Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavior disorder in North America, occurring in 3% to 8% of schoolchildren, and in a smaller percentage of adults. ADHD is a chronic syndrome of age-inappropriate inattention, which includes distractibility, forgetfulness, disorganization, and failure to finish tasks or follow instructions. The hyperactivity-impulsivity component, when it exists, includes impatience and excessive nonreflective action and speech. An abbreviated checklist of symptoms associated with ADHD includes: careless mistakes, not seeming to listen, failing to finish tasks, difficulty organizing, avoiding or disliking tasks that require sustained mental effort, losing things, easily distracted by outside stimuli, fidgetiness or squirming, difficulty playing quietly, on the go, talking excessively, blurting answers before questions are finished, difficulty waiting for a turn, and underachievement.
In addition to the above impairments, there are impairments in social skills and peer status. Most children with ADHD have difficulty in keeping friends and some have trouble making friends. Children with ADHD typically underperform academically and underachieve even if they do not have a comorbid (i.e. conditions that coexist with ADHD) learning disorder. Noteworthy is that people with ADHD have a higher rate of automobile accidents, and accidental head injury caused by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
It is of additional importance to note that the ADHD behavior pattern must be present for at least six months and begin before the age of twelve. The criteria also require that the symptoms cause some impairment in at least two settings: home, school, or social functioning. Taken together, these criteria offer support for ADHD being a neurodevelopmental disorder.
It is of paramount importance for clinicians to be specialized in identifying those conditions that can mimic or coexist with ADHD. These may include: oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety disorder and mood disorders.
Amongst current treatments that I use for ADHD, seizure disorders, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression is EEG (Electroencephalographic) Biofeedback/ Neurofeedback. This treatment meets the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry guideline ratings for treatment of ADHD. Also, Neurofeedback meets the most stringent American Psychological Association’s criterion of efficacious and specific treatments. Support from these organizations suggest that Neurofeedback should always be considered as a first-line treatment for ADHD and other disorders when parents or patients prefer not to use medication. However, Neurofeedback can be used in combination with medication and/or psychotherapy.
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