In October of 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics report on Evidence-based Child and Adolescent Psychosocial Interventions concluded that for the Attention and Hyperactivity behavioral problems (ADD and ADHD), Neurofeedback is a “Level 1 Best Support” intervention, the highest level of support. This shows that Neurofeedback and Medication are equally effective per the research findings. Medication often times have short term and long term side effects. Medication can be effective as long as the patient takes the medication. Neurofeedback (which has been used for ADD/ADHD since the late 1950’s) is not invasive, and does not have these side effects. The research shows that after the Neurofeedback Treatment protocol has been completed the effects remain for years to come. If you are interested in the research please contact me and I will send you the relevant research studies.
“What we see in neurofeedback is not just the impact on targeted symptoms of the patient but on the evolving presence and dimensionality of the person training. Patients widen their focus, think new thoughts about old problems, and typically even their vocabulary expands and becomes more nuanced. They are able to escape the stubborn repetitions of their narrative.” -Sebern Fisher
Applied Psychophysiology and Neurofeedback Publication Study Sypnosis
One hundred children aged 6-19 with ADHD were put into two groups – both groups received Ritalin, academic support at school, and parent counseling. One group also received neurofeedback training, the other didn’t (control group).
While Ritalin was still being taken after 1 year by both groups, only the neurofeedback group showed a significant improvement in behavior as measured by parent and teacher rating scales. The researchers concluded that “the effect of Ritalin on parent and teacher ratings of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity was not robust”.
Once Ritalin was stopped after 1 year and time allowed for the drug to leave the system, only the neurofeedback group showed significant improvements on an attention and impulsiveness test.
While Ritalin was still being taken by both groups, an EEG measurement showed an improvement in the area of the brain related to attention (central and frontal cortex) to ‘normal’ levels only in the neurofeedback group.
The researchers conclude “stimulant therapy would appear to constitute a type of prophylactic intervention, reducing or preventing the expression of symptoms without causing an enduring change in the underlying neuropathy of ADHD”, in other words, Ritalin helps to hide the symptoms, whereas neurofeedback changes the biology of the brain to eliminate the symptoms.
Monastra, V.J., Monastra, D.M. & George, S. (2002) The effects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Vol 27, No 4, p231-249
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Follow up study to the one above
This was a follow-up on the study above, to assess whether the findings were sustained 18, 24, and 36 months after the start of the original study.
The neurofeedback group continued to demonstrate improvements 36 months after the original study began, i.e. more than 2 years after neurofeedback ended on all 3 measures – biological (brain activity is seen through EEG), behavioral (teachers and parents rating scales), and Neuropsychological (reaction and impulsivity test).
80% of the neurofeedback group had decreased their Ritalin dose by more than 50%. 85% of the control group had increased their Ritalin dose, none had reduced it.
Monastra VJ (2005). Electroencephalographic biofeedback (Neurotherapy) as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: rationale and empirical foundation. Child Adolesc Psychiatric Clin N Am, 14, 55– 82