Posts tagged ‘Hyperactivity’

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.

Advertisements

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

Difficulty at the Start of the New School Year?

For most parents, the new school year brings the feeling of accomplishment and pride of seeing their children grow and mature in aptitude, knowledge, and social skills. For some parents, however, it only brings long nights of homework, calls from the teacher, frustrated and discouraged children, and parenting fights about whose fault “all of this” is. There is also the pain of watching your child sink into believing they are not smart, are a “bad boy or girl”, or are not worth much. No parent or child should ever have to experience this.

A typical school year requires sustained attention, sitting quietly, and refined social skills. Some children are not capable of this. A mother recently told me, “I’m worried… Sammy is having such an awful time in school this year.” Sammy is being grounded in the classroom with no recess because he is behind in his work. “We are constantly doing homework and he is still behind,” she continued. To add to his academic problems, Sammy is spending most of his time at school in social isolation; even when he is free from being “grounded” in the classroom, he is the last one picked for teams and the first one to be teased.

A very significant possibility exists that the conditions described above (some or all) are being caused by a disorder called ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This disorder is caused by a minor neurological imbalance (not parenting style!) and, for the vast majority of those with ADHD, can be corrected relatively easily. What makes the aforementioned tragic self-image even more unacceptable is that fact that the opposite is usually true. Individuals with ADHD (ADD) typically have a higher than average IQ and, although sometimes hidden behind the disorder, a very pleasant disposition.

Whenever such problems are occurring, it is extremely important to determine if ADHD is behind them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your child’s first report card to initiate testing or treatment. By then, your child is already significantly behind. If there’s one thing harder for a child with ADHD than school, it is the downward sliding struggle to catch up.

Unfortunately, many parents of children with ADHD, or those who suspect it might be present, avoid testing and treatment because of their understandable dread of what they think must be the inevitable “drug” solution. Fortunately, for most individuals, there is a much better alternative.

This treatment is called neurofeedback, 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.

October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

ADHD Basics

ADHD (ADD) is an abbreviation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  There is some confusion with the initials and names used for this disorder.  ADHD actually means Attention Deficit, with or without Hyperactivity, Disorder.  Some people think that attention and hyperactivity (and/or impulsivity) need to be present in order for the disorder to be there, and this is a mistake.  There are actually three sub-types of this disorder: Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive (either or both), and the Combined Type (all three).  When speaking with true professionals who specialize in this disorder, these misconceptions and misunderstandings should not be a problem.

ADHD is one of the most common childhood behavior disorders.  Of all children referred to mental health professionals, about 35% are referred for ADHD – more than any other condition.  It is estimated that approximately 9% of all children are troubled with this disorder. 

The first step to take in determining if this disorder is present is to do the proper testing, usually, once again, by an independent professional.  Frequently, it is very unfortunate that medication and treatment are prescribed based solely on a parent’s or anothers opinion or observation.  While these may be well intentioned, they are usually not based on the proper criteria or knowledge.  In the cases where testing is actually being done, it is based largely only on symptoms.  While symptoms are important, and indeed are the true “real world” problems, there are other causes than ADHD that can bring about ADHD-like symptoms.  The only way to determine if ADHD is truly present, in conjunction with the symptoms, is to look at the organ in question, which in this case is the brain.  This is done through brain monitoring (EEG analysis), which is a painless non-invasive test.  This is the only objective way to determine if the disorder is present.

There are basically three forms of treatment.  Therapy or cognitive-behavioral treatment: These forms of treatment mostly offer support in learning to live with the disorder.  Since ADHD is a neurological disorder, and not an emotional or psychologically based problem, these treatment options are quite limited in treating the disorder.   Medication: Usually effective in treating the disorder, however, there are frequently unwanted side effects, and, since the medication is only effective while it is in the bloodstream, the medication needs to be taken for life.  Neurofeedback:  An effective, side-effect free treatment in which the child retrains the underlying mechanisms that cause the disorder.  Once treatment is complete, no further sessions are necessary.

Many parents avoid testing and/or treatment for ADHD because they understandably fear the side-effects and need for lifetime use of what they mistakenly think is the only remedy to the problem, medication.  There is, fortunately, an alternative to this scenario.  Neurofeedback is a proven, painless, and effective solution to the problem of ADHD,which opens for the person the opportunities they deserve for a lifetime of learning, growing, and relating well with others.

