NF Successful in a case of Induced Insomnia Post Methadone Withdrawal

 – A Case History

-By Dr. Victoria Ibric

For more than 40 years NF, as a part of Biofeedback, has been a successful modality in
teaching self-regulation. NF has proven to be useful also in training addictions mentioned
here; Penniston and Kulkowsky, 1989, 1991, 1993, –Fahrion et al, 1992. The author
reported previous successful outcomes in Bipolar & addictions–Ibric 1998, 2000, 2001.

I would like to discuss the case of J.R., a 23 y/o female who came to me in January 2001
suffering from an acute case of methadone withdrawal induced insomnia. Her case upon
evaluation, proved to be much more. She was diagnosed in childhood with Bipolar
Disorder plus, she had an 8 year history of  Opioid abuse from the age of 12. She was
admitted in September of 2000 to Kaiser’s inpatient drug treatment program. In January
of 2001 she was re-admitted – Kaiser’s Psychiatric ward where over an interval of 2
months the doctors prescribed 22 different pharmaceuticals without success! J.R. also
tried other alternative treatments including: Homeopathic, Herbal, Acupuncture and
various 12-Step programs. Nothing helped and by the time she came to see me, she had
only been able to sleep for brief 20-minute intervals for the past 6 months.

Her evaluation consisted of a 3 point Electroencephalography (EEG)* over the somatosensory
and motor area of the brain, Cognitive functioning: T.O.V.A. (Test of Variables
of Attention), Beck Depression/ Hopelessness Inventory Scale, SCL-90R, Stress Test,
complete development and family medical history.
She reported that she had stopped Methadone four months, and Depakote two weeks prior
to the initial evaluation. She was prescribed Trazadone and Tegretol in the past.

The results of her tests were:

Stress test score was 126 (76- very severe stress) with a score of 93 (76+, very sere)
Beck depression and hopelessness inventory score: 73 (very severe)
SCL-90R: 303 (very severe)
T.O.V.A. (A=75, I=109, RT=73, V=59)
EEG evaluation showed great variability of all the frequencies with predominant high
beta (20-32 Hz)

The NF training was designed according to the central (based on EEG) and peripheral
expression (symptoms) of her brain impairment and 30-minute sessions were done.
Training was done daily for the first two weeks, followed by two weeks of training every
other day. A short break of 7 days occurred when she left for a short vacation with her
parents. After a set of 30 – half hour sessions, she was re-tested and the need for further
training was assessed.

Over a three month interval J.R. did a total of 52 sessions of NF. 50 of those sessions
were done on a ROSHI I instrument enhanced by: –Light-Closed Loop-EEG (LCL) using
rd or blue lights or as Electromagnetic-Closed Loop-EEG (EMCL)/ complex adaptive
(CAM) or discrete adaptive modality (DAM) or–LCL plus EMCL, simultaneously CAM
+ DAM.The protocols used were most often S14 with blue lights, eyes closed. There
were a few sessions of AO (E) B20 using red lights eyes closed. When used, the
ElectroMags were positioned over the sensory motor strip in tandem with the lights over
eyes closed .
J.R. was monitored at each session using the ROSHI as an ongoing diagnostic tool along
with keeping a daily diary. Within the first week, J.R. reported sleeping for several
hours at a stretch, but not at night. After 9 sessions of F3-F4 and NF-enhanced by EMCL,
J.R. started to yawn. This was a sign that the pineal gland had been activated. After 27
sessions, J.R. reported the first time that she was calmer emotionally, and relaxed. After
36 sessions, for the first time J.R. fell asleep during the training. Post 6 months, after the
NF training had stopped, the TOVA results were within in normal limits again!
Variability was the only parameter that needed improvement. At the end of her 52nd
session (26 hours): her Beck inventory and the stress tests had improved (see charts), and
stayed consistent for 6 months following the end of her NF training.



Fig 1



Fig 2



Fig 3



Fig 4


When I first skeptically wandered into the Therapy & Prevention Center’s offices in
Pasadena, I was hoping this new age therapy would be the answer. Being a constantly
opioid dependent person, I had tried everything. Nothing short of a miracle could help me;
12 step meetings, de-tox, in-patient, out-patient treatments, psych wards, institutions,
methadone maintenance, acupuncture, natural homeopathic and herbs. I was willing to try

Victoria Ibric immediately struck me as a kind gentle soul whose spirit is wonderfully
positive. She is the definition of a true humanitarian. Biofeedback at first seemed mighty
complex and intricate. How could my brain be REWIRED? Thoughts of shock treatment
entered my mind.

