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Educating the people involved about ADHD is a key part of treating your child. As a parent, you will need to learn about ADHD. Read about the condition and talk with people who understand it. This will help you manage the ways ADHD affects your child and your family on a day-to-day basis. It will also help your child learn to help himself.

An effective intervention for a range of brain-related conditions

The neurofeedback method was initially discovered for the treatment of Epilepsy and from 1976 investigated further for the treatment of ADHD. Anecdotal research shows neurofeedback may be an effective intervention for a range of brain-related conditions. It has been used for  addiction,  ADHD,  aggression,  anxiety,  autism,  depression,  epilepsy,  headaches,  insomnia,  Tourette syndrome, and brain damage from  stroke,  TBI,  apathy  and  other causes. 

A randomized controlled study (Levesque, Beauregard, & Mensour, 2006) documented with fMRI neuroimaging the positive changes in brain function in ADHD children that mirrored their behavioral changes following neurofeedback treatment. This and similar publications all provide strong support that demonstrate the effectiveness of neurofeedback in treating ADD/ADHD.

Lubar (1995) published 10-year follow-ups on cases and found that in about 80% of clients, neurofeedback can substantially improve the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and that these changes are maintained.


The effect of neurofeedback on the brain
  • Neurofeedback training leads to significant changes in the way the brain functions during tests of cognitive ability

  • These Nuerofeedback-induced changes in brain functioning are associated with improved performance on tasks requiring:

  1. sustained attention,

  2. altered visual processing in a way suggesting increased mental flexibility,

  3. language-based information processing; and

  4. working and longer term memory

Improvement still shows 2 years after the Neurofeedback treatment

A 2-year follow-up (Gani, Birbaumer, & Strehl, 2008) of the Heinrich research found that not only were improvements in attention and behavior stable but that some parent ratings had shown continued improvement during the 2 years. 

Thus follow-up evaluations ranging from 3 months to 10 years after treatment (Gani et al., 2008; Heinrich et al., 2004; Lubar, 1995; Monastra et al., 2002; Strehl et al., 2006) provide strong support that improvements from neurofeedback with ADD/ADHD should be enduring, unless of course something such as a head injury or drug abuse were to occur to negative alter brain function.

Neurofeedback is also cheeper than medication in the long run!

Some individuals express concern about the cost of neurofeedback being greater than the expense involved in drug treatment.


Research has shown, however, that the costs associated with medication treatment are actually quite sizable. For instance, a study (Marchetti et al., 2001) of six different medications for ADD/ADHD treatment found that the average cost per school-aged patient was $1,678 each year. Another study (Swensen et al., 2003) examined the health care costs in more than 100,000 families where ADHD was either present or not present.

They found that in families where a member had ADHD, the direct costs of health care expenditures plus indirect costs (such as work loss) averaged $1,288 per year higher for the other family members (who had not been diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD) in comparison with members of families where ADHD was not present.

This would mean that the cost of medication just cited, combined with indirect costs each year for a family with two children, one of whom had ADHD, would be $5,542. Neurofeedback training for ADD/ADHD is commonly found to be associated with decreased impulsiveness/hyperactivity, increased mood stability, improved sleep patterns, increased attention span and concentration, improved academic performance, and increased retention and memory, and with a much lower rate of side effects.


Different brain rhythms for different mental states

From the very earliest EEG recordings carried out by Hans Berger in 1924, researchers noticed that human brain activity is rhythmic and that the frequency of these rhythms tend to be associated with different mental states.

These distinct rhythmic frequencies were given different names: delta, theta, alpha, beta, gamma, and SMR.

Starting in the 1960’s, researchers began experimenting with allowing subjects to “watch” their own brain activity in real-time as it was being recorded while encouraging them to increase selected frequencies.

These early studies demonstrated that just as with cats and monkeys, humans can learn to modify all of the EEG rhythms that are present during wakefulness, namely, theta, alpha, SMR, beta, and gamma.


These pioneering studies demonstrated that, through operant conditioning and the use of non-invasive EEG measurement, humans can learn to modify many aspects of their brains’ electrical activity with corresponding changes in behavior.

The names behind the modern techniques 

Barry Sterman conducted a revolutionary study on cats at the behest of NASA - a study that was applied to humans in 1971 when Sterman trained an epileptic to control her seizures through a combination of sensorimotor rhythm and EEG neurotherapy to the extent that she obtained a driver's license after only three months of treatment.

Around the same time Hershel Toomim developed a device that he called a Near Infrared Spectrophotometry Hemencephalography system, coining the term "hemoencephalography", in 1997.


A clinician user of NIR HEG, Jeffrey Carmen, adapted Toomim's system for migraines in 2002 by integrating peripheral thermal biofeedback into the design. Since then, both techniques have been applied to numerous disorders of frontal and prefrontal lobe function.

Sherrill, R. (2004).

Neurofeedback as  an Evidence-Based treatment for ADHD.

In collaboration with researchers from Tubingen University (Germany), Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Brainclinics and EEG Resource Institute a so-called meta-analysis was conducted on all published research about Neurofeedback treatment in ADHD. This meta-analysis included 15 studies and 1194 ADHD patients. Based on this study – which was published in the July 2009 issue of EEG and Clinical Neuroscience – it could be concluded that Neurofeedback can indeed be considered an Evidence-Based treatment for ADHD. The results show that neurofeedback treatment has large and clinically significant effects on Impulsivity and Inattention and a modest improvement of Hyperactivity. 

A meta-analysis of EEG biofeedback in Epilepsy was published in the same issue of EEG and Clinical Neuroscience demonstrating clinical efficacy in the treatment of epilepsy. 

What is Neurofeedback?
What is Neurotherapy?
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