Alcohol and drug abuse can affect brain functioning, leading to cell death. At Castle Health, rehab specialists use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to accelerate brain recovery and assist patients whose brains have been deeply affected by years of consuming drugs or alcohol.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a non-invasive and painless treatment that can help people with addiction feel better mentally and physically.

During HBOT sessions, patients enter a pressurized chamber for a determined period and breathe pure oxygen through a mask. This therapy can increase the level of oxygen in the bloodstream, stimulating the generation of new stem cells and the natural repair of affected tissues and organs.

Oxygen is the natural antibiotic of the body that can help patients with addiction in their recovery process by speeding up the healing process. Increasing absorption of oxygen may help with reducing the time addictive and harmful substances remaining in the brain. Alcohol and drug consumption can lead to a buildup of acids and aldehydes in the brain. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can clean the body of toxins and is an additional component of substance detoxification.

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective for Recovery?

HBOT is an effective tool used by Castle Health’s inpatient programme in Scotland to help patients with addiction in their healing process.

Abusing alcohol or drugs and taking prescription medication for a long time may damage cells in the brain, especially in the frontal lobe, where decision making takes place and strategic thinking occurs. 

Areas of the brain that have been damaged from addiction usually are not getting enough blood flow and not enough oxygen. The affected cells are unable to detoxify completely, which may diminish the brain’s healing process.

After 20-40 oxygen therapy sessions, the blood flow in the brain increases and patients start to feel better as the cells are supplied with the necessary nutrients they need to heal. After approximately 10 treatment sessions most patients noticed their memory improved, experienced higher energy levels and felt better overall.

What to Expect during HBOT?

During HBOT treatment, patients enter a hyperbaric chamber. In this chamber, they sit in a chair or on the floor. The pressure surrounding patients is gradually increased. Releasing 100% oxygen stimulates a higher amount of oxygen to be dissolved in the bloodstream. Members of the medical team will supervise the therapy throughout the entire process.

The air pressure in the hyperbaric room can be 2-3 times higher than normal air pressure. Patients may experience a sensation of fullness in their ears, like what they might feel in an aeroplane. This sensation fades away by swallowing or yawning. 

This treatment may be repeated over days or weeks for patients to feel an improvement. 

HBOT can be performed as an outpatient treatment as it does not require hospitalization. Patients need to wear comfortable clothes, remove any jewellery or watches before entering the hyperbaric chamber and are not allowed with matches, lighters, or smoking devices inside the chamber. 

HBOT and the Treatment of Addiction

Addiction and physical dependence may cause severe withdrawal symptoms when people stop taking the substance of their choice. The most common addiction withdrawal symptoms experienced during recovery include:

  • anxiety
  • constipation
  • craving
  • irritability
  • body aches and pains
  • changes in heart rate
  • irascibility
  • vomiting
  • difficulty concentrating
  • weight gain or weight loss

During the detox process, the discomfort, severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can trigger a relapse. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may improve the chances of success and reduce the risk of relapse.

Increased levels of oxygen in the brain can help the detox process and reduce cravings.

Benefits of HBOT

Most diseases caused by addiction affect the cellular or tissue level. The healing process of the body takes place when appropriate oxygen levels are increased in tissues. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy provides that amount of oxygen. People in recovery may benefit in various ways when attending HBOT treatment sessions:

  • decrease swellings and inflammation.
  • improve sleep patterns.
  • normalize enzyme systems in the organism.
  • help damaged liver, pancreas and brain heal.
  • regenerate tissues.
  • stimulate appetite.
  • help the detoxification process in body cells.
  • help the detoxification process in brain cells.
  • improve circulation in damaged tissues.
  • reduce cravings.

The extra amount of oxygen can reach all the damaged tissues and support the healing process. The increased oxygen in the brain stimulates white blood cells to:

  • reduce swelling 
  • kill bacteria and allows new blood vessels to regenerate the affected areas

Start your Recovery Journey Today

If you are dealing with addiction, Castle Health programme specialists can help you start the recovery treatment process based on your needs and goals. HBOT can enhance your recovery from the mental, emotional, and physical damage produced by substance abuse and, assisted by experienced therapists and doctors, you can help your body and brain to heal. With Castle Health, you can regain confidence and maintain the path of awareness and sobriety.