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ADHD: The struggle to make the correct diagnosis and choose the correct treatment

There is a wealth of information on the web, and in books, professional journals and magazines about ADHD, so we will not repeat that information here. In this fast-paced world in which we live, many people struggle with attention deficit traits. Many of us have brains that can adapt to this lifestyle. AND the incidence of true ADHD/ADD is growing. More and more children and adults are struggling to get organized, stay focused and get things done because they have a “brain disorder” that interferes with their ability to perform well and feeling good about themselves.

While we call all attention deficit disorders “ADHD”, there are three types of ADHD: the inattentive type, the hyperactive type and the mixed type. There are effective treatments for all three. It is now generally accepted that ADHD is a very treatable brain disorder. However, clients and families run into trouble getting a correct diagnosis and determining if medication is the best answer. The number of adults and children on stimulant medications for ADHD is growing, and no one is very excited about it.

Doctors do not like prescribing ADHD meds because of the potentially harmful side effects. They also worry teenage and college aged young adults will share or sell their pills. Kids don’t like the meds because, while they work, the side effects are unpleasant and the medication wears off before the day is over. Parents worry that ADHD medications will hurt their child. Medications do not permanently fix the problem, and people function better only when the medication is in their system. When they stop taking the meds, the ADHD symptoms return. There is also the problem of mis-use of the medications, how much to take, long-acting v. short acting, weekend and summer usage, etc. It is all very confusing, and frankly, a bit scary.

We have previously explained about how neurofeedback works. On the one hand, it is complicated, putting sensors on the scalp, measuring your brain waves, tracking changes. On the other hand, it is quite simple. Tell your brain how to behave and it does what it is told. Neurofeedback, in conjunction with therapy, education, and sometimes medication, offers an alternative or adjunct treatment for ADHD in children and adults.

Neurofeedback is a treatment worth considering. We know that ADHD is a result of a circuitry mal-function in the brain. Stimulants correct this problem. However, they do not solve the problem. Neurofeedback may actually solve the problem. Through brain training, children and adults teach their brains to function better. Neurofeedback gives people immediate positive feedback when their brain is behaving properly, allowing them to improve attention, cognitive function, sleep, and mood, all issues for people with ADHD. Much of this training can be permanent, though occasional “tune-ups” may be necessary. The training could take up to 20 sessions, since the brain has to work hard to make permanent changes.

Neurofeedback for ADHD at The Hull Institute

We began using neurofeedback training in 2010 and have had excellent results. We started training kids with ADHD and our parents and kids love it. There is a huge need in Northeast Ohio for alternatives and adjuncts to medication in the treatment of ADHD. We also recognize that in our main practice: eating disorders, obesity and addictions, there is a high percentage of folks who also have ADHD symptoms. We begin by conducting a thorough assessment including interviews with the client and family. Client and family participation is critical. Clients and families need to complete a weekly checklist and rate symptoms so we can track how we are doing. Clients and families need to be open to learning new skills and practicing them at home, as we know that behavior modification is an important part of ADHD treatment.

At The Hull Institute, we offer neurofeedback training along with other therapies and we have a network of physicians and other specialists with whom we work to offer a comprehensive treatment team.

Additional readings

www.eegspectrum.com/FAQ our local colleagues

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