ADD/ADHD: So what do you do if you don't want to use meds?
I have discussed ADD: The Media, The Meds, and The Madness at CorePsychPodcast with four episodes on diagnosis, meds, wrong meds and metabolic challenges that often go overlooked. Also posted a variety of blog notes, – just go down to the Google Blog Search box on the left here, and type in ADD. Much info there.
Now so many non-medical possibilities are available for treatment. Specific treatment depends on the specific cause of the ADD, remembering that symptoms of ADD can arise from brain injury, from metabolic problems, from iodine deficiency, and can be significantly aggravated by hormone dysregulation. The comorbid condition will mitigate against a standard treatment for everyone. More later on these issues.
For the moment let's start with some accepted interventions I have regularly used successfully in my DC office and our team in Va Beach. And a quick note: I did not personally deliver these treatments for ADD as they do require different levels of training.
-And one “philosophic” point to place on the table:
At CorePsych we see considerable progress with mixing medication and non-med treatments on the front end, until progress with the client's practice takes place sufficiently to reduce the meds. These interventions are not mutually exclusive, but we do go with the parent, clients wishes.
Treatment choice is theirs, so we discuss options. Some simply don't want to deal with the meds and controlled substances as they are available today. As I predicted in a recent post: fear of meds will soon change with the rapid development of new, safer medications. Having consulted with many patients with foreign residence, I further predict a softening of the global view of these meds as well as medical delivery systems change.
With that groundwork, let's start with Neurofeedback [NFB]: The literature is rich on the topic of neurofeedback, though at this moment in time it, as is SPECT Brain Imaging, is not considered acceptable by many:
The most common and well-documented use of neurofeedback is in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: multiple studies have shown neurofeedback to be useful in the treatment of ADHD  (Butnik 2005) (Masterpasqual et al 2003). QEEG has shown that ADHD is often characterized by an abundance of slow brainwaves and a diminished quantity of fast wave activity (Butnik 2005); neurofeedback treatment seeks to teach individuals to produce more normalized EEG patterns that optimize their functioning.
Other areas where neurofeedback has been researched include treatment of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, OCD, learning disabilities, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorders, anger and rage, cognitive impairment, migraines, headaches, chronic pain, Autism spectrum disorders, sleep dysregulation, PTSD and MTBI.
-Wikipedia [note that in the citation “neutrality is disputed”]
The jury is out in academia. The verdict has been rendered in the office: It works. But it doesn't work for everyone at the same rate.
First visit for neurofeedback is an assessment, and then the client is hooked up [no needles] to an EEG machine that converts brain waves to computer images. Some feel that specific qEEG brain mapping is essential before beginning.
Just look at the screen and change your brain by changing the visual events on the screen. Very cool. Computer kids love it. You can actually see the power of the brain in action. Take a look at these two excellent sites for more information.
A book to read on NFB treatment: ADD: The 20 Hr Solution
More soon on interactive metronome, and hemoencephalography, a functional near-infrared imaging (fNIR) for ADD and other brain conditions.