Neurofeedback was first popularized in the United States during the space race of the 1960s. NASA scientists used brain-biofeedback readings called EEG to measure brain wave activity in astronauts. Today, we use neurofeedback to treat a variety of psychological and physiological issues, including: ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Migraines, Seizures, Sleep Problems, and more. As a proven alternative for many types of medication, a growing number of mental health professionals are combining neurofeedback with their talk-therapy private practice.
Physician Endorsements for Neurofeedback
“EEG biofeedback [Neurofeedback] meets the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry criteria for clinical guideline (CG) for treatment of ADHD, seizure disorders, anxiety (OCD, GAD, PTSD, phobias), depression, reading disabilities, and addictive disorders. This suggests that EEG biofeedback should always be considered as an intervention for these disorders.”
– Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
“EEG biofeedback [Neurofeedback], in the long term management of ADHD providing a sustained effect even without stimulant treatment… Parents interested in non-psychopharmacologic treatment can pursue the use of complementary and alternative therapy. The therapy most promising by recent clinical trials appears to be EEG biofeedback.”
– Katie Campbell Daley, M.D.
Department of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and in the Department of Pediatrics of the Harvard Medical School.
“Among the newer approaches to managing ADD, the most exciting is a learning process called Neurofeedback. It empowers a person to shift the way he pays attention. After more than twenty-five years of research in university labs, Neurofeedback has become more widely available. This is a pleasing development, because Neurofeedback has no negative side effects.”
– William Sears, M.D. Author of “The A.D.D. Book.”
“It [Neurofeedback] improves seizures, depression, low self-esteem or congenital head injuries, and it helps the ‘craziness’ that often comes with these…Patients report they sleep better, they don’t have seizures, they are more in control, and that they get more work done. It helps with closed head injury patients. It helps with chronic neurologic disease, where there is no active injury but there are problems with normal functioning. We’ve had success with multiple sclerosis, with toxic encephalopathy (for example, chemical poisoning interfering with neurologic functioning), with chronic pain, migraines and fibromyalgia. And of course, we get very good results with ADD.”
– Jonathan Walker, M.D. Neurologist, Dallas, TX
“In my experience with EEG Biofeedback [Neurofeedback] and ADD, many people are able to improve their reading skills and decrease their need for medication. Also, EEG Biofeedback has helped to decrease impulsivity and aggressiveness. It is a powerful tool, in part because the patient becomes part of the treatment process by taking more control over his own physiological processes.”
– Daniel Amen, M.D. CEO and Medical Director, Amen Clinics, Inc.
Author of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”
Published Journal Articles Supporting Neurofeedback
According to a number of leading scientists in the country, as published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, Neurofeedback is most likely helpful in treating ADHD in children.
Based on the results and methodologies of published studies, this review concludes that NF for pediatric ADHD can be currently considered as “efficacious.”
Another study published in the Journal Of Clinical EEG Neuroscience concluded that:
Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered “Efficacious and Specific” with a large ES for inattention and impulsivity and a medium ES for hyperactivity.
Finally, as reported in the Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback journal,
Neurofeedback was efﬁcient in improving some of the behavioral concomitants of ADHD in children whose parents favored a nonpharmacological treatment.
Neurofeedback Training. How does it work?
Neurofeedback consists of computers and electrodes connected to the head directly, or by wearing an elastic cap. The computers allow the clinician to view and enhance the EEG bands of brain wave activity in real time, offering the ability to treat a variety of conditions in new and more detailed ways. Data is collected to construct an initial QEEG report, or “brain map”, which may take the first few sessions. Then, based on the results of the QEEG report, sensors are gently placed on the head in the corresponding areas where the brain has been shown to be producing overactive or underactive (abnormal) wave patterns. The electrode sensors are then run through a wire into a sophisticated computer.
The advanced software on the computer converts the patient’s brain wave information into visual stimuli on a screen, which the patient watches. This is the first type of feedback used in neurofeedback – the visual signal. The second type of feedback is an audio signal, which plays two different tones based upon how well the brain is meeting the criteria set by the clinician. By feeding back the visual and audio information to the brain, through trial and error the brain learns what is needed to produce the optimal brain wave patterns.
If this training experience is done repetitively, the brain starts to produce the desired response with greater and greater ease. Over time, the brain literally rewires itself to perform better through the science of Brain Plasticity. This process of neurological learning is similar to when someone learns ride a bike, drive a car, or recognize a song. Patients typically require 20-40 sessions of training to achieve their goals, with twice-weekly sessions at 45 minutes each session.
For clients who do not tolerate medication well or would prefer to try a non-pharmaceutical approach to treating ADHD, neurofeedback training is increasingly seen as an appealing alternative. Neurofeedback is uniquely suited to treat the neuronal dysregulation that is common in individuals diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. The evidence for Neurofeedback for ADHD continues to grow with over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles published to date documenting its effectiveness in treating ADHD’s core symptoms. Neurofeedback has been found to be equivalent to stimulant medication in treating the symptoms of ADHD. Furthermore, the gains from Neurofeedback were shown to have been maintained after treatment had ended.
The process is simple. After an initial evaluation, a Sachs Center practitioner attaches small electrodes to you or your loved one’s head. Each electrode is connected by wire to a computer. Forty years of research has shown this method to be very safe.
The child or adult sits in front of a screen displaying images that respond to the brain activity. In simple terms, when the individual with ADHD has the desired brain activity, the pictures on the screen are rewarding or positive, encouraging these brain patterns over time.
By monitoring brain activity, it becomes possible to train our brains to produce specific cognitive patterns which can aid relaxation and reduce symptoms of ADHD.
The sessions last between 30-50 minutes and include breaks. While each case is different, the number of Neurofeedback sessions necessary to achieve significant and sustained improvement typically ranges from 30 to 40 sessions for treating ADHD. To more efficiently promote learning, neurofeedback professionals commonly schedule treatment sessions two or more times per week, particularly during the initial 10 to 20 sessions
Neurofeedback for ADHD
Neurofeedback is uniquely suited to treat the neuronal dysregulation that is common in individuals diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.
The evidence for Neurofeedback for ADHD continues to grow with over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles published to date documenting its effectiveness in treating ADHD’s core symptoms. Neurofeedback has been found to be equivalent to stimulant medication in treating the symptoms of ADHD. Furthermore, the gains from Neurofeedback were shown to have been maintained after treatment had ended.
Make an appointment with our Neurofeedback ADHD specialist to learn how this alternative treatment can help with you or your loved one’s ADHD.