“It’s not your fault”, are the famous words that Robin Williams repeatedly spoke to Matt Damon in the nine time nominated Academy Award film Good Will Hunting, and may very well ring true in the quest for freedom from substance abuse. “Often times there’s a direct correlation between addiction and brain damage”, says Thomas Foster, Co-Founder of Oxygen 8 Addiction. Foster bases his claims on personal experience as well as research from Paul Harch, M.D., Author of The Oxygen Revolution.
Dr. Harch has been treating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for three decades in Louisiana with notable success. Within the last decade he discovered that it reduces suicidal ideation with PTSD patients. He uses SPECT brain imaging to find oxygen deficient areas. Post therapy scans typically show substantial metabolic increases in brain function. Videos of patient progress taken before and after treatments have gained national attention. The latest of many amazing recoveries was recently aired all across the nation October 6, 2017 on the Today Show. Toddler Eden Carlson almost died from drowning. She suffered a near-drowning and reportedly did not have a heartbeat for two hours before being resuscitated. The three year old had severe brain damage and her recovery with HBOT has been described by many as “miraculous”.
Foster’s passion for helping families recover from substance abuse comes at a price and hits close to home. “I lost a daughter in 2010 and made her an oath to help her generation with addiction recovery”, Foster stated. His personal traumatic brain injuries led to his discovery of HBOT and when he met Mark Jackson last December, the seed of his promise sprouted. “It was like throwing gas on a fire”, Jackson expressed as he described their passion to ameliorate addiction issues and aid in successful long term recovery using HBOT and thus, the journey began for Oxygen 8 Addiction.
HBOT is FDA approved and most insurance companies will cover approximately 15 conditions. Many neurological conditions such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and TBI are also being treated but paid for out of pocket as American allopathic medicine is slow in supporting the “off-label” use of HBOT. Some HBOT advocates suggest it is a financial political issue. Oxygen is a necessity of life. No oxygen means no life. HBOT delivers oxygen under pressure and acts as a drug. It is non-invasive and has virtually no side effects with proper dosing. The process saturates the body with 700-1,200 times more oxygen than normal breathing.
Rehabilitation centers can easily incorporate HBOT as an adjunctive therapy to their current programs. Under appropriate protocols it can detoxify the body and regenerate and repair damaged tissuesincluding brain tissue and liver. “I don’t even use the word ‘Addict’ in my vocabulary”, Jackson says, “I ask therapists to give me their toughest cases, the ones that are continually relapsing. Most have experienced some form of mild brain injuries ranging from contact sports to falling off a swing at the playground to emotional trauma.” Jackson adds, “This is not a weak-willed or morally flawed problem. HBOT needs to be implemented immediately and it’s simple to do. It can be relieving from the guilt and shame they carry when they experience the benefits”. Covenant Hyperbarics in Searcy, Arkansas works with recovery professionals to implement HBOT.
This issue has garnered national attention, especially with the current Opioid crisis that has escalated in the last couple of years. “After 40 years and a trillion dollars, the nation has little to show for its war on drugs”, sites Former Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli in a 60 Minutes Interview aired December 13, 2015. “We’ve learned addiction is a brain disease. This is not a moral failing. This is not about bad people who are choosing to continue to use drugs because they lack willpower. You know, we don’t expect people with cancer just to stop having cancer”, says Botticelli. “The hallmark of addiction is that it changes your brain chemistry. It actually affects that part of your brain that’s responsible for judgment”, he continued.
Foster and Jackson met with Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine on July 3, 2017 about the addiction epidemic Ohio is facing as they lead the nation in death by addiction. When DeWine was asked what has helped the “death by addiction” epidemic his frustrated response was a swift “Nothing”. The state of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against certain Pharmaceutical companies as a counter to the “Tsunami” of drug deaths. Foster has hopes to join forces with drug companies to implement HBOT as a reformative approach to recovery.
Foster knows the trauma of dealing with the fog of Post-Concussion Syndrome. After his first HBOT treatment he cited, “I felt more alert and mentally sharper using HBOT”. Colorado resident Jay Roller had brain surgery 6 years ago and experienced a concussion 2 years ago. He describes his progress as, “the light switch was flipped on” in his brain following his HBOT treatments, “I was on everything (prescription drugs) for anti-anxiety and depression. HBOT improved my sleep and changed my life”. He is currently planning a HBOT facility in the Boulder area.
In 2009, Dr. Mehmet Oz, from the Dr. Oz Show described his first HBOT treatment as feeling “more alert and jazzed up”. “It gets those cells moving along so it goes out to heal areas. In some parts of the body, like the brain, where you don’t always have a lot of oxygen in the tissues, it might improve memory. It might play a role in making those cells which have energy factories function more efficiently”, he adds.
Our hero Veterans know all too well the relationship between addiction and brain injuries. In April, the State General Assembly of Indiana appropriated $1 million for an initial pilot program to treat Veterans with TBI and PTSD using HBOT due to the efforts of advocates like Brigadier General James L. Bauerle, USA, (Ret). He says using HBOT for addiction will, “definitely work because it is used successfully in other countries like Russia, India, China, and the United Kingdom and the cost is very minimal”. General Bauerle emphasizes, “The significant scourge of drug addiction we are experiencing in America needs every possible solution acted upon NOW! Delay will lead to more deaths, more tragedy, more broken homes, more grieving parents, more orphaned children, more addicted new-born babies, and unrecoverable damage to our society.”
Mark Jackson owns Covenant Hyperbarics in Searcy, Arkansas. He is
the Co-Founder of Oxygen 8 Addiction and offers consultation, sales,
installation, and training for all aspects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Thomas J Foster is the Co-Founder of Oxygen 8 Addiction. He
specializes in the consultation and implementation of Hyperbaric
Oxygen Therapy into Addiction Recovery Facilities.