Neurofeedback For Children With ADHD
The idea of neurofeedback is an interesting one. Maybe you've seen the scene in a sci-fi movie where the person goes into a meditative state and changes some seemingly involuntary characteristic of their body, like slowing their heartbeat to almost nothing, or rapidly raising the body's core temperature. As it turns out, this is actually possible.
Biofeedback and Neurofeedback
Biofeedback is the process where you control a seemingly involuntary function of the body. Through biofeedback you can learn to control functions of the body like breathing, temperature, memory and possibly even epilepsy. Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that works to manipulate brain waves instead of body function. Also called electroencephalographic biofeedback, neurofeedback teaches the person to alter their brain waves.
Neurofeedback and ADHD
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.
Does It Work?
Researches debate the validity of various studies. However, most support the use of neurofeedback in addition to traditional forms of medication and therapy. Neurofeedback has been shown to be effective and should be considered a viable form of ADHD therapy. More research will need to be done to determine the best and most effective methods. It is also very expensive, and not always an appropriate option. And, since it teaches these children to take control of their own ADHD, it is beneficial for the child's self esteem as well. Some studies have shown that children who learn neurofeedback no longer require any ADHD medication at all.
Is Neurofeedback Right For My Child?
This is a decision you'll have to make with your child's doctor. Many doctors support the use of neurofeedback in addition to other forms of therapy. Just as with other illnesses, it's important to treat all aspects of the condition. Those with high cholesterol are told to exercise, eat better and take a cholesterol lowering medication. The same goes for children with ADHD. A comprehensive approach should include nutritional counseling, medication, therapy, parental counseling and education and social techniques. Neurofeedback can be one part of this larger picture.
How Does It Work?
In neurofeedback, therapists put electrodes on patients heads. The electrodes are connected to a computer which measures and records the electrical impulses in the brain. The patients can see these results and learn to manipulate them. Neurofeedback has been used to decades to ease symptoms of epilepsy, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction and memory loss.
Photo Credit: Colton Witt Photography
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