I was considered a “lost cause” by Kaiser! Being a re-tread through their psychiatric
hospital, the Kaiser staff started asking me what pills I thought they should prescribe me.
Sifting through the many layers of self-inflicted damage, I came to believe that I
needed to prioritize my needs. This self-assessment clearly indicated that being opioid
dependent for close to eight years, not to mention my two-year methadone maintenance
habit had made me quite the insomniac. I was running on empty. My body clock was so far
out of whack that I could not sleep for up to five or six months at a time. Sleep deprivation was
making me insane.

My family helped me more than can be described during all this. Thanks to Dr. Ibric and
biofeedback, I am now able to prioritize my thoughts. ADD, ADHD, Bipolar disorder –
all of these diagnoses came from allopathic doctors. “The magic pill will treat what ails
you” That is the proclamation by conventional medicine. Kaiser prescribed more than 22
different pharmaceuticals in a 2 ½ month span.

How do you spell REBOUND INSOMNIA?

Trying Neurofeedback took willingness and a belief that pills are not an answer, only a
band-aid. A gradual change in brain activity through focus and concentration with
improved memory and mental clarity are just some of the benefits I reaped from my 26+
one-hour sessions of Neurofeedback – not to mention regaining my ability to sleep…
J. R. May 2001


My hypothesis in explaining this positive outcome stems from the effects of
Neurofeedback enhanced by electromagnetic closed loop EEG (EMCL-EEG), in
particular, which seemed to stimulate the pineal gland to increase production of
melatonin, as proposed previously by Sandyk, 1998, naturally without any side effects.
However Sandyk’s work was based on the use of transcranial electromagnetic stimulation
and not, as in our case, on self-regulatory neuromodulation obtained through NF
enhanced by light or electromagnetic (LCL and /or EMCL-EEG). NF enhanced by LCL
and/or EMCL-EEG proved to be useful in the treatment of addictions, depression and
sleep disorders as well as in chronic pain syndromes.

J.R. returned to school full time and work, and exhibited a great love for her sober life.
In early April of 2002, when she was contacted by my office she admitted to a great deal
of stress now present in her life. She told me that she would resume treatment soon, but
the problem was money and that her Kaiser insurance would not pay for treatment.

In late April, she was found dead – a heart attack due to crack cocaine. (There are
suspicious circumstances regarding her death because she was also robbed).

What more could have been done to keep alive this troubled young lady who wanted so
much to live?


Baehr, E. & Baehr, R. (1997). The Use of Brainwave Biofeedback as Adjunctive Therapeutic
Treatment for Depression: Three case Studies. Biofeedback,10-11.1

Hammond, D.C., Ph.D. (2000). Neurofeedback treatment of Depression with the ROSHI. Journal of  Neurotherapy, vol 4 (2), 45-55.

Ibric, V.L., Kaur, S., Davis, C.J. (1998). Various Diagnostic cases treated with Neurofeedback using Roshi/ Neurocybernetics-Preliminary Results, Proceedings of the 6th SNR Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.

Ibric, V.L. (2000). Long lasting effects of Neurofeedback Training on Bipolar Disorder and Addictions (follow-up case study). The 8th Winter Brain Conference, Palm Springs, CA

Ibric, V.L. (2001). Alternatives to Psychotropic Medication: Neurofeedback & Nutrition. Proceedings at The RAD conventions, Riverside and Pasadena, CA.

Ibric, V.L. (2001). Neurofeedback Enhanced by Light Closed Loop-EEG and Electromagnetic Closed Loop-EEG in a Case of Sleep Deprivation Post Methadone Withdrawal. The Proceedings at the 9th
SNR conference , Monterey, CA.l

Peniston, E.G., & Kulkosky, P.J. (1989). Alpha-Theta brainwave training and beta-endorphine levels in alcoholics. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental, 13, 271-279.

Peniston, E.G., & Kulkosky, P.J. (1990). Alcoholic personality and alpha-theta brainwave training. Medical Psychotherapy: An International Journal, 3, 37-55.

Rosenfeld, J.P. (1996). EEG Biofeedback of Frontal Alpha Asymmetry in Affective Disorders. Biofeedback, 8-9/ 25-26.

Sandyk, R. (1998). Yawning and Stretching – a behavioral syndrome associated with transcranial application of electromagnetic fields in multiple sclerosis. Int J Neurosci, July(1-2) : 107-13.

For more information, please contact Dr. Victoria Ibric