ADHD Alternative Medicine Ada OK
Oklahoma City, OK
We’ve all heard the troubling news that doctors are relying increasingly on Ritalin and other stimulants to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); prescriptions for these drugs nearly tripled in the 1990s. But for some kids, the best medicine may not be medicine at all. That’s the implication of the most comprehensive study yet on the effectiveness of biofeedback for kids with ADHD. Psychologist Vincent Monastra of the Family Psychology Institute Attention Disorders Clinic in Endicott, New York, worked with 100 kids ages six to 19, all of whom were taking medication for ADHD. Fifty-one of the children were taught to practice biofeedback once a week. The technique, long used to treat ailments such as headaches, stress, and digestive disorders, teaches users to regulate physiological processes like brain waves and heart rate. In the study, the kids were taught the technique while hooked up to video games that responded to their brain activity; characters on the screen only moved when the children’s frontal lobes were engaged. They then practiced their brain-wave-altering activity while doing schoolwork. By the end of the year, all the children in the biofeedback group were able to reduce or eliminate the need for medication. (That wasn’t true for the 49 kids who weren’t taught biofeedback.) Their behavior and ability to concentrate also noticeably improved. “Biofeedback uses the same mechanism that’s in play when we learn to swim or ride a bike,” says Monastra. “It gives us positive feedback when our bodies are doing something right. It’s the opposite of nagging a kid when he’s not focusing, of saying, ‘Tommy, are you paying attention? Pay attention to me, son.’” For information about biofeedback, or to find a specialist near you, call the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback at 303.422.8436 or the Society for Neuronal Regulation at 800.488.3867.
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