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Advanced Psych Care

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Get Rid of Ritalin?

Neurotherapy and Cognitive Training offer hope for

Attention Problems

A Client Information Guide

My child is a daydreamer in school and his grades are dropping. His teacher says he’s just lazy. What can I do?

The pediatrician says my child needs to be on Ritalin, but I’m worried. What if they’re wrong? Would stimulant medications harm my child? Can anything else be done to treat his ADD?

I wonder if I have attention problems. If I do, can anything help besides drugs?

Does My Child have ADD? Or do I?

Not everyone with ADD is hyperactive. Not everyone with Attention Deficit Disorder looks the same, but they all share some common traits.1 Everyone with ADD will have difficulty paying attention in school or in the workplace. They will become easily distracted and won’t complete their work. They are usually disorganized, forgetful, and careless. Older kids and adults will become discouraged and may lose their motivation to succeed. Left untreated, ADD can lead to a lifetime of lost dreams. The statistics are shocking. 29% of ADHD kids fail a grade in school, 46% are suspended, 30% drop out of high school, 38% (vs. 4%) are likely to have become pregnant or to have caused a pregnancy, 17% (vs. 4%) will contract a sexually transmitted disease, 25% commit crimes as teens or adults. The costs for ADD are high. Overall medical costs double for people with ADHD ($4300 vs. $1900). 2

Isn’t ADD overdiagnosed?

There is a common perception that ADD is overdiagnosed, and that society is drugging its youngsters rather than parenting and teaching them properly. Actually, there are significant numbers of children in America who receive no treatment for ADD. There are also plenty of children with behavior problems who are misdiagnosed with ADHD and are not helped or even made worse with stimulant medication. The real problem is misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. The traditional method of diagnosis is a review of the child’s behavior and history of the problem, often with rating scales. Accurate diagnosis based on the child’s behavior is difficult since people can be biased in their observations. ADD may not even be a disorder of attention, but may be caused by poor regulation of the brain’s arousal states. Fortunately, an accurate diagnosis of ADD/ADHD can be made if traditional methods are supplemented with computerized tests of attention and measurements of brain arousal states. 3 Psychoeducational testing and 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 are Neurotherapy and Cognitive Training?

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 you can see it and learn to control your brainwaves. Cognitive Training is a set of computer programs that train attention, provide objective measurements of progress, and even treat other learning problems.4

Why use Neurotherapy?

The brains of people with ADD have patterns of excess slow wave activity that reflect their lack of arousal. 5 With Neurotherapy, people with attention problems 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 attention problems are reduced. 5 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. 5 As 14-year-old patient Kyle said of his Neurotherapy treatment at Advanced Psych Care: "It definitely helped. I really don’t get sidetracked too easily now. And my grades have gone from C’s and D’s to A’s and B’s."

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. 5 Success with Neurotherapy treatment for attention problems is robust – in published research, 75-95% of appropriately selected clients are helped, and many are able to stop taking Ritalin and other stimulants. 5 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. "Neurofeedback is not a cure-all, end-all treatment. It is "the logical replacement for Ritalin because it works better, is safer, and addresses the core problem rather than treating a symptom."6 The success of Neurotherapy can be enhanced through the use of computerized cognitive training, which also can help with certain types of Learning Disabilities and even rehabilitate after Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or brain surgery.7

How Long will Neurotherapy Last?

Neurotherapy takes time, because training the brain takes time. Although some clients report initial success after 10 sessions, it is common that 25 to 40 sessions are needed, and sometimes more.8 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 sessions per week is recommended. As learning and progress take place, sessions are usually reduced to once per week. The effects of Ritalin last only as long as the drug is in the body. The benefits of Neurotherapy in alleviating attention problems are long lasting, and many children no longer need Ritalin to pay attention or control their behavior. 9

Concurrent Use of Neurotherapy and Medication

It has been documented that many Neurotherapy patients are able to reduce or eliminate the use of Ritalin and other stimulants after a course of treatment, while maintaining their improvements in attention and behavior control.5,9 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. Many patients will need to start or continue stimulants for a while until the Neurofeedback takes effect and they no longer need it as much.

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, Brainwave analysis, psychoeducational testing (including IQ and Achievement testing), and tests of learning and memory.

What is the Cost of Neurotherapy Assessment and Treatment?

At ADVANCED Psych Care, a basic assessment costs $300. If psychoeducational testing and other specialized testing is required, costs may run higher. Treatment costs depend on the length and number of sessions required. Call Dr. Brian Richardson at 847-222-0793 X2 for more information. Visa and Master Charge accepted.

References: 1 "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition," APA. 2 "Uses and costs of medical care for children and adolescents with and without ADHD", Liebson, et al, JAMA 2001: 285:60-66. 3. "Review of the IVA-CPT" Kane & Whiston, in Buros 14th Mental Measurements Yearbook, 2001, 592-595. 4. "Evidence based cognitive rehabilitation: recommendations for clinical practice" Cicerone, et al, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 81, 12. 5 "Neurofeedback assessment and treatment of ADHD" by Joel Lubar, in "Introduction to QEEG and Neurofeedback" edited by Evans & Abarbanel, Academic Press, 1999.102-145. 6 "Getting Rid of Ritalin: How neurofeedback can successfully treat ADD without drugs" by Robert Hill and Eduardo Castro, Hampton, 2002. 7 "Rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injury" NIH Consensus, 16, (1), 1998. 8 "The ADD Book" by William Sears, M.D. and Lynda Thompson, Little, Brown, 1998. 9 "The effects of stimulant therapy, EEG Biofeedback and parenting style on the primary symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" by V. Monastra, D. Monastra & S. George, Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback, Vol. 27, No. 4, 231-250.