Prior to the advent of effective drug therapy for serious mental illness, which started to come into force during the 1940s, those suffering from diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were usually confined to state mental hospitals, often against their will. While this was a workable solution for society as a whole, allowing for society to essentially lock away and forget about those who could not conform to its standards, it was far from an ideal solution. Many wanted to end the state hospital system. But without a way to allow people to become able to function at a minimally acceptable level in society, there was little hope.
That began to change with the advent of antipsychotic, antidepressant and potent anxiolytic medications. These drugs became more widely available in the 1950s. By the 1960s, there were sufficiently powerful drugs that were able to treat a sufficiently wide array of mental disturbances that the old dream of dismantling the state hospital system was on the brink of becoming a reality. By the 1980s, there were few state hospitals left. And the vast majority of those who would have been locked away against their will due to serious mental illness were going about living fairly normal, productive lives.
However, over the last 30 years, there has been increasing concern about the long-term negative effects that some of the drugs that are used to treat mental illness can have. Nowhere has this been truer than in the case of attention deficit and hyperactive disorder (ADHD). While ADHD was not widely recognised as a serious mental illness until the 1960s, it has gained more and more recognition as a leading cause of academic failure and the resulting socioeconomic decline for many people.
ADHD is a leading cause of learning disability and has been identified as a major factor in students not making it through high school. In an increasingly advanced and technology-based economy, this puts millions of people at an almost fatal disadvantage.
Meanwhile, psychiatry has found a class of drugs, known as amphetamines, that are highly effective at treating ADHD. Because people suffering from ADHD are often just as intelligent as other students, once the condition is brought under control, people suffering from ADHD are sometimes able to perform at the same academic level as their peers. This has created huge demand for the amphetamine-based drugs and their analogues, such as Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin, that have proven so effective at treating this illness.
But like with other serious mental conditions, it turns out that the miracle drugs that have proven so effective in combating these conditions often have pronounced and even dangerous side effects. In the case of ADHD, the drugs used to treat the condition are chemically and pharmacologically little different from hardcore street drugs like crystal meth. This means that the potential for abuse with these drugs is particularly high. And abusing these drugs carries serious risk of developing everything from heart attack to a particularly high-grade delirium known as amphetamine psychosis.
These risks have meant that experts, parents and patients alike have all been intensely searching for a potential alternative to drug therapy that is equally effective in treating ADHD.
Now, Neurocore, a company dedicated to drug-free treatment of mental disorders using the scientific concept of neurofeedback, has developed a breakthrough treatment that may provide the answer that these people have been looking for. Neurocore uses a 100% science-based approach to treat mental conditions at the neurological level. And it does so without the use of any drugs or other agents.
This new approach uses the science of neuroplasticity to combat inappropriate brain responses to stimuli in the environment. Through a patented training regime, which only takes 45 minutes per session, the programme is able to begin to rewire the way that the brain responds to everyday stimuli. It turns out that many of the most serious mental illnesses are, at their core, little more than inappropriate brain responses to quotidian things. For example, in the case of mania, the company has identified specific brainwave patterns that occur in manic populations and that don’t occur in normal subjects. In lay terms, the brains of people in a state of mania are moving too fast to the given stimuli.
The speed metaphor can also be used to describe what happens in ADHD where people’s brains are moving too fast. In many of these cases, the mental illness is as if the people’s brains were reacting in the way a normal person’s brain would if they were being attacked by a bear. But the person with the mental condition may simply be watching television when this brain activity is seen.
Through science, Neurocore is able to diminish these inappropriate responses and reshape the way that the person’s brain reacts.
Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and is a Commissioning Editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojo and his website.