Neurofeedback, or EEG Biofeedback, is quickly replacing drug therapy for the management of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and comorbid conditions. ADD and ADHD affect as many as 11 percent of American Children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early treatment and intervention is important in an ADHD diagnosis, as it is a difficult, complex disorder that can affect many aspects of a child's life and behavior. Children with ADHD may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships, strained relationships with parents, and poor performance in school. Although symptoms sometimes lessen with age, ADHD often persists into adulthood.
The signs and symptoms of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, frequent daydreaming, difficulty following through on instructions and apparently not listening, problems organizing tasks or activities, forgetfulness and losing items, failure to finish schoolwork or chores, being easily distracted, frequent fidgeting or squirming, difficulty remaining seated or still, excessive talkativeness, frequently interrupting others' conversations or games, or having trouble waiting for his or her turn. ADHD occurs more often in males than in females. The behaviors may also manifest themselves differently in boys than in girls. For example, girls may be more quietly inattentive, while boys tend to be more outwardly hyperactive.
Although some children learn to cope with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD with simple changes to their environment and behavior, other children need stronger or more targeted treatments. Many doctors are currently prescribing stimulant medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall. Although these stimulant medications tend to have a calming effect on children diagnosed with ADHD, there are side effects associated with these drugs that parents should be aware of. These side effects include stunted or delayed growth, difficulty gaining or retaining weight, decreased appetite, sleep problems, and even heart problems in some cases.
Concentrating on tasks helps speed up brain activity for children without ADHD. This makes the child's brain more efficient. However, for children with ADHD the opposite is true. Concentration on a task, for children with ADHD, makes the child more distracted. This, in turn makes the child with ADHD's brain less efficient. This makes trying to help the child pay attention a less effective solution. Neurofeedback helps children with ADHD learn how to make their brain more attentive when needed. This is especially important in school and work environments.
Neurofeedback trains the brain to operate more efficiently. This has proven to have a positive effect on ADHD symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. During neurofeedback treatment, electrodes are placed on the scalp to monitor brainwave activity across a spectrum of frequencies. No energy is ever delivered to the brain during neurofeedback. The electrical signals received from the brain are then processed through specialized hardware and software, and displayed back to the client via a movie or video game. The software encourages desired brainwave activity, while discouraging unwanted brainwave activity. This in turn trains the brain to operate more efficiently. The result is an increased state of calmness and focus, improved mood, better emotional control, better sleep, and an overall higher quality of life.
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