Biofeedback for the Treatment of ADD and ADHD

  EEG BIOFEEDBACK TRAINING

FOR THE TREATMENT OF

ADD (ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER)

ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER)

POSITION STATEMENT

Previous and current results of the treatment of ADD/ADHD with Biofeedback are promising for those individuals demonstrating certain behavioral characteristics.  Practitioners utilizing this treatment modality recognize that the disorders of ADD or ADHD are complex and have a wide range of symptoms, etiologies, and therapeutic interventions.  EEG Biofeedback offers clients a psychophysiological treatment which when combined with other traditional therapies generally produces significant improvement for many clients.  More research, currently being conducted, is needed to extend initial results.  To date, this treatment has been successfully applied to thousands of children treated by approximately one hundreds of Health Care Practitioners.  EEG Biofeedback is neither a panacea NOR a cure but it appears to be a powerful adjunctive treatment.

 

WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR EEG BIOFEEDBACK THERAPY

Anyone with a primary diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, between the ages of 8 and 65, with low average, average, or above average intelligence.  EEG Biofeedback treatment should not be offered with co-morbidities of:

  • Severe or profound mental retardation
  • Childhood Psychosis
  • Severe depressive or bipolar illness
  • Significant seizure disorder where sedating medications interfere with learning
  • Learning disabilities without ADD or ADHD as a primary problem.
  • Dysfunctional families who refuse to participate in marital and family therapy.

WHAT SYMPTOMS CAN GENERALLY BE IMPROVED BY EEG BIOFEEDBACK

  • Attention, focus and concentration
  • Task completion and organizational skills
  • Impulsiveness
  • Mild Hyperactivity

HOW EFFECTIVE IS THIS TREATMENT APPROACH?

When the above criteria are used to select candidates for therapy and treatment, the majority of clients completing treatment show improvement.

OUR MODEL

This treatment model has its roots in person-centered psychotherapy and behavioral self-regulation.

Rick D. Thomas, Ph.D. feels that the healthy brain has the versatility to modulate states or arousal and attention styles as demanded by specific situations.  The disordered brain has diminished ability to respond to these specific demands.  The immature, injured or disordered brain seems to lack the normal elasticity of the healthy brain.  There appears to be discontinuities in cortical processes or breakdowns in intra-cortical communications.  The disordered brain seems to get "stuck" and exhibits inappropriate brain waves for the immediate situation.  For example, the ADD child tends to exhibit more day dreaming type brainwaves with less than normal concentrating type brainwaves.

EEG biofeedback training teaches a person what specific brain wave states feel like and how to turn those states on at will.  The trainee can "move" to different physiological states depending on what the immediate situation requires.  RICK D. THOMAS, Ph.D. CLAIMS NO MORE THAN THAT A PERSON CAN LEARN THROUGH TRAINING TO CHANGE TO A DIFFERENT PHYSIOLOGICAL STATE.  For many years, other clinicians have trained people to change their physiological state through temperature and EMG training.  We are simply using more "central" information of EEG correlates of physiological states rather than peripheral measures.

Rick D. Thomas, Ph.D. feels that if we can make the brain more flexible it may have a generalizing effect on other functions such as the nervous system, the immune system, the endocrine system, the body's ability to heal itself and general cognitive functioning.

SELF-HEALING IS WHAT BIOFEEDBACK IS ALL ABOUT.  I DO NOT DO ANYTHING TO ANYBODY EXCEPT TEACH HIM OR HER TO LISTEN IN ON THEMSELVES.

WE ARE TEACHERS, WHICH IS WHAT ALL GOOD THERAPISTS ARE.  RICK D. THOMAS, Ph.D. CAN TEACH PEOPLE TO LISTEN IN ON THEIR OWN PHYSIOLOGY AND TO CHANGE THEIR PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES.

Biofeedback is like eavesdropping on our body's internal conversations and using this information to change negative patterns that are contributing to poor physical and mental health.  Our bodies are a sea of information and communication, every organ talking to every other organ.  As a rule, we do not pay attention to these inside-the-skin conversations.  With sophisticated listening devices we can collect this information and feed it back to our brains through our ears, eyes, and touch.  With practice, we can then begin to change inside-the-skin events to make us healthier.  You already use biofeedback.  If you charge up the steps noticing your heart rate and respiration goes up, you slow down.  Now medical science is able to help us listen to the quieter messages that otherwise go unnoticed until we have medical or emotional problems.  With biofeedback, we can change temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, chemical responses, electrical impulses and even brainwaves.

WHAT IS BRAINWAVE BIOFEEDBACK

By recording electrical activity produced by the brain and correlating this activity into frequency bands, we are able to determine different subjective states of consciousness, such as relaxation, by using EEG feedback.  They are able to either enhance this state or change the state.  Therefore, a person can learn to do a much more efficient job at such tasks as concentrating or relaxing.  Brainwave feedback is again, taking a very subtle inside-the-skin event and using it change our level of functioning.  This is the fine art of self-mastery -- making one less dependent on others, drugs, machines, or medical technology.

THE LEARNING PROCESS

Biofeedback is a learning process that involves both physical and mental skills.  It is learning how to change your body by listening to the messages of your body.  Some biofeedback processes, like temperature training, may take only a few sessions whereas brainwave feedback may take ten to twenty sessions before you begin to grasp what a particular brainwave state "feels" like.  Then more training sessions are needed to perfect the skills.  Learning to modify a brainwave state in the correct direction to sustain a desired mental state is a "discovery" process.  A process of gaining more and more control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

DURATION OF THERAPY

Generally, number of treatment sessions varies widely because of individual differences.  Number of sessions can range from 20 to 40 sessions.  Some individuals may take longer. For information about brainwave biofeedback training, contact Rick D. Thomas, Ph.D. (816) 331-0374 or biofeedback@rickdthomasphd.com.

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