Are all electrical treatments for addiction 'neuro-electric therapies'?

While the term 'neuro electric therapy' is increasingly used as a catch-all label for many transcranial electrical therapies, 'NeuroElectric Therapy (NET)' is actually the name conceived by Meg Patterson for the specific application of transcranial electrostimulation she pioneered and developed from the early 1970's.

NET is characterised primarily by:
1. Use of specific combinations of wave-forms, particularly pulse-frequency, as dictated by     the drug or combination of drugs under treatment.
2. On-going low-current stimulation over the treatment period.
3. Contraindication of concurrent use of psychopharmacology with the electrostimulation.

There are critical distinctions between NET and the other forms of transncranial electrostimulation used in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. There are also significant similarities. These similarities and differences have been explored in terms of clinical application and expected outcomes in two articles in particular:

Patterson et al., 1993. 'Electrostimulation in drug and alcohol detoxification. Significance of stimulation criteria in clinical success' Addiction Research 1:130-144.

Patterson et al., 1994. 'Amelioration of stress in chemical dependency detoxification by transcranial electrostimulation' Stress Medicine 10:115-126.

What does NET do?

Taking addictive drugs alters the brain's bio-chemical balance, resulting in feelings of euphoria or excitement or calm depending upon the drug being taken. Eventually the brain becomes dependant on this supply of drugs and when they're stopped, there is a period of complaint —pain and craving—while the brain gradually returns to its normal chemical balance again. These symptoms are as a Withdrawal Syndrome, and they may last up to six months with heroin, eighteen months with methadone use, and two years or more with benzodiazepines.

NET accelerates this naturally occurring process, so that within the treatment period of 6-10 days (4-6 days for nicotine), both the Acute and Chronic withdrawal syndromes are largely gone. 75% of patients have claimed to be free of anxiety, and 95% to be free of craving.

One of the striking features of NET is the ease with which electrostimulation can be stopped when it is no longer required—unlike so many pharmaceuticals prescribed in drug treatment where physiological and/or psychological dependency is a common side-effect. By the end of the NET treatment period, the brain has reclaimed its own, naturally-occurring regulatory role. This is reflected in the decreasing level of output required towards the end of treatment, and increasing comfort over the second half NET when the stimulator is in an 'off' mode.

Will my detox be pain-free?

A pain-free detoxification simply does not exist. NET provides withdrawal relief of between 50-75% for most patients. A minority experience relief of between 75-95%.

Almost every NET detox has it moment of physical and/or emotional crisis when it is necessary to search within oneself for inner resources of fortitude and committment. However these moments pass, and the exceptionally low Drop-Out Rate found with NeuroElectric Therapy confirms that the low level and brief duration of discomfort under this treatment is tolerable to most patients.

Meg Patterson's advice has always been that the more effort put into all aspects of treatment, including exercise, diet, and involvement in rehabilitation activities, the more benefit will derived.

Is NET shock treatment?

No, no, NO!
NET is always a low, safe output of electrical current, controlled completely by the patient and kept at a personal level of comfort. The other critical differences between NET and electro-shock are that NET is applied specifically to prevent convulsions, and there is no loss of consciousness or higher-functioning under NET.

Meg Patterson frequently used the analogy of asprin to explain the difference between her electro-treatment and EST/ECT: 100 tablets will kill you; 30 will cause damage; two asprin will take away your headache.

Can I have NET treatment if I am pregnant?

As a clinical treatment NET has the crucial asset of having no known adverse side-effects. Nevertheless, until more research is carried out, pregnant women should not normally be treated with NET.

Can I get an NET stimulator for myself?

NET is only available to qualified health practitioners (doctors, nurses, and practitioners of Eastern medicine). This is because NET is not a 'clean-up' tool or 'do-it-yourself' detox, but part of an overall treatment programme.

While NET can significantly alleviate various Withdrawal Syndromes, the goal of treatment is to provide an individual with an unprecedented opportunity to deal with the issues underlying and reinforcing their addiction without the major distraction of withdrawal malaise, misery, and craving.

This is the value of NET in addiction treatment, no more no less.

If NET is as good as it is made out to be, why is it not better known and used more widely?

There is probably no single answer to this, but rather a combination of important factors.

1. The underlying mechanisms of effect of this modality are only gradually being revealed     which still leaves significant room for scientific doubt.

2. The hand-operated technology used by Dr Patterson at the height of her fame in the late     1970's required six months supervised clinical experience with which to become adept—an      impossible training span for busy clinicians. It took Doctor Patterson, family and friends     and supporters, twenty 'wilderness' years to fund and develop clinical technology which     could be simply applied and hence widely used.

3. The wide range of subtle energy electro-medicine treatment systems, applications, and     technology can create considerable confusion, misapplication - and rejection. Create room     too, unfortunately, for many who peddle worthless 'cure-all' technologies.

4. Last but not least, an achievable and large-scale abstinence-treatment option undermines     the legitimacy of the broad-based and seemingly open-ended maintenance prescribing     strategy that has dominated official Western drug treatment policy for the last two     decades, a policy in which considerable time, monies, and reputations have been invested.

Using a search-engine for 'NeuroElectric Therapy' on the Web frequently throws up links to Robert Beck and 'Brain Tuner—NeuroElectric Therapy' stimulators. Is there any connection between these electrostimulators and Meg Patterson's treatment and technology?

We are well aware of the personal, clinical, and scientific claims made by this man and this organisation, and repudiate them.

'NeuroElectric Therapy (NET)' is the name conceived by Meg Patterson for the specific application of transcranial electrostimulation she pioneered and developed from the early 1970's, and described in her books, papers, and presentations. It is not a generic name, and it is seriously misleading to use it as such.

'Brain Tuner' was the name devised by Kathleen McAuliffe to describe Meg Patterson's treatment and technology in her 1983 OMNI article on NET (Volume 5, Number 4, January 1983). This name has been used without the author and Journal's permission for the series of Beck 'Brain Tuner' devices.

The clinical and scientific claims for these devices should not under any circumstances be confused with the clinical procedures and scientific research and outcomes published by Meg Patterson and her colleagues.                                                                              Back to top

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