January 26, 2012 at 1:57 am Leave a comment

Homework Problems… And Solutions

In my many years of experience helping children and parents with academic and behavioral problems, one of the most common issues is difficulty with homework.  The purpose of homework is to allow the child further opportunities to independently master their coursework, and perhaps allow the parent to become involved in what is happening for their child at school.

If homework is often a problem for a child, several confounding factors may have developed which add significantly to the problem, in a cumulative fashion.  Past assignments that need to be made up (undone or never turned in) and uncompleted class work that is sent home can add much to the burden.  Additionally, with homework being a recurring problem, your child may have developed the behaviors of “hiding” homework or being deceptive about what or when something is due.

A typical “problem homework” scenario may include some or all of these patterns. After much cajoling and struggling, the parent gets the child to begin their homework.  Then ensues in long battles that last multiple hours, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand the material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger occur from both parties.  The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger.  Does this sound familiar…?

What’s very important to understand , and to correct this scenario, is that the child may have Attention Deficit Disorder.  With the ADHD child, they cannot stop this from happening; it’s part of the uncorrected disorder.  However, often teachers, other students, and parents lose site of this, and blame the child.  The result is a child who feels very badly about themselves, and gives up, or rebels, or both.

These daily episodes are very damaging to family dynamics.  In addition to the harm done to the parent-child relationship, there are other significant consequences.  Other childrens’ needs go unattended (not to mention the parent’s), important tasks around the house go undone (dinner anyone?), and last, but definitely not least, the parent’s own relationship suffers as blaming, overwork, and loss of quality time together are also casualties.

Remember what we said homework was for and was supposed to be like in the first paragraph? The homework experience with the ADHD child is not any kind of “Building Up”… it is a “Tearing Down” experience.

Fortunately, this can be changed, without the side-effects and rigors of medication.  Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition.  Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.

November 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Students Who Can Really Benefit From Help at the Start of the School Year

As a psychologist specializing in helping students improve their academic and behavioral experience in school for over 16 years, I have come to identify certain types of students who benefit the most from specialized types of help.  These are students that can make big time improvements at the start of the academic year.

The first type is the student who struggles significantly with homework (which icnreases in amount and  difficulty each year).  This is usually a problem with attention span, task completion, and/or organization.  Problems such as homework taking too long, not being completed, not being turned in, or not being brought home, all fall into this category.

A second type is the child who has to work too hard to get what success they can.  Poor grades and difficulty with testing are typical for this child.  These are children who often can do OK when the work  is done “one-on-one”, but are too distracted in group settings such as the classroom or group activity.

The third type is the student who has significant difficulties with his or her behavior.  They may be getting into trouble frequently, and as a result may even be getting blamed for things that they don’t do.  This behavior may make it hard to make friends (or the right kind of friends) and lead to feelings of isolation.  They can often be held in or punished at recess (further isolation), and may begin to believe that they are troublemakers, or “bad” kids.  The resulting damage to self esteem from this, and the other above patterns, can shape self-fulfilling self-images that are very sad to see develop.

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for parents to see these problems.  They may feel that these problems for their child are “not that bad” or “I had the same problems when I was a child” (do we really want them to carry the same burdens?), or “they will probably grow out of it.”  As parents, we need to be proactive regarding our children’s challenges and protect them for these obstacles, they will learn how to treat themselves from how we treat them with their difficulties.

As we mentioned earlier, many of these difficulties are caused by aptitude deficiencies whihc are quite correctable.  Many of the students with these difficulties suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), either diagnosed or undiagnosed.  Proper testing and/or treatment of this disorder are critical for these children’s well being.  Many parents also resist testing and treatment because they fear the side effects and rigor of what they believe is the only treatment: medication. This is, unfortunately, still a popular misconception.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to this scenario.  Neurofeedback is a proven, effective, drug and side effect free procedure in which the individual retrains the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.  Once treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.

If you would like more information about Neurofeedback, please contact Dr. Ferrari at his Southern California office, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback.

September 15, 2011 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

Prevalence of ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder- “ADD” or ADHD- affects approximately nine percent (9%) of the children in the United States.  It is one of the more prevalent, and most studied, of all childhood psychiatric disorders.  A new study reports that only about a third of them are getting proper treatment.

