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Brain Games Used for Recovery

One treatment center is using computer games to help patients overcome some of the problems associated with addiction.

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The games are designed to sharpen and
inspire players.

By Bryan Le

04/13/12

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One addiction treatment program is trying something new: computer software to  help recovering addicts improve their cognitive skills through online gaming. The St. Gregory Retreat Center, located in DesMoines, Iowa, believes computer games may improve brain functioning and assist in the recovery process. By logging into My Brain Solutions (or grabbing some of their free mobile apps), recovering addicts can not only play games that sharpen focus and improve memory; they can apparently boost positivity, self-confidence and emotional sensitivity as well. “When you are in an addictive world, reality changes because of drug use,” Brain Resource, Inc. CEO Gregory A. Bayer tells The Fix. “Self-control is lost because of serial problems and and inability to solve them, and loss of self-confidence comes with degradation of confidence and cognitive flexibility. The world becomes a lot narrower, and they become focused on a smaller world with smaller opportunities.” In one game, patients must catch bubbles with positive words—either a positive green bubble or a negative red one—to teach them to recognize opportunity and negativity that could be applied to any context. While the brain training technology has been used for employee wellness programs at companies like Cisco and Nationwide, Bayer tells us he's excited that My Brain Solutions is now aiming to help recovering addicts.

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