What is 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 patients 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
- normalyze 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, etc.
When detox begins, the discomfort, severity and durtion 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.