Posts tagged ‘Adolescents’

The Best Option for Testing for and/or Treating ADHD

About this time of the school year, for the child with Attention Deficit Disorder, very significant problems are really starting to raise their head.  If the problems of inattention, difficulty with homework, poor behavior, and/or hyperactivity (there are several forms of this disorder) are occurring, you are probably wondering what you can do to fix the problem.  There are, today, four basic treatment options with varying degrees of success. Let’s take a look at them:

Schools are very rarely equipped to properly diagnose this disorder.  The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have your child tested by an outside, independent professional.  There are two types of testing: those based solely on symptoms, observed or reported (the most common form of testing), and those based on testing the actual source of the problems (a specific brain function) through EEG-analysis. As there are other problems which can cause ADD-like symptoms, it is essential to test right at the source of the problem, the brain (EEG-analysis).

This brings us to the consideration of the options available for treating this disorder, if it is found to be present:

Counseling or Therapy:  This is designed to help children and their families feel better about, and cope with the problems the disorder brings, rather than correcting the disorder.  As the underlying problem is neurological, and not emotional, this approach is not effective in correcting the disorder.

Tutoring:  While the cumulative effects of difficulty in learning can cause significant gaps in the knowledge base required for a child to progress satisfactorily, filling in those gaps (tutoring), will not do anything for the ongoing problem ADHD causes with learning.  Furthermore, until the ADHD is corrected, the tutoring efforts will be significantly hampered by the disorder.

Medication/Drugs:  Medication/Drugs are fairly successful in suppressing symptoms while the medication is in the blood stream.  However, once the chemicals are out of the blood stream there is no longer any benefit.  If medication is missed accidentally, or intentionally (adolescent compliance is often a problem because of the stigma attached to the medication, or the unwanted side effects), or when it wears off, the problems return in full force.  Adolescents’ not taking their medication is a significant problem; having the ADHD problems returning and combining with the hormonal and other challenges of adolescence can be a very bad combination. Furthermore, since the drugs are only effective while in the blood stream, and the underlying cause is never corrected, the medications must be taken for life.

The potential of harmful side effects as a result of the medications is a major problem. These side effects range from weight loss, over-stimulation of the central nervous system, dizziness, sleep disorders, loss of appetite, tremors, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome. There may be one or a combination of these side effects.  These are serious side effects in any person; when one considers the vulnerability of children, the dangers are even more worrisome.

Neurofeedback:  Of the four options, neurofeedback is the only method that corrects the underlying cause of the disorder in a one-time treatment, rather than merely managing the symptoms or teaching the child how best to live with it (counseling-therapy); filling in the gaps in learning caused by the problem without actually correcting the ongoing disorder (tutoring); or merely suppressing the symptoms through a lifelong, often side-effect laden administration of pharmaceuticals (medication).  Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG to provide information on brain signaling activity and allows for re-training that lasts for life.  By utilizing neurofeedback, a child can re-teach the sensory and/or impulse control functions of the brain, including processing, to ameliorate the disorder.  Neurofeedback is a painless and effective process, where there are no side effects, and no maintenance or re-training is needed after treatment is completed.  It allows for focus, task completion, organization, impulsivity,  hyperactivity and a variety of other symptoms to come within normal, age appropriate limits.

In conclusion, neurological testing of the underlying chemical (brain) imbalance is the only objective method to determine if the symptoms are actually caused by ADHD (this is the type of testing done in neurofeedback).  Furthermore, neurofeedback is the best option for treating the disorder, as it actually corrects the problem in a one-time treatment, rather than trying to feel comfortable with a correctable problem, constantly playing catch-up, trying to fill in gaps that continue to occur, or life-long medication with the great possibility of significant side effects.

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February 4, 2013 at 5:58 am Leave a comment

“Back to School.…..Another Year of Problems for ADD Kids and their Parents?”

For many parents, the end of summer and return to school is a busy time and one of promise, high expectations and delight in watching their children grow.  However, for some parents whose children may have, or are diagnosed with ADD, it is a return to disappointment, frustration, and constant struggle.

School, for the child with ADD, is an experience that usually tears them down rather than building them up.  Any one of, or the combination of inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity (symptoms of ADD) usually cause a child to feel that they are not very smart, or are bad people, and/or are unlikable.  The opposite is usually true.  Behind the academic struggles and/or misbehavior is usually a higher than average I.Q. and a very pleasant disposition.  However, the reality of the feedback the world (at least in part) gives them is the very negative, harmful self-image just mentioned.

On top of this, many children with ADD feel isolated.  This comes from isolation from peers due to accompanying poor social skills, behavior, and self-esteem.  Sadly, these children also are often silently, secretly isolating these feelings from their parents as they are afraid to bring them up for fear of further upsetting them.

