You are here:

Can Neurofeedback Help Treat ADHD?

Neurofeedback
and ADHD

Highlights

  1. ADHD is a common childhood behavioral disorder.
  2. Your child’s doctor might recommend neurofeedback training to help treat ADHD.
  3. Neurofeedback training might help your child learn to regulate their brain activity.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) is a common childhood behavioral disorder. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as
11 percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD.

An ADHD diagnosis can be difficult to manage.
It’s a complex disorder that can affect many aspects of your child’s daily life
and behavior. Early treatment is important. 

Learn how neurofeedback might help your child
cope with their condition.

Traditional treatments for ADHD

Your child may be able to learn to cope with ADHD
by adopting simple behavioral changes that make their life easier. Changes to their
daily environments can help reduce their level of stimulation and ease their
ADHD-related symptoms.

In some cases, your child may need stronger
and more targeted treatment. Their doctor might prescribe stimulant
medications. For example, they might prescribe dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin),
or other medications to treat your child’s symptoms. These medications actually
help children to focus their attention.

Stimulant
medications come with a host of side effects. It’s important to talk to your
doctor about these potential side effects if you’re thinking about treating your
child’s ADHD with medication. Common side effects include:

  • having a decreased appetite
  • displaying stunted or delayed growth
  • having difficulty gaining and retaining weight
  • experiencing sleep problems

In
very rare cases, your child can also develop an abnormal heartbeat as a side
effect of stimulant medications. Their doctor can help you weigh the potential
benefits and risks of using medications to treat their condition. In some
cases, they may recommend alternative treatment strategies, in addition to or
instead of medications. For example, they might recommend neurofeedback
training.

Neurofeedback training for ADHD

Neurofeedback training is also called electroencephalogram
(EEG) biofeedback. Neurofeedback may help your child learn how to regulate
their brain activity, which will help them concentrate better at school or
work.

In most people, concentrating on a task helps
to speed up brain activity. This makes your brain more efficient. The opposite
is true for children with ADHD. If your child has this condition, the act of
concentrating can leave them vulnerable to distraction and less efficient.
That’s why simply telling them to pay attention isn’t the most effective
solution. Neurofeedback training might help your child learn to make their
brain more attentive when it needs to be.

During a neurofeedback session, your child’s
doctor or therapist will attach sensors to their head. They will connect these
sensors to a monitor and allow your child to see their own brain wave patterns.
Then their doctor or therapist will instruct your child to focus on certain
tasks. If your child can see how their brain functions when they’re focusing on
particular tasks, they might be able to learn to control their brain activity.

In theory, your child can use the biofeedback
sensors and monitor as a guide to help them learn to keep their brain active
while concentrating or performing certain tasks. During a therapy session, they
can try a variety of strategies to maintain their focus and see how it affects
their brain activity. This might help them develop successful strategies to use
when they’re no longer attached to the sensors.

Neurofeedback isn’t widely accepted yet

According to a review of research published
in the journal Clinical EGG and Neuroscience,
some studies have linked neurofeedback to improved impulse control and
attention among people with ADHD. But it isn’t widely accepted as a stand-alone
treatment yet. Your child’s doctor might recommend neurofeedback as a
complementary treatment to use alongside medications or other interventions.

One size doesn’t fit all

Each child is unique. So is their journey
with ADHD. What works for one child may not work for another. That’s why you
should work with your child’s doctor to develop an effective treatment plan.
That plan might involve neurofeedback training.

For now, ask your child’s doctor about neurofeedback
training. They can help you understand how it works and whether or not your
child is a good candidate.

Posted by: Dr.Health

Back to Top