Image © Riyas Rasheed
i-Dosing is the latest internet fad. It purports to induce highs similar to those by drugs. Many dismiss the craze as nonsense, but should parents be concerned?
The alteration of brainwaves to induce changes in consciousness is not new -- people have been meditating, which increases relaxing theta waves, for centuries. Nor is the approach of altering brainwaves unrelated to addiction -- the alteration of brainwaves through neurotherapy is a recognized form of treatment for a range of conditions, including addiction. There is increasing evidence that certain brainwave patterns are associated with a predisposition to addictive behavior, and that neurotherapy can assist in overcoming addiction by normalizing brainwave imbalances.
However, there is a major difference between neurotherapy and i-dosing. If neurotherapy is conducted by a trained professional, the patient's EEG is monitored to ensure that the brainwaves concerned are moving towards normality. As the patient's brainwaves function more normally, the person is likely to feel more, not less normal -- although the process of change may take some adjustment, for example, feeling relaxed may initially seem strange to someone who has had anxiety for a long time.
However, anyone concerned about i-dosing, or thinking of trying it, should bear in mind that a small percentage of the population are vulnerable to mental health problems, and seemingly innocuous events, as well as drug use, can trigger issues such as anxiety, depression and in a small minority, more serious problems such as psychosis.
It is too early to say whether there are any real risks associated with i-dosing, but parents and those thinking of experimenting are wise to stay cautious about anything that directly changes your brain state, whether it is a substance or an activity, particularly if you have a family history of mental health or addiction problems.
Those interested in learning more about neurotherapy as a treatment for addiction and other problems should contact the Biofeedback Certification International of Alliance (BCIA), who can refer you to a qualified practitioner.