ADHD and Neurofeedback
How does ADHD affect the brain?
ADHD can be caused by the electrical activity in the brain not working optimally. This can happen in four ways and is identified with biomarkers that we measure with a qEEG. With two of these biomarkers, there may be too much much slow electrical activity in parts of the brain that regulate focus and attention. This can make it hard for the brain to focus. Two other biomarkers are related to the brain producing too much of a certain type of electrical activity which can cause a person to be impulsive, aggressive and/or anxious. People with ADHD are normally very intelligent. They often get the big picture right away, but because their mental pace may be faster than the person giving the instructions, so they behave impatiently and miss many details. Alternately, they may find it difficult to focus on one topic because the condition of brain waves causes them to be distracted.
How does Sadar Psychological use EEG biofeedback/ Neurofeedback to treat ADHD?
ADHD is a brain problem. The brain functions via an electrical-chemical process. When the signal is within a neuron, the signal is electrical; when the signal crosses a synapse, which is a gap between neurons, the signal is switched to a chemical. Upon reaching the other neuron, the signal once again becomes electrical, and on and on it goes: electrical-chemical-electrical-chemical, etc. To regulate the brain you need to change its chemistry or its electricity. Medications, being chemicals, work on changing the brain’s chemical make-up. Neurofeedback, or EEG biofeedback, is a way for the brain to learn to change its own electrical activity. For ADHD, the EEG-biofeedback training is aimed at having the brain learn to produce electrical currents that are associated with the ability to focus and to concentrate.
When you train your brain with EEG biofeedback, it helps you learn how to become focused, calm, and to gain self-control. Most people can’t control the number of heartbeats they make per minute. With biofeedback training, they can learn to do so. Likewise it is also possible to learn to control the rhythm of the brain. If the brain’s waves are “not in sync” or are too fast or slow, it’s very hard to focus, be calm, or be in control.
How effective is neurofeedback at treating ADHD?
Surveys of health professionals using neurofeedback to treat ADHD estimate that over 85% of their patients report improved ability to focus, regulate behavior, and decrease impulsivity when they train on a consistent schedule.
If desired, in addition to lessening symptoms of ADHD, our clinicians can work with you or your loved one and their physicians to decrease medications. Many individuals are able to eliminate medications altogether, while some are left with a minimal dose and/or a maintenance training schedule (once every 3-6 months, for example). We also have several other tools available that compliment and often optimize the training experience. Depending upon the individual patient, these tools may assist by increasing the impact of neurofeedback and at times shortening the duration of the training needed to achieve the desired results. Please contact us for an individual consultation.
How does neurofeedback compare to other treatments for ADHD?
|How Long has the treatment been around?||Since 1960s||Early 20th Century or before||Ritalin – 1956Adderall – 1996|
|Results are long term once stopped||Yes||Yes||No. Possible “rebound effect”|
|Average Cost per Session||$110||$100||$20/month for Ritalin$140/month for Adderall|
|Average Time Investment||30-50 hours over 1 year||10-60 hours over 1-2 years||1 minute per day until adulthood or longer|
|Negative Side Effects||No||No||Ritalin- Decreased appetite , symptoms worsen when drug wears off, nervousness, potential for abuseAdderall- False sense of wellbeing , abdominal pain|
|Ability to treat multiple biomarkers||Yes||Yes||Medications for differing biomarkers often conflict with one another|
|Outside Interests that conflict||No||No||Possible financial and political|
|Effectiveness||Shows improvement approx. 80% of the time||Many people report positive results when they follow assignments||Varies. Some report good results. May require several different medication attempts to find the best fit|
|American Pediatric Association Approved||Yes Level l||Yes, Level l when combined with behavior therapy||Yes, Level l when combined with behavior therapy|
|Approved for children under 6||Yes||Yes||No|
|Total Costs||Lifetime: $3000 average||1-10 years: $600-$6000||6 years: $1440, plus behavior therapy: total approximately: $4000|