Neurofeedback For ADHD And ADD

Frustrated child

What is ADHD or ADD?

Both of these diagnoses represent perhaps two of the most over diagnosed and inappropriately diagnosed psychological/behavioral conditions in the USA today.  Unfortunately, this misdiagnosis process can have dire results for many children and adults because people are not yet aware of the alternatives.  This is because they have been given potentially dangerous medications to address what they thought were symptoms associated with this disorder.  Consequently, many have suffered side effects and potential organ damage according to some researchers.

ADHD often manifests itself as hyperactivity, distraction, inability to focus or maintain focus, impulsiveness, an inability to stay on task or hyperfocusing on a task, irritability, rapid speech, poor social interactions, being disruptive and is often accompanied by memory issues. Its relative, ADD, manifests itself with all except the hyperactivity elements.  In some cases the individual may have a combined form.  Reflecting changes in our growing understanding of these conditions, recently the newly released DSM-V, the coding manual used for diagnostic purposes and insurance reimbursement, has changed the age of onset from before the age of 6 to before the age of 12.

What causes it?

More recent brain research has shown that ADHD type and ADD type symptoms can have a variety of different sources in the brain.  In some instances there appears to be structural and neurotransmitter reasons, particularly in what is known as True or the Genetic form of ADHD. This form of ADHD also often runs in families and throughout generations.

Some of the other misdiagnosed origins for ADHD and ADD like behaviors include: head trauma(s), anxiety conditions, attachment disorders, PTSD, bipolar disorder, atypical seizures, allergic responses, metabolic issues like hyperthyroidism, in utero (in the womb) exposures to teratogens (toxics like alcohol and certain drugs), heavy metal and other toxicity (lead, aluminum,  and other metal exposures), prematurity, other birth issues like hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain-blue baby), and ischemia (lack of blood flow to the brain). These can all contribute to behavioral symptoms that look identical to ADHD or ADD.

So how do I know if I have it?

Simple behavioral checklists and observations by professionals and paraprofessionals are not good enough and are subject to significant error.  Continuous performance tests like the TOVA and the IVA can provide some useful data when combined with the checklists and observations, but one of the more reliable tools is the qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalography) (See qEEG link).

What can be done about it?

In the past the most widely used method of treating ADHD or ADD was with potentially harmful medications.  More and more research is showing that medications are less effective than previously thought, and can have side effects.

What can I do about it if I don’t want to or can’t take medications?

qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalography) guided Neurofeedback has been developed to not only assist with the diagnostic process, but with the alleviation of symptomatologies associated with ADHD and ADD, and with some of the other behaviors noted above that mimic the symptoms.  In fact the American Board of Pediatric Physicians has stated that Neurofeedback is now the most efficacious evidenced-based treatment for ADHD and ADD.

How does Neurofeedback (NFB) differ from the other approaches?

Neurofeedback differs from other approaches in that it is non-invasive, non-toxic, and non-addictive and uses the strength of the individual’s own brain and healing systems to increase the individual’s functioning.   Neurofeedback can work also with other approaches, or as a standalone approach in some situations. Changing the way the brain operates through the use of (qEEG) Quantitative Electroencephalography Guided Neurofeedback training (using reward or operant conditioning) can alter symptomatologies in dramatic and often permanent ways.  Neurofeedback has little known side effects, and is relatively easy to learn and often fun.  Lastly, because it is not a medical procedure it does not require a doctor’s prescription.

How do ICANS approaches improve functioning and lessen symptoms?

Through a highly individualized assessment process, determinations are made as to where to intervene in order to help restore functioning or to improve it.  Using a variety of Biofeedback and Neuropsychophysiological approaches to help define the client’s condition, a training plan is made that may involve traditional biofeedback and/or qEEG guided Neurofeedback.

Likewise, consultations with other care providers are also frequently made to provide better outcomes for the individual.  As an example, consultations can be made with physicians to inform them about improvements (symptom reductions, improved brain functioning) made by the client as a result of Neurofeedback and Biofeedback training, and the client and his or her doctor can then make determinations about medication dosing or in some cases the cessation of medications.

Are you ready to find better solutions to reducing the impact of ADD/ADHD, without medications?

Contact Dr. Dollschnieder's office today and schedule your initial evaluation. You will learn how the powerful combination of approaches used at ICANS may be your best next step.