Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The core problems of ADHD
Inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity can severely impact all aspects of life, particularly at school, work and home. It is not surprising that the wide-reaching effects of ADHD can lead to feelings of embarrassment, frustration, hopelessness, disappointment, and loss of confidence.
Getting a diagnosis of ADHD is often an enormous source of relief. It helps you understand that you or your child are not to blame and the difficulties you or they have been experiencing are the symptoms of ADHD and not the result of personal weakness or a character flaw. Getting successful treatment for ADHD can dramatically change your life, or your child’s life, and the lives of people around you.
What causes ADHD?
Research shows that ADHD has a very strong genetic basis. So, when a child is diagnosed with ADHD there is a good chance that at least one of the parents will also have it as well. It is not clear yet exactly what causes ADHD but it appears to be a complex interaction between genetics and environmental risk factors that affect the neurobiological basis of the condition.
The latest evidence suggests there is an association between ADHD and changes in the structure, function, brain wave activity and chemical messengers in key areas of the brain involved with attention and impulse-control.2
Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG)
At The Perth Brain Centre we use a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG) to measure brain wave activity. QEEG was approved by the FDA (USA) in 2013 for assisting in the accurate diagnosis of ADHD.3 It is a non-invasive scan performed while you are awake, sitting in a chair and a special electrode cap is worn. The electrodes are at specific sites on the scalp and measure brain wave activity in each area of the brain. It is completely painless and is relatively fast compared to other imaging techniques and has been considered one of the most reliable sources of biomarker research.5
Once the scan has been performed the raw brain wave data is then analysed through specialised software and compares the brain wave activity patterns to known databases of “normal” and “abnormal” patterns for people of the same sex and age. The results of this analysis generate detailed brain maps that pinpoint the areas of the brain where there is dysregulation. Scientific reviews of the medical literature show that QEEG is extremely reliable, with a sensitivity and specificity of approximately 94% in identifying children with ADHD.6 Some research has also shown that the results of QEEG are predictive of stimulant medication response in children with ADHD.7
Treatment for ADHD
In the past, treatment for ADHD was often limited to medication however, now it is generally accepted that the most effective management for ADHD should be ‘patient-centered’ and involve a range of interventions. There is “no one size fits all” approach so it is important to make an informed choice based upon the range of treatments now available.
At The Perth Brain Centre we focus primarily on providing Neurofeedback Therapy in conjunction with behavioural interventions, psycho-education, lifestyle and dietary advice. Neurofeedback is recognised by The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) to be an effective treatment for ADHD4 and is featured in Dr Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, the sequel to his international best-selling book “The Brain That Changes Itself.”
Neurofeedback – Targeted Brain Training
Neurofeedback is a brain-based treatment that uses a sophisticated brain-computer interface to “strengthen” or retrain the brain. Neurofeedback harnesses neuroplasticity and the brain’s natural and life-long ability to learn by training brainwaves, the tiny electrical signals produced by the brain.
At The Perth Brain Centre, we use QEEG brain scans to pin-point the dysfunctional or “weak” areas of the brain.6 Neurofeedback works by ‘strengthening’ or retraining this ‘weak’ part of the brain by normalising brain wave activity. Neurofeedback is suitable for people of almost all ages. Patients sit comfortably and relax during training whilst sensors precisely detect and measure brainwave activity. This information is analysed in real-time and presented as audio and visual feedback which is used to “strengthen” and retrain the brain.
Research has shown that Neurofeedback is both effective and specific for the treatment of ADHD, in particular for inattention and impulsivity but also hyperactivity.1 Not only has Neurofeedback been shown to be efficacious and specific, studies have also shown that it has a lasting effect.8 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for children and adolescents recommend Neurofeedback as having “Level 1- best support” as an intervention for ADHD.4 This is no doubt why Neurofeedback Therapy is fast becoming the drug-free treatment of choice for many children and their families.