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ADHD: Treatment Options

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.(1) ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed disorder with these behaviors interfere with school and home life and can continue into adulthood.

Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.(2)

  • Inattention – Unable or difficulty to maintain or sustain focus, disorganized. These symptoms are not due to defiant behavior or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity – Moving constantly, excessively fidgeting, taps hands or feet, or talks quickly and abundantly. This is including situations that may not be appropriate. In adults, it may appear as extreme restlessness or constant activity.
  • Impulsivity – Making quick decisions without thinking before reacting. Hasty actions that can have high potential for harm without consideration for long-term consequences. Unable to delay gratification and need immediate rewards.

Treatment Options: 

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Neurofeedback
  • Combination
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Treatment options:

ADHD is genetic-based disorder with environmental, social and behavioral components that can exacerbate symptoms. There is no cure and the cause is not officially known. However, there are options that help reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning.

We have added just a few areas that many families have used to help:

Medication
ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. Medication also may improve physical coordination. Sometimes several different medications or dosages must be tried before finding the right one that works for a particular person. Anyone taking medications must be monitored closely and carefully by their prescribing doctor. The most common medication prescribed is a stimulant. It works by increasing brain chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine), which play essential roles in thinking and attention. These medications should be monitored by a licensed doctor as there are a number of side effects that can occur with the use of stimulant medications.

  • decreased appetite
  • sleep problems
  • tics (sudden, repetitive movements or sounds)
  • personality changes
  • increased anxiety and irritability
  • stomachaches
  • headaches

If any of these occur, you should notify your doctor to determine the best course of action.

Psychotherapy/CBT

Cognitive Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behavior. It can help to teach the patient to better organize tasks or complete schoolwork. Some deeper levels of psychotherapy can help the patient process through emotionally difficult events. It can also help the patient become more aware of his/her symptoms by monitoring behavior patterns, giving praise or positive reinforcement for appropriate responses; such as, thinking before reacting.

 

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is based-based biofeedback. It is non-invasive, uses no medication, but can be used in combination with medication or other treatment programs. It is a learning modality to teach the brain to self-regulate by improving brainwave patterns to produce electrical connectivity in a more optimal way. This reduces symptoms of many conditions and disorders. 

Neurofeedback is used in a video, music or video game that produces video or sound when the brain meets specific criteria designed from a qEEG Brain Map. This is considered the positive feedback for desired brain activity.

ADHD

For brain activity that is undesirable, the movie or auditory tones will fade so the brain receives no stimulus to continue producing the undesirable brainwave patterns. The goal is for symptoms to diminish long-term when using the correct protocols for a variety of disorders.

  • Benefits of Neurofeedback
    • Neurofeedback training has been commonly found to be associated with decreased impulsiveness and hyperactivity, increased mood stability, improved sleep patterns, increased attention span, improved academic performance, increased retention and memory, and increased IQ scores.

Combination of treatments:
Treatment includes medication, psychotherapy, neurofeedback, education or training, or a combination of these treatments to help find a balance that works for the child or adult to improve functioning.