The core behaviours associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADHD), are inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity and response inhibition. Affected children may have problems with poor academic performance at school and difficulties in managing their social relationships. If not addressed, the associated behaviours can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. But there is one of effective way of treating ADHD with Neurofeedback training.
Neurofeedback for ADHD is an exciting treatment option for both adults and children with ADHD. The powerful drugs such as Ritalin, commonly prescribed for the disorder may have short-term benefits but cannot change the underlying causes. In addition, these drugs often have side effects and may become less effective over time.
An effective way of Treating ADHD with Neurofeedback training
Treating ADHD with Neurofeedback is effective long term because it works directly on the areas of the brain that, in people with ADD or ADHD, have too much slow brainwave activity. These are the areas controlling attention and focus and this slow activity can result in feelings of worry, depression and lack of motivation.
Prescription drugs have a stimulant activity and work to increase activity in the areas with too much slow activity. However, they can also further stimulate the rapid activity in other areas of the brain, potentially leading to aggressiveness, impulsiveness, anxiety and, in a classroom situation, disruptive behaviours because the child is quite literally, unable to sit still and listen.
By contrast, Neurofeedback is selective and does not affect other areas of the brain that may already be overactive in these patients.
How does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?
Neurofeedback focuses on effecting change of the underlying symptoms by ‘retraining’ the brain. Numerous Scientific studies have proven the technology effective in improving the underlying symptoms of ADHD.
Daniel Lane of the Perth Brain Centre, a founding Fellow of The Australasian Academy of Functional Neurology (AAFN) and a Member of the International Society for Neurofeedback and other, respected, Professional associations, explains that, at the Perth Brain Centre, treating ADHD with Neurofeedback therapy for children with ADHD often takes the form of playing a fun video game.
He goes on to explain that the advances in technology mean that patients receive instantaneous feedback about changes in brainwaves. In the case of treating ADHD with Neurofeedback, the aim is to reduce levels of slow brainwave activity. When the computer that is busy analyzing brainwave activity behind the scenes, detects a reduction in this slow brainwave activity, the patient’s achievement is rewarded with a better gaming experience, (the game might run brighter or more smoothly). However, if the slow brainwave activity increases, there is a negative effect – the game might go dark or stop altogether.
Repetition is the key with Neurofeedback therapy. Treating ADHD with Neurofeedback therapy helps the person with ADHD to retrain their brain and effect changes in their brainwave patterns. The brain is being ‘taught’ or ‘re-trained’ – unsurprisingly, it doesn’t happen overnight, repeated, regular sessions of training, strengthen and reinforce these more normal levels of activity and over time, symptoms improve. The changes are long-term and may even be permanent.
Neurofeedback training should only be conducted under the supervision of a qualified practitioner and must be customized to the needs of each individual patient. There are limitations, as with any treatment. The number of training sessions is not the same for everyone and results can vary between individuals, as each person’s brainwave patterns are as unique as they are. An initial assessment will help to determine whether the patient (whether an adult or child), is a good candidate for this type of therapy.
Part of the success of the treatment is that both adults and children seem to enjoy it. This encourages them to continue with the ‘brain training’ and the improvements seen and experienced can be very significant. Patients learn to manage their behaviour, achieve increased focus and decreased impulsivity when they participate in a program of treating ADHD with Neurofeedback training on a consistent basis.
John writes on health related topics. Neuroscience and the healing of the brain is a particular interest of his.