Parents of children with ADHD don’t take the decision to treat their child with medication lightly. In many cases, these medications offer a temporary fix that can help a child focus in class, extra-curricular activities and lessons. So far, research shows that stimulant medications that make up the majority of ADHD treatment works well about 70 percent of the time in the short term but does not show any long-term benefit. Other parents prefer to avoid medication for their child with ADHD because they are uncomfortable with the potential side effects that can include weight gain or loss, fatigue, and low-grade depression. Fortunately, non-pharmacological treatments are out there that are both safe and effective at addressing the underlying causes of ADHD.
Neurofeedback has been used for more than 50 years to treat a variety of neurological conditions including problems with learning and memory. However, it has only been in the last few decades that it has become a popular treatment for children and adults with ADHD. Not only is neurofeedback safe, non-invasive and drug-free, it has been shown to retrain the brain, offering a permanent fix for most ADHD symptoms. Research has shown that neurofeedback is particularly effective at easing inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
A neurofeedback cap is worn throughout treatment that measures brain waves while the patient watches a movie, plays a game or listens to music. Anytime the patient’s brainwaves are outside of a normal range, a visual or auditory cue comes up on the screen. The brain begins to make subconscious adjustments to bring its activity waves back into normal range. When this happens, the cues stop. Over time, the brain begins to make these adjustments on its own without the visual or auditory cues. In other words, neurofeedback trains your brain to work the way it is supposed to work offering a long-term ADHD solution.
The American Psychological Association suggests that behavioral therapy should be the first line of defense when it comes to ADHD treatment in young children. Best of all, many of these therapeutic strategies can be completed at home, under the supervision of a behavioral health professional. Catching a child paying attention and reinforcing that behavior, teaching them how to recognize inattention and make adjustments and helping children curb impulsivity are all long-term behavioral strategies that will help them in school.
Exercise and adequate sleep should be the first line of treatment of ADHD symptoms. One study showed that children who spent 20 minutes on a treadmill and then took a test were able to slow down, correct mistakes and perform better. Adequate exercise, spaced throughout the day may curb inattention. Another study showed that just a half hour of extra sleep helped children be less restless at school. Unlike most children and adults who wind down when they are tired, children and adults with ADHD tend to become more hyper-aroused in an attempt to stay awake. These simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact when it comes to long-term ADHD management.
Ultimately, the decision to give a child with ADHD medication is a personal one. However, it is not the only one. Neurofeedback, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes offer impactful, long-term solutions to your child’s symptoms that can help them succeed.
Want to talk about options for your child or try a $99 brain scan and consultation? Give us a call at (936) 582-0404.