“There is a perception that ADHD is over diagnosed and over treated,” says lead researcher Dr. Tanya E. Froehlich, from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.  “But our study shows that for those that meet the criteria for ADHD, the opposite problem- under diagnosis and under treatment- seems to be occuring.  Interestingly, Froelich commented further that “…girls were more likely to be under diagnosed.”

Also of importance are the findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  The researchers found that of the children who met the criteria for ADHD, only 47.9% had been diagnosed with the disorder, and of these, only 32% were being treated consistently with medications.

There are three sub-types of the disorder: primarily inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined (a combination of the two previous types).  Attention Deficit Disorder is not a trivial problem; it can have a serious, detrimental impact on a persons life in terms of learning, social relationships, and self-image, as well as success and happiness in adult life.  In addition to the negative impact the disorder has on the individual, it can wreak havoc on family dynamics.

As we saw earlier, approximately fifty percent of the actual cases of ADHD are identified, and of these, only a third are receiving proper treatment.  One of the major reasons for these unfortunate facts is parents’ understandable fears of the serious side-effects and rigors of medication.  Fearing that medicating their children is the unavoidable response to testing them, or, if the disorder is already present, thinking that medication is the only treatment available.  Many parents avoid testing and treatment altogether and abandon their children to their fate.  This is a distressing scenario.

The good news however, is that medication is not the only, and certainly not the most successful, form of treatment for ADHD.  There is an alternative to this scenario.

The alternative is Neurofeedback.  It is a drug-free, painless procedure which a child or adult does to re-train the mechanisms in charge of attention within the brain.  Neurofeedback is permanent; once treatment is complete, no further treatment is necessary.  Parents no longer need to avoid testing and/or treatment for fear of the “drug solution”.  They do not have to be forced to accept poor grades, endless hours of homework, calls from the school, and feelings of hopelessness.

They can get help for their children if they so need.

If you would like more information about Neurofeedback, please contact Dr. Ferrari at his Southern California office, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback.

November 3, 2010 at 10:29 am 1 comment

A “Short Course” Summer Remedy for ADHD

Does this sound familiar to you?  “My child is struggling in school… the teacher complains that they don’t complete their class work, can’t follow directions, and are frequently daydreaming.  Their grades are below average, yet I know that they are intelligent.  Homework takes forever, and is a constant battle.  If this were not enough, they are frequently getting into trouble at school, and it’s the same at home.  The poor kid can’t get a break, and the family is constantly in an uproar.  We always dread the start of the next school year, and things seem to be getting steadily worse.”

If the academic performance and/or behavioral part of this statement sounds familiar to you, there is a good chance that your child may be suffering from ADHD.  The destruction of the child’s self esteem, and the conflict and chaos wrought on family dynamics can be devastating.

A further complication to this problem is that many parents, thinking that the side effects and rigors of life-long medication are the only remedy, try to deny the problem and avoid testing and treatment.  Fortunately, medication is definitely not the only form of successful treatment.  We’ll discuss this more in a moment.

The problems mentioned above and the hectic schedule of the school, sports, etc. often make it near impossible to get help during the school year.  However, when the school year ends, and the summer is finally here, an opportunity presents itself to make a big change for the better.  Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD requires thirty sessions, each being thirty minutes long, with a minimum of one session a week.  During the school year the pace of life can be so hectic that the treatment may take four to seven months to complete.  In the summertime, the opportunity presents itself for a “Short Course” treatment, which can be completed in one to two months.

One of the gifts of childhood is an innocence, which (as long as their self esteem isn’t too damaged) prompts them to believe (without anything actually occurring to bring it about) that next year will always be better.  If the child’s parents actually correct the problem over the summer, then a beautiful thing happens to the child’s belief in his/her self.  They discover that, “you know what?… I was right to believe in myself… things are better this year.”  When parents intervene for their children in this way, not only does their performance and/or behavior turn around for the better, but the parents also give their child an incredible boost in self-confidence and self-reliance.  These are wonderful gifts to give your child!

Neurofeedback is an effective, drug and side effect free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.  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 please contact:

Dr. Stephen Ferrari for  Orange County Neurofeedback

May 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Dr. Ferrari’s Website