Feb 23, 2008

Neurofeedback as a Treatment for ADHD

I promised you more posts about non-drug treatments for ADHD so here's the first of more posts to come on this subject. Neurofeedback...what is it?

A form of biofeedback training that uses the EEG (Electroencephalogram), also known as the "brain wave" as the signal used to control feedback. Sensors applied to the trainee's scalp record the brainwaves, which are converted into feedback signals by a human/machine interface using a computer and software. By using visual, sound, or tactile feedback to produce operant conditioning of the brain, it can be used to induce brain relaxation through increasing alpha waves. A variety of additional benefits, derived from the improved ability of the CNS (central nervous system) to relax, may also be obtained.

According to MicroNutra Health, who uses the tag line "Alternative Medicine from RealDoctors," "...when a normal child reads or concentrates on any activity, they must increase the amount of beta waves, the fastest brain waves. When children with ADHD try to concentrate, they increase theta waves, which are actually the daydreaming waves. Therefore when ADHD children try to concentrate, they actually trigger daydreaming instead of concentration. Neurofeedback works to teach these children to adjust their brain wave patterns."

I found that to be quite interesting. Imagine the possibilities if this were actually the case and ADHD children could learn to "adjust their brain wave patterns." The site goes on to say that more research is necessary and that using neurofeedback to treat ADHD is also expensive. Is it possible that once more research is completed and this form of treatment is deemed appropriate, that insurance companies will begin covering it more and more? After all, if this treatment actually works, then the need for daily medication could possibly be eliminated. Imagine the savings the insurance companies would then see.

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) also has an informative article on this subject. This article explains...
At one extreme, there are prominent researchers who argue that, although neurofeedback treatment is consistent with current theories about the biological underpinnings of ADHD, there is a lack of scientific data documenting the efficacy of this approach. On the other hand, some neurofeedback researchers and practitioners argue that published studies clearly establish the effectiveness of this treatment.

You can read the rest of the article, in it's entirety, on the ADDA website.

Another option that is similar to neurofeedback is called Play Attention. This is used at home, without medical supervision, through a computer and a specially equipped helmet. For a detailed description of exactly how this works please visit the Play Attention website.

If you would like to research this topic further, may I suggest the following links?

  • WebMD - ADHD and Neurofeedback
  • Neuro Development Center - Neurofeedback Research
  • USA Today - ADHD patients play video games as part of treatment

  • I even ran across a video on You Tube on this subject and thought I'd share it as well...


    1. Hi Shane

      I googled for [personal "adhd blog"] and this way I found you. I am a father of ADHD boy (and married to my ADHD wife, undiagnosed).

      I do crawling exercises to treat ADHD, with my son. Have a look on my blog, drop me a comment. I posted videos of us there. This is a less known treatment, it is drug-free.

      Please check my blog, then check the official site of the method, I mention their URL on the "About me" link on my blog. Then maybe consider writing a post on your blog about this treatment method, in your series of posts about non-drug treatments for ADHD.

      Thanks in advance,

    2. I just wish there was 1)solid research that demonstrates it's effectiveness over time and 2)even if it did work, do you think I could ever get my 7 year old to sit and do it? I doubt it! I do hold hope that as they dig deeper into brain functioning, they'll start to get a better handle on the causes and cures for ADHD!

    3. Hi FreeRangeMom

      Re 1)solid research, the book authors (followers of Dr. Miriam Bender PhD) were maybe the only researchers who worked on the connection between immature STNR and ADHD (crawling and ADHD).

      But since 2004 there is one more research, independent (not Dr. Bender's) research of Taylor, Houghton and Chapman from The University of Western Australia, on the connection between STNR (and other reflexes) and ADHD.

      I build a page on my blog compiling some independent links:


      Re 2)The exercises are for 2 people. If YOU don't want to do crawling exercises, how can you talk to your child about this? This method is for BELIEVERs.

      Maybe talk to your husband about this method. My wife was not able to even think to start doing something like these exercises. We started part me, part her, but soon I realized she does exercises without motivation and thus I took it completely on myself.

      These exercise even improved my relations with my son (greatly), I was in a little distance from the family issues before, more in the computers field.

      Re How to talk to a child? I just talked to him like to an adult - I explained the theory and the logic. I insisted we HAVE to do it for his better future. He saw that it is not easy for me, that I WORK to do these exercises. We crawl, and besides crawling our relations improved, we are "friends" now. I was a computer "autist" before (I am kidding).

      I hope I answered your questions.



    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love comments and feedback!