Why Neurofeedback Therapy Is A Game-Changer For Treating ADHD

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Neurofeedback therapy is a drug-free treatment option that has demonstrated symptom improvement in several studies. Unlike medications, which can come with unwanted side effects, neurofeedback is non-invasive and completely safe.

During a typical session (typically 60 minutes), electrodes are placed on the head, and patients engage in an activity such as playing a video game while being fed feedback based on their brain wave patterns.

It’s Safe

Unlike stimulant medication, neurofeedback therapy, such as those in The Insight Clinic Neurofeedback Therapy is safe and has no side effects. It is also noninvasive and painless.

To perform a neurofeedback session, a practitioner puts electrodes on your child’s head that monitor brain wave patterns. The feedback is displayed on a computer screen. The goal is to train the brain to produce less of certain types of brain waves.

Neurofeedback uses a combination of audio and visual feedback to teach the brain to stay balanced. It’s similar to meditation on steroids.

While most highly trained doctors offer this treatment, some practitioners use the equipment with dubious backgrounds. To avoid a bad experience, ensure your child’s practitioner is certified by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance and a licensed professional specializing in medical or psychological disorders.

It’s Effective

Neurofeedback works by changing brain wave patterns. It uses 19 sensors, similar to those on a swimmer’s cap, attached to the scalp and connected to software that reads your brain activity. The computer then displays a color-coded map of your brain’s electrical activity and tells you where there’s too much or too little brain wave activity.

During sessions, practitioners teach you to make your brain waves calmer and more focused. They may also ask you to rate your symptoms on standard ADHD rating scales. The hope is that, over time, the training will improve behavior and learning skills.

However, the research could be more extensive and more rigorous testing is needed to determine whether neurofeedback is effective. For this reason, it’s best used as a complement to stimulant medication treatment and behavior therapy.

It’s Affordable

Brainwaves have different frequencies, which can be measured with an electroencephalograph (EEG). Neurofeedback aims to bring these frequencies back into the normal range.

To do so, electrodes are placed on the scalp and connected to a real-time computer to display results. When a person’s brain waves reach optimal, they are rewarded with a movie or video game on the screen.

Many therapists specialize in neurofeedback therapy; some insurance providers will cover the treatment. Using an HSA account for NFB sessions is also possible, and some therapists will offer scholarships or sliding scale options. NFB sessions can be lengthy and take a while to see results. However, the benefits are long-lasting and effective.

It’s Effective For Adults

Neurofeedback therapy is drug-free, safe, and scientifically proven. According to the American Psychological Association’s five-level grading system, neurofeedback is “probably efficacious” for ADHD.

It involves putting electrodes that run from an EEG machine on your head and letting you see real-time brain waves on a computer screen while you perform tasks such as reading. You can gradually learn to change your brain wave patterns to improve attention and behavior.

Research suggests that people with ADHD generate more low-frequency delta and theta brain waves than those without ADHD, leading to difficulty focusing and problem-solving. Over 20 to 40 sessions, neurofeedback aims to decrease the frequency of these brain waves and increase high-frequency beta wave power. This can significantly reduce ADHD symptoms, and the benefits are long-lasting.

It’s Effective For Children

Neurofeedback therapy helps you “train” your brain to harmonize its slow and fast waves. During sessions, your child sits with headphones in front of a screen that displays images, videos and activities to reward them when their brain wave patterns reach optimal ranges (usually decreasing beta power).

Several studies have shown that neurofeedback can improve ADHD symptoms. In one study, kids who received 40 weekly neurofeedback sessions experienced significant improvement compared to a control group that did not receive the treatment. This improvement was captured in parent ratings, classroom performance and fMRI scans.

Another study found that children with ADHD who completed neurofeedback training needed less medication at a 13-month follow-up. Naomi Steiner, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, says kids who get neurofeedback are learning to turn on their brains in a way that increases their attention span.

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