Many parents of children who have been diagnosed with ADD are looking for alternative or supplementary treatments to medication. Neurofeedback might just be the solution they’ve been looking for! Neurofeedback, also known as brainwave biofeedback, directly trains the brain to stay more calm and focused. It has been reported effective in treating ADD by many clinicians over the past few decades. This non-invasive process is gaining in popularity -in 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics called it a “Level 1: ‘Best Support’ intervention for ADD on par with medication.” Benefits of neurofeedback can be seen far beyond the treatment session and there are no negative side effects.
So what exactly is it and how does it work to treat ADD? The neurofeedback treatment process involves placing electrodes on the scalp to measure brainwave patterns by number and type. There are five main types of brain waves, but the theta and beta waves are particularly important to the treatment. Theta waves are the slow ones, seen during daydreaming, for example. Beta waves are fast, seen during mental work and concentrative states. In treatment, the patient plays games with a computer screen using their mind. The computer responds to the brain wave activity, rewarding the patient when the brain responds correctly and urging the patient to work harder if it reads that he or she is getting distracted.
Neurofeedback is not a miracle cure, so it can’t work magic overnight. Many patients need thirty or forty treatment sessions before they see a significant change. Since it can be hard to stick with the program for this amount of time, some clinics are offering intensive forms of neurofeedback called LORETA (low-resolution electromagnetic tomography), which require fewer sessions than traditional neurofeedback. After treatment, people with ADD will usually see improved reading skills, less impulsivity and aggression, better sleep, and best of all, less need for medication.