Neurofeedback Therapy an Effective, Non-Drug Treatment for ADHD
Specific to ADHD- it is estimated that two million children in the United States are struggling with the symptoms of ADHD. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders and is characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and increased impulsivity. A variety of approaches are commonly considered for the treatment of ADHD (including pharmacological interventions). However, over 30% of children treated with stimulants either fail to improve or suffer adverse effects, including decreased appetite, insomnia and irritability. Furthermore, there is no evidence of long term efficacy of stimulants for ADHD. Neurofeedback, a non-pharmacological intervention, focuses on improving, behavior, executive function and psychological functioning.
Briefly, neurofeedback is a safe, non-invasive approach, measured from sensors applied to the surface of the head, to train the brain with real time video/audio information about brainwave activity. For example, activity in the front of the head indexes executive function: the ability to maintain focus efficiently, plan and complete goals.
The effectiveness of neurofeedback training is well supported by the field of research and its clinical application. It’s been determined that neurofeedback treatment for ADHD is considered "Efficacious and Specific" (Level 5) or “best support” treatment option for children suffering from ADHD with a large effect for inattention and impulsivity and a medium effect for hyperactivity. Parents rated their children as clinically improved in inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.
Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD
Neurofeedback/EEG biofeedback trains children to gain control of disordered brain wave activity that contributes to ADHD symptoms (e.g. inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity).
During a neurofeedback session, EEG sensors are situated on the head. Brain wave activity is fed back to the therapist and client on a computer screen. Effective training occurs as the child receives “feedback” (i e. successfully playing a video game by mind control and hearing an auditory reward). Activating the video game is experienced as a reward that reinforces the brain to learn how to normalize brainwave activity for attention and focus. Through regular practice the child’s brain moves from dysregulation to regulation with improved impulse regulation, focus, and attention. The child’s brain builds memory traces of normalized brain waves specific to regulating brain activity and its associated behaviors. The newly established memory traces produce lasting results that continue outside of the sessions.
For parents who prefer other options aside from medication, neurofeedback is a non-invasive, safe, effective, and long-lasting treatment option.