Neurofeedback is now recognized as a category A treatment for childhood ADHD by the AMA (American Medical Association). This means that it is considered the first line therapy for ADHD, and is as good as the best ADHD medications available, but without the negative side effects ADHD medication such as mood changes, low appetite, ‘zombie’ or spaced out symptoms, sleep problems and personality changes.
Neurofeedback is also effective for helping children shift emotional and behavioral problems such as anxiety, anger management and trouble with self regulation, which is more difficult for children with ADD/ADHD or if there is a family history of similar issues.
Dozens of published studies in mainstream medical journals in both Europe and North America on the use of neurofeedback for ADHD have shown impressive results, including long term major academic performance and better grades, improved school and home behaviour and impulse control, anxiety, learning disabilities, reading comprehension, math skills, and social skills that last years after the final session of neurofeedback training.
Neurofeedback works for ADHD by adjusting neural networks that control attention processes and then change the way these networks work permanently so that the changes last, unlike with ADHD stimulant and new non stimulant serotonin system drugs where changes are only present while the child is medicated and do not last if the medication is stopped. This is done through a process involving long term potentiation into stable (attractor) states within specific brain networks and areas.
Neurofeedback also creates in the child’s brain an enhanced capacity to regulate ‘state changes’ and gated neural signals between brain attentional control areas, much like the operant learning process of learning to ride a bike only on a more complex level. Just like you never truly forget how to balance on a bike once learned as a child, the brain does not forget the learning gained with neurofeedback and the ability to ‘self regulate’ the previously dysfunctional attentional and behavioral states that lead to children getting a diagnosis of ADHD.
The following studies are a few recent well done studies looking at the effectiveness and safety of neurofeedback to treat ADHD in children, showing that it has equal or greater efficacy for school performance, anxiety relief and behavioural change vs. the leading ADHD medications without the pills side effects: