Local counselor uses "brain training" to prevent drug abuse - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Local counselor uses "brain training" to prevent drug abuse

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RONCEVERTE, W. Va (WVVA)-- Substance abuse infiltrates communities everywhere across the Two Virginias… even the coolest towns.  

But counselor Terry Lusher with the Encouraging Words Counseling Center told WVVA he knows a way to help prevent it.  

And to do it, he's got to go inside your mind.

Part of the problem, Lusher said, is that "people are self-medicating, a lot of times, with substance abuse... These underlying issues are what causes that-- the depression, the anxiety, etc.," he explained.

Lusher said with new QEEG technology, he can diagnose disorders like depression and anxiety-- by checking out your brain waves.

"People that tend to abuse substances either have high, fast brain waves or really slow brain waves, and they are using substances to balance that out," he said.

Lusher believes a big part of battling substance abuse, is correcting those unhealthy brain wave levels.

He uses sensors detect waves that are out of line. Based on resulting patterns of brain activity, Lusher can diagnose a patient.  

He said when their brain waves are out of control, they can become at risk for substance abuse.

Using a technique called neurofeedback, the brain actually trains itself to operate at normal levels. All you have to do is kick back, and watch a movie.

"We pinpoint that exact place in the brain where the range is too high or too low... And train those frequencies into normal range using the reinforcement," Lusher said. "We can watch a movie and every time your brain hits that target range, the movie plays clearly, when you're not, the movie fades out. And your brain wants to see the movie clearly, so it goes to that target range and with repetition, it learns to stay there."

9 year old Samuel Wheeler is one of Lusher's patients. His mother, Sherri, says before treatment with Lusher, her son was acting out and on a path toward big trouble, even future drug problems. She knew she had to do something to help.  

"We were worried about every aspect of his life."

After just five sessions, she saw he was getting better-- in a big way.

"Sam's changed," he said. "He's not just changed a little... He's a different person."

Sherri says friends, family, even teachers have noticed a difference in Samuel since he started treatment... And her fears are gone. 

"It was the best decision that we have made, by far, for him," she revealed.

Lusher says this technique, when coupled with other therapy, can correct symptoms of other disorders.  

Treating those illnesses reduces your risk for substance abuse later in life.

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