A Deeply Transformational Experience
In Which The Brain Itself Is Healed
Science has increasingly shown us that addiction and related disorders can be cured if their underlying causes are resolved. This is a radical departure from the prevailing model of recovery in which a person can never fully recover. Thanks to advances in the fields of neuroscience and epigenetics, recovery no longer is limited to symptom management and remission. When underlying issues are resolved, addictions, depression, PTSD, anxiety can also be fully resolved. We have embraced this philosophy at The Sanctuary with great success.
To the best of our knowledge, The Sanctuary at Sedona has a truly holistic addiction recovery program unlike any other in the world. We feel that our success is due in large part to our relentless search for what works, and our willingness to apply new science as it is developed. We are very pleased to say that we now have dramatic proof that our program works.
We Know Our Program Works
Gratefully, we’ve long enjoyed the reputation of an effective program. Not only do our clients and their loved ones tell us that our program works, but we have witnessed profound transformations first hand in our day to day work. Now, with a very practical application of neuroscience technology, we have documented the effectiveness of our addiction recovery program. We monitor the electrical activity of brain functioning in our program participants with a non-invasive procedure called Brain Mapping.
Brain Mapping allows us to observe and measure how brainwaves move throughout the brain and at what frequencies. We can also monitor how different parts of the brain communicate with each other. We see brain regions that are over-active, for example, producing particular symptoms of distress, and we see regions that have too little activity, causing deficits and other symptoms. In short, we see clinical issues and symptoms at a neurological level, and over time, we see neurological change as the result of participation in our program. We are very pleased to say that the results have been remarkable. We have found dramatic evidence that our program brings about deep and transformational change in brain functioning. Our program facilitates true addiction recovery, which can be measured.
The Invisible Made Visible
At the beginning of the program, we obtain a Brain Map, or type of EEG from each participant—a Quantitative Electroencephalograph (qEEG), in order to establish a baseline against which future Brain Maps can be compared. We then take another Brain Map at the end of the program and can compare.
Quite simply, Brain Mapping makes an individual’s level of well-being or distress visible in an objective, observable and measurable image of brain activity. Each Brain Map is a snapshot—a depiction of the neurological underpinnings of a person’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state of functioning at any given time.
The initial Brain Maps we obtain from participants show us neurological evidence of the distress they bring with them when they enter our program. We see the neurological workings, for example, of addiction, trauma, depression and anxiety, as well as the specific symptoms of such conditions like the inability to pay attention and to remember, poor impulse control, dysregulated emotion, impaired problem-solving, poor judgment and poor decision-making.
All of these things are characteristics of people in distress who are unable to resolve their problems and live the lives they want to live. Also, conversely, we can clearly see evidence in Brain Maps of more healthful functioning when these issues have been resolved.
The Underlying Causes of Chronic Distress
The neurology of ‘failure patterns’ are evident in Brain Map data (Gunkelman & Cripe, Winter 2008). These are dysfunctional patterns, underlying and internal dynamics that sabotage health and stability. They are the reasons, for example, that we cannot maintain sobriety, overcome depression or resolve a traumatic reaction, no matter how hard we work at it. Unless those underlying patterns are changed, our efforts are manage symptoms at best, leaving the underlying cause unresolved.
Failure patterns are fundamental abnormalities in the rhythms and frequencies of brain functioning. They are reflected in clinical symptoms such as impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, drug cravings, stress intolerance, anxiety and drug seeking behavior—all cardinal aspects of addiction (Alper, Prichep, et al, 1998; Peniston & Kulkosky, 1989; Dehghani-Arani, Rostami, & Nadali, June 2013). When these patterns are altered, not only the symptoms of addiction and related disorders disappear, but so do the conditions themselves.
Dysfunctional neurological patterns can occur in our abilities to regulate emotions and control our behavior, as well as in our thought processes and overall physical well-being (Demos, 2005). They can be pervasive and ‘holistic’ in their deleterious effects, leading to chronic, seemingly intractable problems. Such patterns are the underlying causes of the addictions, related disorders and relapses with which our clients have struggled. They are the reasons people need a truly holistic recovery program.
We Have Proof Our Program Works
The proof our program works lies in the fact that the human brain is plastic. That is, it changes through the natural processes and mechanisms of neuroplasticity, being shaped and molded by environmental factors both inside us and out. New cells and neurons are generated in a process called neurogenesis, for example, and existing structural elements are ‘sprouted’, eliminated or ‘pruned’. The neuroplasticity of the brain, and its processes of neurogenesis, are reflected in the Brain Maps we collect at The Sanctuary. They prove that our program works, and works dramatically.
We provide a comprehensive range of multi-disciplinary interventions that target mental, emotional, physical and spiritual functioning. These ‘environmental’ factors trigger brain alterations, reconfiguring the brain to achieve a state of health in all these realms. We know, for example, that addiction and other conditions such as depression, anxiety and trauma, create specific neurological ‘blueprints’ of disease and symptoms in the brain. Our interventions change those blueprints, and Brain Mapping data confirms it.
The figure below illustrates significant changes in brain functioning for one of our program participants. The Initial Brain Map on the left shows prominent red and yellow areas in the top row of 5 images. These indicate over-activity associated with distress experienced at the program’s start. In comparison, the Final Brain Map on the right was taken at the program’s completion. The bottom 3 rows of images on each Map also reflect significant changes in brain activity configurations between the start of the program and completion of the program.
Holistic, Full and Sustainable Recovery
Full and sustainable recovery is a deeply transformational experience in which the brain itself is healed. Neurological changes have more fundamental and lasting effects than can be attained with only pharmacological or behavioral interventions.
Unless resolved, underlying dysfunctional neurological patterns continue to affect us, eroding even our most significant recovery gains, and undermining our best efforts to be well. Uncomfortable, even distressful sobriety, results from dysfunctional patterns continuing to work in deep layers of the brain. Unfortunately, the result is frequently a return to substance use, and the worsening of related disorders such as depression, anxiety and traumatic reactions.
Brain Mapping has proven that our holistic program gets to the source of the problem. The continuous interaction between mind, body, soul and spirit is the target of all our interventions. We can help you develop a life practice that will take you well beyond the limitations of simply an abstinence or sobriety focus in which you manage symptoms of an illness that never goes away. The Sanctuary at Sedona offers you solutions for the whole person that you are.
Alper, K. S., Prichep, L., Kowali, S., Rosenthal, M., & Roy, J. (1998). Persistent QEEG abnormality in crack cocaine users at 6 months of drug abstinence. Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19, 1-9.
Dehghani-Arani, F., Rostami, R., & Nadali, H. (June 2013 ). Neurofeedback Training for Opiate Addiction: Improvement of Mental Health and Craving. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, 38(2), 133–141.
Demos, J. (2005). Getting Started with Neurofeedback. New York: Norton.
Gunkelman, J., & Cripe, C. (Winter 2008). Clinical Outcomes in Addiction: A Neurofeedback Case Series, 36(4). Biofeedback, 152.
Peniston, E., & Kulkosky, P. (1989). Peniston and Kulkosky 1989Peniston, E. G., & Kulkosky, P. J. (1989). Alpha-Theta Brainwave Training and Beta-Endorphin Levels in Alcoholics . Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 12 (2).
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