Neurofeedback is a Viable Treatment for ADHD
The American Academy of Pediatrics has officially recognized neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD. For children who have struggled in everything from school to extracurricular activities—and for parents who have bent over backwards to help their little ones but to no avail—this is a huge finding.
What is Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback is a subcategory of Biofeedback, which is a method of gaining information by monitoring everything from blood pressure to heart rates and body temperature to brain waves. The purpose of Biofeedback is to help promote the control over bodily processes and responses that would otherwise be involuntary through conditioning and relaxation. The process utilizes some type of computer monitoring device, along with electronic sensors, to transmit information about what is going on inside of the body.
Neurofeedback—also referred to as neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback and EEG—is designed to transmit information specifically about brainwaves; the percentage amount of each particular brainwave in certain areas of the brain; and whether or not the brainwaves are working in harmony together—or, as it relates to ADHD, when brainwaves are out of sync. When brainwaves are out of sync, they transmit a lot of unpleasant noise, much like when a car is out of alignment. Moreover, and also like when a car is out of alignment, a brain whose waves are out of harmony doesn’t operate as effectively as it could.
How Neurofeedback Can Help Harmonize Brainwaves
If your child has ADHD and you’re desperate for a solution that actually works, Neurofeedback may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Neurofeedback has been proven to help a number of neurological issues including but not limited to:
- Sleep Disorders
- Brain Surgery
- Parkinson Disease
- Movement Disorders
Neurofeedback does this by assessing the brain’s functions and pinpointing where, exactly, the brain is not functioning optimally. The process has proven to be so successful because it is one of the first to acknowledge that brain disorders—including ADHD—are symptoms of something amiss, and not the causes. Because EEG measures waves in precise areas of the brain, it can locate neural dysregulation—more specifically, it can pinpoint which pathways are dysregulated and/or over or under activated—and help doctors and scientists come up with effective treatment solutions.
Once the results from EEG feedback are in, a doctor trained in neurological disorders can put together a treatment program that is specially designed to help your child learn how to regulate their brain activity and therefore, improve their ability to concentrate.
For most people, concentrating on a task helps to speed up brain activity. The opposite is true for children with ADHD. The neurological dysregulation that causes ADHD makes the act of concentrating nearly impossible as it actually leaves the person with the disorder vulnerable to distractions. Neurofeedback can be used to see how an affected person’s brain functions when they’re focusing on particular tasks. This knowledge can then be used to train the child (or adult) to regulate their brain activity.
We know what you may be thinking… this all sounds great in theory, but isn’t teaching a child with ADHD to control their brain activity just as difficult—if not more so—as teaching a child with ADHD to do anything? Yes and no.
During a neurofeedback session, the doctor will ask your child to perform a number of tasks with monitors hooked up to their head. The doctor will monitor your child’s brainwaves as they attempt to complete the task to see where the dysfunction is occurring. The doctor will then alter the strategies and watch how each new strategy either helps or further disintegrates your child’s focus. Once they pinpoint a strategy that seems to be effective, they can train your child to practice said strategy on their own, whether they’re in the classroom or at home doing homework.
Neurofeedback Isn’t Widely Accepted Yet
Unfortunately, EEG is not a widely accepted as a stand-alone treatment just yet. Though several journals have published findings regarding how neurotherapy has helped individuals with a variety of neurological disorders such as anxiety, PTSD and ADHD, most doctors won’t recommend the treatment without also prescribing medication and other forms of prevention.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that every child is different and their experiences with ADHD are unique. That said, what may work for one child won’t necessarily work for anther. If you are interested in neurofeedback training for your child, be prepared for a possibly extensive journey. Though there is a way to help your child control their brain processes and improve focus, there is no telling just how long it may take for a doctor to identify those strategies. To ensure that your child gets the help they need, be patient and know that a solution is waiting to be found.
Are There Other Treatment Options?
Of course, there are other treatment options for ADHD, namely stimulant medications. While stimulants have been used for decades to treat the disorder, they tend to do more harm than good. Some proven side effects of the more common stimulants such as Adderall, Methylphenidate or other medications include:
- Decreased Appetite
- Stunted or Delayed Growth
- Difficulty Gaining and Retaining Weight
- Sleep Problems
In some instances, these medications lead to abnormal heartbeats. Before allowing your child to take a stimulant, weight the pros against the risks of doing so.
Some children simply learn to cope with their symptoms by adopting behavioral changes that make life easier. For many, simply coping is much better than risking the adverse effects of stimulants. However, if your child doesn’t have to cope with ADHD, why make them?
Reach Out to the Team at The Reynolds Clinic
The doctors and staff at The Reynolds Clinic are trained and educated in neurobiology and have dedicated their lives to helping individuals with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorders and other neurological dysfunctions overcome their symptoms and go on to lead a normal and fulfilling life. If you’re interested in what our team has to offer for your child, reach out to us at 860.343.0227 or online today.