Non-Medical, Drug-Free, Whole Person Strategy

ADHD Brain

ADHD Brain

Neurofeedback is a pleasant and non-intrusive therapy available to children, adolescents and adults to learn mind and body self-regulation methods. Individuals are “coached” to change dysfunctional patterns associated with symptoms usually requiring medications. The brain seeks positive reinforcement that will ultimately change behavior and life choices through changes in the brainwaves.

Neurofeedback involves a training process whereby an individual using EEG biofeedback instruments learns to self-regulate his/her own brainwaves. One’s brainwave activity is used as “feed back” in the form of auditory tones, visual graphs, computer games or DVD’s as formulated by normative z-scores.

Old Market Neurotherapy specializes in EEG brainwave training for individuals diagnosed with symptoms of ADHD.  ADHD is a biological condition that affects the way in which the brain transmits information using electrical and chemical signals.   The signals in the brain are transmitted at different speeds or frequencies from very slow frequency activity in sleep states, known as delta waves, to somewhat faster, but still slow activity in semi-awake states, known as theta waves, to more relaxed states called alpha waves, ramping up to more engaged and attentive states dominated by beta wave activity. 

The executive region of the brain dedicated to focused and sustained attention is called the frontal lobe right behind the forehead.  The frontal lobe is known as the “manager” of the brain, because it is involved with coordinating and integrating all the other parts of the brain. The frontal lobe “manages” various tasks such as attending, planning, organizing, inhibiting, delaying, controlling our emotional responses, considering long-term consequences, and contemplating alternative meanings of information and courses of action.  Therefore, the frontal lobe region needs to have sufficient beta activity and an inhibition of slow wave activity, such as theta and alpha, in the same brain region. 

As any adult or parent of a child or adolescent with ADHD knows, the major difficulty is focusing and sustaining attention in certain situations in which attention is important but not inviting or exciting.  The individual with ADHD is typically distracted with his/her own thoughts, outside stimulation, difficulty initiating tasks or completing tasks, maintaining a conversation, sitting or controlling one’s impulses. 

When a person is presented with a challenging task, the brain normally inhibits slow wave activity, such as theta or alpha, and produces more beta activity to assist the brain to match the task at hand and come more “on line”. In ADHD, the brain may do the opposite and instead produce even more slow activity and inhibit beta activity.  The brain, in other words, goes more “off line” when presented with a non-stimulating but necessary task. When an excessive amount of slow waves are present in the executive (frontal) parts of the brain, it becomes difficult to control attention, behavior, and/or emotions. This is a common pattern seen in individuals with ADHD who are immediately focused and attentive on stimulating challenges such as video games or some other fun electronics, but otherwise, not interested or able to motivate. These problems can cause major difficulties at work, at school, and with one’s spouse, parents, children and friends.

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