Parents are subject to a barrage of complaints from school, disheartening parent-teacher conferences, poor report cards, and often strong resistance from the child himself.  Parents often struggle through tortuous homework sessions, undeserved guilt (ADD is not caused by parenting style, it is a mild neurological condition), and frustration, not to mention the occurrences of many of these same problems at home.

The chances are that you would not be reading this if you or someone you know was not living through this nightmare.  Often, attempts to remedy this situation fail or are unacceptable, and the parent gives up and accepts this as their child’s “lot”.  This is tragic.  In most cases this situation can be corrected, with the accompanying return to healthy family dynamics, and a healthy, happy, self-confident child, without the rigors and side effects of lifelong medication.

All three sub-types of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined, are neurological in basis, and can be corrected through a form of neurological re-training. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug-free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.  Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Teenagers and Depression

 As many as 25% of all teenagers with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with/without Hyperactivity, ADD) are clinically depressed.  All three types of this disorder; Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Form, are capable of producing depression in teens.  Depression is a serious disorder, capable of depriving a person of much needed energy, mental clarity, objectivity reasoning (a crucial skill for this age group), optimism, clear judgment, and enjoyment of life.  It can sometimes, tragically, build to even suicidal levels.  It is very important to be able to recognize the signs of depression in these young people, and in the cases where it is being primarily produced by ADHD, correct this cause. 

The stereotypical image we all have of depression is usually someone who is sad, tearful, listless, and lonesome.   Teenagers with depression often don’t look like this at all.  They don’t typically display gloom, criticize themselves, or talk about feeling hopeless like adults do.  

Teens with major depression are often negative and anti-social; feelings of wanting to leave home or run away are increased.  They may have a strong sense of disapproval or being misunderstood by peers, siblings and parents.  They may also change their basic emotional tone, and become aggressive, grouchy, and restless.  Often a depressed teenager will stop paying attention to personal appearance, or may even adopt the “uniform” of social sub-groups that claim despondency and depression as a way of life.  There may be an increased, unfounded sense of being unloved or rejected by loved ones.  

 Girls have a tendency to internalize performance difficulties more often than boys do, although this happen in many boys too.  A girl will more frequently see failure as a sign that she is a bad, or deficient person.  She will often make the unfortunate leap, that she is therefore unlovable.  This is another way in which ADHD can trigger significant depression. 

Boys (and some girls) will often become aggressive with their parents and/or peers, be more agitated at home, and get into trouble at school or with the law.  Parents are often frustrated, angry, or confused by this kind of behavior.  Some parents respond by becoming stern disciplinarians, engage in power struggles, or may even put the teenager down, which only serves to increase feelings of depression.  Some parents feel helpless, and withdraw form the parenting and help their children need, further isolating them.

If there are some of the other signs of ADHD present (difficulty concentrating, organizing, completing tasks, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity) along with the depression, it is a very good idea to have the teenager tested for ADHD.  If the disorder is present, it is likely treatable without medication, and the depression should be alleviated too.  Lifting huge burdens of the teen’s head and heart (not to mention Mom’s, Dad’s, and the rest of the family.

Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the brain, correcting the problem.  Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

July 13, 2009 at 11:51 pm Leave a comment

Return of School Problems for ADHD Children?

I was speaking with the mother of several school age children recently (one with ADHD), and she gave voice to a feeling I suspect many mothers have. “The kids are back in school, Thank God; I love my kids-but I need a little time at home alone to regroup…….. The kids are back in school. Oh my God! We’re going to start having all those school struggles with Alex again!” Does this sound familiar?

Many parents may have felt optimistic that with summer school, some tutoring, or because it’s a new year and the child is older, that this year would be an entirely new experience. Unfortunately, for most kids with ADHD, this is not the case. Individuals with ADHD have a unique handicap. It is a neurological disorder that, if untreated, will usually persist throughout life, typically creating significant difficulties in school, the workplace, and in relationships.

The classroom environment- with its particular emphasis on organization, schedules, and assignments, long periods of desk work, and emphasis on writing and math- are usually places where children with ADHD have significant difficulty. Furthermore, they take longer to complete in-class and homework assignments. They can quickly become overwhelmed, rebellious, and discouraged, and can “turn off” to the idea of learning.

Some children with ADHD also have behavior difficulties and/or may become isolated, or have difficulty forming friendships. These problems, combined with the aforementioned performance difficulties, often add up to the child developing a self-image of being “not to smart” (tragically incorrect, most people with ADHD have a higher than average intelligence), and/or being a “trouble-maker”. Unfortunately, as we all tend to live out our self-images, the longer this is allowed to exist, the stronger and greater the problems become. It is therefore critical to correct this situation immediately.

Solution:

The solution to this problem is to correct the disorder.Many parents, unfortunately, deny the existence of the disorder, or choose to not get help for their child because they fear the side effects, and rigors of medication (life-long treatment).There is, however, an alternative to this scenario.Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the student learns to correct the problem.Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

September 12, 2008 at 1:39 am Leave a comment


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