Healing for Attention
Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders.
disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurological disorder in childhood,
affecting about 5% of all children worldwide. In 40–60% of all cases, ADHD
persists in adolescence and adulthood, leading to a variety of problems
such as poor academic performance, poor socialization, and increased traffic
Primary treatment for ADHD is
medication, particularly psycho-stimulants. However, over 20% of all children
with ADHD fail to respond to those drugs. Moreover, in many children, adverse
side effects have been reported such as reduced growth, sleep disorders, decreased
appetite and delinquent behavior. Long-term follow-up evaluation has also indicated
that once ADHD children stop their medication, their symptoms of ADHD
et al. 2007; Murray et al. 2008).
Neurofeedback is a promising alternative
without reported adverse effects. It significantly reduces attentional problems and hyperactivity in
school children and those changes are permanent. A 2009 ADHD
meta-analysis study concluded that qEEG guided neurofeedback can indeed
be considered an Evidence-Based treatment for ADHD. This analysis included
15 studies and 1194 ADHD patients. The results show that qEEG guided
neurofeedback has large and clinically significant effects on impulsivity,
inattention and hyperactivity.
is somewhat difficult to comprehend how my daughter transformed from a
clumsy distracted and developmentally behind child into an eager learner
who actually enjoys dance classes very much! Three months of treatment
changed our lives completely. I discovered that Charlotte has a
personality, and a beautiful one. Now she has interests, and preferences,
and most importantly skills. Charlotte is not a slow, anxious child like
her kindergarten teachers claimed. She loves puzzles, math, ice-skating and
even reading that used to be a torturous experience for both of us. There
is a whole new world within our daughter that we’ve just recently
discovered. I can’t describe how rewarding it is to have an actual
conversation with your child, to hear her express herself in meaningful and
coherent sentences. This is something we were never able to do before the
you Dr. Jamieson and Hilde. This was a life changing experience for our
family. You gave Charlotte a gift she might only come to appreciate years
later. My daughter is a happy bright
little girl, and much of it we owe to Jamieson Health Center.”
To learn more about
Charlotte’s story, read our newsletter “Do
You Know a Child with a Developmental Disorder?”
How does neurofeedback help ADHD?
Your brain has four major types of brain wave
patterns. Multiple patterns are present in your brain at any given time,
but each area of your brain has a predominate pattern that reflects your current
mental state. The five types of brain wave patterns are:
are the fastest waves. When you are attentive, your brain has a lot of beta
waves. They are a function of cognitive processing.
waves are slower. They are the brain waves of relaxation and indicate
idling in the brain. They are responsible to activate and de-activate
networks in the brain.
waves are even slower. They are a function of memory and emotion (limbic
are the slowest brain waves. They are most intense during deep sleep.
They are a function of integration and fascicular continuity in the
A child reading or
concentrating increases the amount of beta waves in certain parts of
his or her brain. ADHD children don’t do this. Instead of increasing beta
waves, they increase theta waves, trying to excite themselves and get
oxygen and glucose in the brain. That means that where other children are
concentrating harder to complete a certain task, ADHD children get more
excited. There is not enough beta wave activity to dampen their limbic (emotional)
systems and they react impulsively. A standard ADHD neurofeedback protocol
will therefore focus on training theta waves down and beta waves up.
Advanced qEEG Neurofeedback is more effective for ADHD.
There exist however different subtypes or
comorbidities of ADHD. Every
child with ADHD is different. He or she may not only struggle with
hyperactivity, behavioral control and sustained attention. In many cases,
children also show symptoms of other disorders such as anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, epilepsy, specific learning
disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, and even
That’s why we use the data of a qEEG brainmap
to guide the neurofeedback. The above brain wave patterns can be measured
and recorded by an electroencephalogram (EEG). The EEG data is then used to
make a qEEG brain map of your child’s cognitive and emotional function and
defines the protocol that will be used.
qEEG brain maps show reliable markers for the comorbidities of ADHD. When qEEG
guided neurofeedback in combination with photic
stimulation is used to normalize the qEEG,
the comorbidities are usually effectively remediated. A standard ADHD protocol cannot remediate those
qEEG brain maps also show if any metabolic issues such as leaky gut, gluten
sensitivity, liver toxicity, thyroid issues, neurotransmitter imbalances
impact the brain and contribute to the disorder. A healthy diet, better nutrition
and supplements can reduce inflammation in the brain. If needed, we can help
resolve those issues with additional integrative treatments and therefore maximize
the effectiveness of your neurofeedback training.
In 2007 Wright and Gunkelman did a controlled study of standard neurofeedback training vs. qEEG guided
neurofeedback training with 80 ADHD children. They defined their hard criterion for success as a
total elimination of the complaints, no longer diagnosable by the DSM-IV.
They found that only 30% of the children treated with
the standard protocol reached the defined criterion for success. The qEEG-driven protocol
group reached this criterion 60% of the time, a doubling of the success rate. Only 10%
of the qEEG group reported no success vs. 20% for
the standard group.