Can Vagus Nerve Stimulation or Toning Help My Drug Addiction?

The vagus nerve is the largest nerve in the body. A recent report in Learning and Memory indicates that Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) may, in the future, be used for impulse control for those addicted to drugs or other substances. Though the study was conducted using rats, the FDA has already approved VNS as a treatment for specific illnesses like clinical depression, epilepsy, and inflammation. A procedure is required for VNS, in which a device is implanted in the body that stimulates the vagus nerve with electrical impulses.

According to an early 2017 study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, cocaine addicted lab rats’ drug-seeking behavior was greatly reduced when given VNS therapy. What the researchers discovered was that the VNS therapy stimulated change in synaptic plasticity between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in the cocaine-addicted rats. Put into layperson’s terms, this means that the VNS replaced the need for the rats to push the lever to receive another hit of cocaine. In effect, it reduced the drug craving. With the promise of future scientific discoveries for addiction treatment with VNS in mind, you may want to learn about the benefits of Vagus Nerve Toning (VNT).

It may sound strange, but the tone of the vagus nerve affects how well our bodies adapt to stress and recover our balance after a stressful event. Many people addicted to opioids and other substances, and those, too, in recovery, have suffered traumatic or stressful situations.  These populations may find VNT can help reduce their stress.

A low vagal tone is associated with cardiovascular diseases, strokes, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue and other autoimmune disorders. A high vagal tone is said to reduce risk of stroke and heart attacks. It also regulates blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and can be linked to calmer and more content feelings. There are simple ways to boost your vagal tone.

While the following may seem too new age for some readers, it still may be worth your while to give a few of these methods a try. Breathe in through your nostrils then hum as you exhale slowly; chanting; singing; loving-kindness meditation; washing your face with icy, cold water (particularly good when stressed), alternate nostril breathing (called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama); gargling; yoga; laughter; prayer; exercise; massage; Tai Chi; and acupuncture.

Here at Infinity Malibu we offer medically supervised comfortable detox, licensed case management, and 24/7 clinical support. Our goal is to make sure when you leave these beautiful facilities your recovery will be lasting. Call today and get the support you need. 888-266-9048

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