Increase Your Child’s Attention and Self-control with EEG Biofeedback
EEG biofeedback training is an intensively-researched biofeedback therapy that monitors and displays your brain’s electrical activity using biofeedback instruments to enhance your perception and control of mind-body processes. EEG biofeedback techniques are also called neurofeedback and neurotherapy. Biofeedback clinical trials have shown that personal EEG biofeedback is an effective therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
How do clinicians “wiretap” your brain?
Biofeedback electrodes placed on your scalp and earlobes listen to the electrical activity of the neurons in your brain. The EEG is named for the electroencephalograph, which monitors the symphony of slow and fast brainwaves that reflect cognitive processes like attention and problem-solving.
What are slow cortical potentials?
Slow cortical potentials are very gradual changes in nerve cells called neurons that last from a fraction of a second to several seconds. Patients are taught to increase slow cortical potential activity to dampen neuron firing in disorders like epilepsy and migraine.
Which are the fast brainwaves?
EEG rhythms are generated when neurons send electrical messages to their neighbors many times each second. Neurotherapists describe these brainwaves by their shape, frequency, and scalp location, and patient activity when they are recorded. Biofeedback devices measure brainwave frequency in units called Hertz (Hz), which stands for messages or cycles per second.
What do the main EEG rhythms indicate?
The main EEG rhythms include the delta, theta, alpha, sensorimotor, beta, and gamma rhythms:
- The delta rhythm ranges from 0.5 to 3.5 Hz and is increased in adults during Stage III and Stage IV sleep, and in cases of brain injury, brain tumor, or developmental disability.
- The theta rhythm ranges from 4 to 7 Hz, is the most powerful rhythm in the EEGs of 1-2 year-olds, and accompanies drowsiness, the transition to sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and information processing.
- The alpha rhythm ranges from 8 to 13 Hz, is present in about three-quarters of adults when they are calm and awake, and is replaced by the faster beta rhythm when you move, read, or solve problems.
- The sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) ranges from 12-15 Hz and appears when you stop moving and relax your muscles.
- The beta rhythm is divided into low beta, which ranges from 13-21 Hz, and appears when you focus your attention, and high beta, which ranges from 20-32 Hz, and appears when you experience anxiety and worry, and when you achieve peak performance.
- The gamma rhythm ranges from 36-44 Hz and appears when you focus your attention and recognize patterns like hidden figures in a picture.
What is EEG biofeedback therapy?
EEG biofeedback equipment transforms these complex signals into videogame displays to teach you to increase your awareness and control of your brain’s electrical activity. Researchers have shown that EEG biofeedback instructions can produce long-lasting improvement in the way that you use your brain, especially in disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neurotherapy may enhance brain function by literally re-wiring the connections between your neurons or nerve cells.
What is ADHD?
There are three main subtypes of ADHD:
- inattentive, in which the patient may be unable to sustain attention and is easily distracted
- hyperactive-impulsive, in which the patient exhibits excessive activity and acts without considering possible consequences
- combined, in which the patient has difficulty with attention, hyperactivity, and impulse control
Who is mainly affected?
ADHD is the most common psychological disorder in children. About 8% of children 4 to 17 years are diagnosed with ADHD. Estimates of the male-to-female ratio range from 2-10 to 1 depending on the survey method used. About 40-60% of these children will continue to have difficulty with inattention and impulsive behavior during adulthood. Adults with ADHD have a 5 times greater risk of substance abuse, 9 times greater risk of incarceration, and 20 times greater risk of antisocial personality disorder.
About 4% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD and currently receive medication. Stimulants like Ritalin can control ADHD symptoms in children who have been accurately diagnosed as long as they are taken. However, there is concern that stimulant medication can produce significant medical and psychological side effects. Animal research has raised the possibility that stimulants may harm children’s developing brains and cause adult depression.
How does neurofeedback treat this disorder?
EEG biofeedback practitioners use biofeedback training methods to teach children’s brains to correct the under-activity often found in the frontal and central regions of the brain. Following assessment to confirm ADHD symptoms and identify the unique pattern of EEG activity, your child may require from 20 to 50 sessions that combine neurofeedback with educational activities.
How successful is neurofeedback for ADHD?
EEG biofeedback for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been one of the most exciting frontiers in biofeedback. In a recent analysis of five well-designed studies, 75% of patients improved. Most children show gains in attention, intelligence, and achievement that are comparable to improvement by patients who receive stimulant drugs, without their side effects.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback’s (AAPB) Evidence-Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback by Carolyn Yucha, PhD, and Christopher Gilbert, PhD, awarded this treatment the second-highest rating of efficacious.
Who should treat this disorder?
Biofeedback providers who are experienced in treating ADHD and certified by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) in EEG Biofeedback are qualified to treat this disorder using neurofeedback.
Is there insurance coverage for biofeedback?
Biofeedback reimbursement depends upon your insurance provider and geographical location. Psychologists may code biofeedback services as psychotherapy to improve your chance of reimbursement.