drug misuse.
The deep cellular healing that the treatments have provided; have allowed my body to heal on a daily basis. As I transition home in the next few days, I am confident that the healing will continue and to lead me on this new path of awareness and overall total well being.
My overall well being has allowed me to refocus on my recovery with the clarity and energy I so desperately have been searching for.
Lastly, it is with deep gratitude, that I thank my dear friends for opening their hearts and home and allowing this transformation healing time for me. The Oxygen Oasis team, Vicky, Jason, Brian and Melissa, each made me feel part of the family as soon as I walked in the door. Each, in their own way have played an integral part on my healing journey. You will all walk with me in my heart each and every day.