Neurofeedback for ADHD is a relatively new treatment in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms.
According to the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research, 10,000 children are currently receiving neurofeedback treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
This field is rapidly expanding as brain researchers, through the use of brain scans, are finding more and more links between brain function and Attention Deficit.
The brain emits different brainwaves, such as theta and beta waves. When mapped, brainwaves are different when we are in different states, such as when we are focused versus daydreaming.
Neurofeedback trains the brain to produce and maintain brainwaves of focused attention. As a result, the hallmark symptoms of ADHD - hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention - are decreased.
During the first neurofeedback session, a baseline brain map is attained. The patient wears a device on the head that is connected with electrodes and sits silently with eyes closed for a few minutes.
The patient is then asked to perform cognitive tasks such as reading aloud, and a baseline brain-mapping is recorded detailing brainwave activity during unfocused versus focused cognitive activities. It specifically maps areas of the brain that are underdeveloped.
In subsequent sessions, the patient wears the same gear but sits in front of a video or computer screen.
The patient plays fun interactive video games that promote brain-wave activity in the "unfocused" areas of the brain that could benefit from additional development.
The games stops if the patient loses focus, so sustained focused brain activity is encouraged and rewarded by more fun games. Treatment usually consists of 20-40 sessions.
The procedure is easy and painless. The sessions are only about 30 minutes each. In addition, unlike other ADHD treatments, the benefits of neurofeedback appear to remain after the treatment has ended. As a result, some patients are able to reduce their ADHD medication doses by up to 50% after receiving neurofeedback treatment.
It is expensive. The average course or duration of treatment may cost anywhere between $2000 to $5000. The average is $3000.
Using neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD is still a work in progress. Because it is relatively new, it has yet to be thoroughly tested and replicated in large randomized controlled trials. However, this is changing and over time more research is being conducted.
In addition, many ADHD treatment providers still maintain that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is best treated on many fronts, including a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, etc.
Only time will tell. Until then, this treatment may be worth investigating if you have the resources to pay for it.
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