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Neurotherapy/EEG Biofeedback for Attention Deficit Disorder & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A Client Information Guide

 

What is ADD?

How can I be sure about the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD?

Is there objective testing available?

What is Neurofeedback and how can it

be used to treat ADD/ADHD?

 

What is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder can be separated into three types: (1) ADD primarily Inattentive Type, (2) ADHD primarily Hyperactive and Impulsive Type, and (3) ADHD Combined Inattentive and Hyperactive Type. To earn the diagnosis, one must meet specific DSM-IV criteria. Inattentive Types will show symptoms of inattention, distractibility, disorganization, daydreaming, carelessness, forget-fulness, lack of motivation, lack of persistence, and procrastination, etc. Hyperactive Types will show symptoms of fidgeting, restlessness, excessive talking, can’t wait their turn, can’t stay in their seats, disruptive at school, interrupts others, etc. Com-bined Types will meet criteria for both Inattentive-ness and Hyperactivity. There is a common perception that ADD is overdiagnosed, but the real problem is misdiagnosis and inappropriate treat-ment. Accurate diagnosis based on these "behavioral" criteria can be difficult since people can be biased in their observations depending upon how they get along together with the ADD person. Accurate diagnosis for ADD is also difficult due to many conditions which can mimic or exacerbate its symptoms, and can coexist with other disorders, including Learning Disabilities, Depression, Anxiety, Behavior Disorders, etc. To top it off, Attention Deficit Disorder has been misnamed. ADD is not a disorder of attention, but is caused by poor regulation of the brain’s arousal states. The Hyperactive person is hyperactive because the part of their brain that inhibits behavior (the frontal lobe) is underactive. Thus, they cannot maintain their focus of attention, nor can they adequately control their impulses and activity level. Fortunately, an accurate diagnosis of ADD/ADHD can be made if traditional methods of clinical interview, history-taking, and behavioral rating scales are supplemented with computerized tests which accurately measure inattentiveness and dysregulation of brain arousal states. Psycho-educational testing, including intelligence and achievement testing, and neuropsychological tests of frontal lobe function can all be used to correctly identify the presence or absence of ADD, what causes it, and identify what types of interventions may really help, and what may be ineffective.

What is Neurotherapy?

Neurotherapy is also called "EEG Biofeedback" and "Neurofeedback." Neurotherapy is a painless, non-invasive treatment where sensors are pasted to your scalp to send brainwave information into a computer. The sensors are safe, do not prick the skin, and are painless. The computer displays the information so tyou can see it and learn to control your brainwaves.

Why use Neurotherapy?

The brains of people with ADD/ADHD have patterns of excess slow wave activity that reflects their lack of arousal. With Neurotherapy, people with ADD/ ADHD can learn to decrease slow wave activity and increase fast wave activity. Clinicians and researchers who provide Neurotherapy report that when a person changes their brain wave activity with practice, their symptoms of ADD/ADHD are usually reduced. People who receive Neurotherapy have also reported improvements in school and work performance, social relationships, verbal fluency, self-esteem, as well as decreases in irritability and oppositional behavior. Neurotherapy can have a significant effect on seizure activity of those who have seizure disorders; these effects are usually positive. While you should not experience negative side effects, you may experience additional benefits; some people report increased relaxation, reduced stress, and a heightened sense of control over their bodies, thoughts, and feelings during or immediately after treatment sessions. Neurotherapy typically increases measured IQ by 11 points overall.

How Successful is Neurotherapy?

Clinicians have reported consistent success in the treatment of ADD with Neurotherapy in numerous outcome studies over the past 25 years. Success with Neurotherapy treatment for ADD/ADHD is robust – in published research, 75-95% of appropriately selected clients are helped. Others still consider Neurotherapy to be an experimental procedure. Of course, no one can guarantee the success of any treatment, and more research on its effectiveness is still needed.

How Long will Neurotherapy Last?

During Neurotherapy, you or your family member will be learning to change and control brainwave patterns. This type of training takes time. Although some clients report initial success after ten sessions, it is common that 25 to 40 sessions are needed, and sometimes more. The number of sessions per week varies based on time, transportation, finances, progress and individual preferences. Initially, in order for most treatments to be effective, two to three sessions per week is recommended. As learning and progress take place, sessions are usually reduced to once per week, and finally to one or two sessions per month.

The benefits of Neurotherapy in the alleviation of symptoms of ADD/ADHD are fortunately long lasting. When the brain is trained to pay attention, neurological connections appear to be strengthened permanently. The effects of stimulants last only as long as the chemicals are in the body. In only 20% of cases are booster Neurotherapy sessions typically necessary.

What Are the Potential Side-Effects of Neurotherapy?

Unlike the use of medications for treating ADD/ADHD, Neurotherapy rarely produces negative side effects. In fact, the lack of side-effects is a major reason for the use of Neurotherapy. Some rare side-effects may occur, nevertheless.

Some people with sensitive skin may experience irritation where the cleaning of the scalp occurs. Very few people have reported brief periods of anxiety or frustration, or brief periods of fatigue, dizziness, tingling sensations while undergoing treatment. These very rare emotional side effects usually last for only a short period of time. Some families experience stress of "role changes" as the disruptions caused by the ADD child are reduced. They may experience some anxiety as they adjust to their new roles.

Concurrent Use of Neurotherapy and Medication

Over the course of treatment, clients using medications may be able to reduce or terminate the use of these medications while maintaining control over disruptive behavior. However, any changes in medications must be discussed with the prescribing physician. You, your family and your physician together will decide whether a reduction in medication is appropriate.

What is the Course of Neurotherapy?

A typical course of treatment includes an initial interview, an ADD Assessment, treatment sessions, a final evaluation, and sometimes "booster" sessions.

ADD Assessments at ADVANCED Psych Care

At ADVANCED Psych Care, a full range of objective ADD testing is available, including clinical interviews with the client and concerned family members, traditional behavior rating scales, as well as objective scientific testing, including Continuous Performance Testing, quantitative EEG analysis, psychoeducational testing (including IQ and Achievement testing), learning and memory testing, and neuropsychological tests of frontal lobe function.

What is the Cost of Neurotherapy Assessment and Treatment?

At ADVANCED Psych Care, a basic assessment costs $300. If psychoeducational testing and/or neuropsychological testing is required, costs may run up to $1000. Twenty-five to thirty 30-minute Neurotherapy sessions cost $2000 (or $3000 for 45-minute sessions.) Various payment options, including per session rates, are available. Visa and Master Charge are accepted.

Staff at ADVANCED Psych Care

Brian Richardson, Psy.D.

Dr. Richardson provides psychological testing for your ADD Assessment at ADVANCED Psych Care. He provides written reports for schools or agencies with the permission of the client or family. He guides families in helping children receive necessary ADD services from schools. He helps parents of ADD children learn to modify their disruptive behavior with proven techniques. He provides family therapy to help them cope with the changes that may take place when the ADD child is no longer "the problem." He assists clients and families with other complementary treatments, or consults with prescribing physicians. Dr. Richardson, or a trained Neurofeedback practitioner supervised by Dr. Richardson, will provide the Neurotherapy.

Kevin Breen, M.D.

If the ADD symptoms are severe, medication may be required to treat the disorder in addition to Neurotherapy. Dr. Breen, an experienced and innovative psychiatrist, is available to provide medication management. Dr. Breen can also discuss complementary treatments, e.g. nutrition, which may help ADD/ADHD as well.