This study investigated neurophysiological differences between recovering substance abusers (RSA) and controls while electroencephalogram (EEG) was continuously recorded during completion of a new assessment instrument. The participants consisted of 56 total subjects; 28 RSA and 28 non-clinical controls (C). The participants completed the self-perception and experiential schemata assessment (SPESA) and source localization was compared utilizing standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA). The data show significant differences between groups during both the assessment condition and baselines. A pattern of alpha activity as estimated by sLORETA was shown in the right amygdala, uncus, hippocampus, BA37, insular cortex and orbitofrontal regions during the SPESA condition. This activity possibly reflects a circuit related to negative perceptions of self formed in specific neural pathways. These pathways may be responsive to the alpha activity induced by many substances by bringing the brain into synchrony if only for a short time. In effect this may represent the euphoria described by substance abusers.
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