Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplasticity

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Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplasticity

Postby jadinet on August 8th, 2015, 7:03 pm 

The idea of not relying on drugs is so interesting. This neuroscientist actually just gave a talk about ways to fix depression/addiction/mental illness without any drugs: http://bit.ly/1D1Y5BE (youtube video "Neurohacking: rewiring your brain | Don Vaughn | TEDxUCLA")

In the video he suggests that one of the best ways to move forward and combat issues such as drug addiction and mental illnesses is by taking advantage of neural plasticity and changing parts of the brain that are responsible for these illnesses. Unlike drugs, this results in little to no side effects and is a lot less broad. Although this is very new technology test have shown nearly 33% remission rate for treatment-resistant depression - which is depression where patients have seen no relief from therapy, they've seen no relief from anti depressants, and they’re running out of options.

He goes on to discuss ways this can be used to help the brain rewire itself which can be helpful for drug addicts or alcoholics. If given the example of cocaine addiction, they show subjects luring images of cocaine to induce their craving networks and then present them with real-time feedback of what their brain is doing. The idea is that they ask people to surf their mental landscape and do whatever it is they need to do to make the craving go down, which essentially is exploiting whatever conscious control and probably in most cases unconscious control that you have over your own brain to rewire it intelligently at just the right times.

Just wondering what everyones thoughts are on this, and how feasible you think it is??
Last edited by zetreque on August 8th, 2015, 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplastic

Postby CanadysPeak on August 8th, 2015, 7:09 pm 

There is a ton of research going on about this, at some respectable places like CMU, MIT, NIH, mass General, etc. It certainly looks promising, but I am not smart enough to critically judge this. Perhaps Neuro?
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Re: Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplastic

Postby BioWizard on August 17th, 2015, 3:09 pm 

I don't know enough to comment critically either, but it's definitely a fascinating area. It's basically using the readout from the brain to make it perceive itself as yet another organ that it can learn to control how it controls it(self). Geez.

The presentation itself was a bit of a snooze though (sorry).
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Re: Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplastic

Postby Palladium106 on August 26th, 2015, 6:45 am 

Haven't watched. Is this considered a form of biofeedback?

The title is misleading. I have been addicted to pain killers, so it is with both experience and literature that when it comes to neuro plasticity, non drug based therapies, my vote goes to meditation.

This idea yourlve linked does sound v interesting. But I wonder how necessary the brain imaging really is. How much of the effect is due to mindfulness training (a la CBT)?
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Re: Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplastic

Postby BioWizard on August 26th, 2015, 7:47 pm 

Palladium106 » 26 Aug 2015 05:45 am wrote:But I wonder how necessary the brain imaging really is. How much of the effect is due to mindfulness training (a la CBT)?


I guess it makes it easier/faster for the person to learn which thought patterns are associated with the desired brain activity profile.
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Re: Overcoming addiction/mental illnesses with neuralplastic

Postby neuro on August 27th, 2015, 12:34 pm 

Well, you do not actually need to be consciously educating yourself.

The biofeedback aspect tends to bypass conscious evaluation (more like the behavioral than the cognitive part of CBT) and certainly makes learning (and the corresponding necessary neural plastic changes in the brain) more fast and efficient.
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