For those who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who have a child diagnosed with ADHD, you are familiar with the unpleasant symptoms that stem from the disorder. ADD and ADHD affect an individual's prefrontal cortex, located in the front of the brain. If you recall a previous blog entry on The Adolescent Brain, the prefrontal cortex is one of the last areas of the brain to develop. Within the prefrontal cortex, it affects one’s ability to perform executive functions. These functions primarily include the ability to plan and/or the ability to make decisions. This makes tasks asked of individuals in both work and school environments more challenging than for those who do not have a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. For students, planning ahead to complete a research project or trying to study in advance for a test can be extremely difficult and frustrating. Similarly for adults, trying to make a work deadline or attempting to finish a project can be overwhelming and feel nearly impossible. Individuals who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD often experience difficulties when tasks are too boring or too demanding. As such, these individuals may have difficulty working when a task feels mundane or working when under pressure. There are many other symptoms associated with ADD and ADHD, such as inattention or hyperactive-impulsive behavior, that an individual may experience. However, let’s move to look at possible treatment options for individuals affected by this disorder.
For those diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, there are lots of treatment options. Should you seek a therapist? Should you seek a psychiatrist? Should you try neurofeedback? This is a personal decision and should be decided on an individual basis. However, let’s take the time to examine how neurofeedback can help alleviate problematic symptoms and help you achieve optimal brain health.
According to several studies as cited by Dr. Clare Albright (2010), approximately 80% of individuals’ problematic symptoms are alleviated within 30-40 neurofeedback sessions. That may seem like a long time, but there is a benefit: the symptoms do not come back. Unlike other treatment alternatives, neurofeedback does not mask the symptoms but works to minimize and possibly eliminate the symptoms, permanently. How does it do this? Neurofeedback looks to treat the problems that are responsible for the symptoms-- it targets the source itself. Medication may help with symptoms, but unlike with neurofeedback, once an individual stops taking medications the symptoms are likely to reappear. If you decide that medication is an option for you or your loved one, know that it can be taken in conjunction with neurofeedback. However, before making any decisions regarding medication, please consult with your psychiatrist or doctor.
Luckily, neurofeedback treatment for ADHD is considered a “Level 1- Best Support” by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children and adolescents. Out of 5 levels, this is the most empirically supported treatment level an intervention could acquire. As such, this is a wonderful empirically-based treatment option for you or your loved ones.
If you are interested in the services that neurofeedback has to offer, please feel free to contact us to learn more about whether neurofeedback is a good fit for you.
Albright, C. (2010). Neurofeedback: Transforming your life with brain biofeedback. Trenton, MO:Beckworth Publications.