Doctors who treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children typically recommend some combination of medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy.
But when treatments cause side effects or stop working, more and more parents are turning to neurofeedback to help their children with ADHD. Recent research shows that the technique may provide real and lasting benefits – possibly greater than cognitive therapy (CT).
ADHD is the most common mental disorder among children, affecting between 5 percent and 10 percent of kids in the United States. Symptoms of ADHD include inability to focus and pay attention, hyperactivity and the inability to control impulses. Children with ADHD perform poorly in school, have trouble making friends and sometimes suffer from depression and low self-esteem.
Experts don’t know what causes ADHD, but children who have it often have less activity in areas of the brain that control impulses, or they may have imbalances in brain chemistry. The disorder seems to run in families, so some experts suspect genetics plays a role.
A Tufts University research project in 2013 showed some promising results following a series of neurofeedback treatments to a group of 7- to 14-year-olds in the Boston area. In the study, more than 100 children were assigned to three groups: one group received neurofeedback treatments, one received cognitive therapy; and one was a control group.
The children were evaluated six months after their treatments, and those who received neurofeedback made greater gains in attention, executive function and impulsivity than the other test groups, and maintained those improvements to a greater extent.
“Neurofeedback participants made more prompt and greater improvements in ADHD symptoms, which were sustained at the 6-month follow-up, than did CT participants or those in the control group,” the study concluded. “This finding suggests that neurofeedback is a promising attention training treatment for children with ADHD.”
According to The Maine Center of Neurointegration in Bangor, neurofeedback is “a non-invasive process where brain waves are monitored in real time by a computer that can then use that information to produce changes in brainwave activity.”
During neurofeedback treatments, a computer monitors brainwaves while the patient watches a movie, plays a game or listens to music. When deviations from normal brainwave activity occur, the computer triggers an audio or visual cue that alerts the patient that they are outside normal ranges. These cues are received by the brain, which subconsciously adjusts itself back to a normal pattern to make the cue stop. With enough repetition of this process, the brain eventually learns to stay in the normal ranges on its own without the computer. With the brain functioning normally on its own, symptoms of irregular brain activity decline.
Successful treatment requires a series of sessions, which usually last about 30 minutes.
For more information, contact The Maine Center of Neurointegration: 207-947-9200; www.mainebraincenter.com
Are you a business owner interested in learning how to sponsor your content? Contact email@example.com or call 207.990.8239 for more details. Visit solutions.bdnmaine.com for more information on our full suite of marketing services.