According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ADHD is the most frequently diagnosed pediatric behavioral health disorder. 11 % of American school-aged children (and nearly 20% of all high school boys) have been medically diagnosed with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is generally diagnosed in children who exhibit attention difficulties, impulsive behaviors, and extreme levels of hyperactivity. Children with ADHD frequently exhibit a variety of physical problems such as headaches and immune system deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, resulting in frequent illnesses. Additionally, anxiety, depression, oppositional-defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, tic disorder, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive behaviors may be present. The 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to suffer from attention problems in adolescence and adulthood. As well as over 50% of adults with ADHD suffer from a comorbid behavioral disorder.
While the exact causes of ADHD remain unclear, most researchers agree that it is a brain disorder associated with neuronal dysregulation that is largely inherited but may be worsened by minor brain trauma, birth trauma, emotional and dietary factors, and inadequate sleep. (Othmer and Othmer, 1992). Approximately 80-90 percent of persons diagnosed with ADHD display signs of “cortical hypoarousal”. Cortical hypoarousal disables the executive functions, severely compromising the person’s ability to pay attention, focus, and inhibit their impulses. Brain imaging research has demonstrated that the brains of ADHD children and adults can best be described as “sleepy brains” with “drowsy” brain wave frequency.
Stimulant medication and behavior therapy (BT) are the two most widely accepted treatments for ADHD. While both are considered to meet the highest standards for the ‘evidence-based treatment’ of ADHD, the actual evidence is that these treatments fail to result in sustained benefit for the vast majority of children who receive them.
Furthermore, even during initial treatment, a full third or more of children do not respond adequately to ADHD medications and/or experience significant adverse side-effects from these medications that result in added behavioral and health problems and not infrequently, the addition of other medications . The 750% increase over the last decade in the use of antipsychotic medications with children is especially troubling given their well-known risk for weight gain and development of diabetes and the lack of actual research evidence of their safety and effectiveness in children.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, also known as Neurofeedback, has proven to be a highly promising alternative treatment for children and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neurofeedback has also shown itself to be both compatible with and an effective enhancement to behavior therapy.
There is now over 40 years of accumulated research comprising literally hundreds of published studies and clinical reports documenting the efficacy of Neurofeedback in the treatment of many thousands of ADHD children and adults in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Collectively these reports strongly support the contention that Neurofeedback is effective in reducing the core symptoms of ADHD. In many ways, Neurofeedback is an ideal therapy modality because it is effective, non-invasive and safe.
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed Neurofeedback as a treatment with the “highest level of evidence-based support” for the treatment of ADHD. Neurofeedback treatment of ADHD essentially trains the brain to engage self-regulatory processes to normalize brainwaves; especially in those brain regions thought to be responsible for attention and behavioral control. Essentially, the brain learns to decrease production of slow -waves activity and increase fast-wave activity in the brain.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback reports that when Neurofeedback is used to treat ADHD, up to 80% of patients show “significant improvement in the condition and a marked reduction in medication requirements.”
You can find more information about Neurofeedback on the site http://www.isnr.org/.
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