Posts tagged ‘Treating ADD’

“Impulsivity” In Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

There are three sub-types of ADHD;  Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined.  While most people have a pretty clear understanding of inattention and hyperactivity, the terms “impulsive” or ”impulsivity” can be somewhat confusing.  These terms are often confused with “compulsive”, which is quite different.  Compulsion can be defined as a repetitive stereotyped act performed to relieve fear connected with an obsession. 

In regard to ADHD, there are two forms of impulsivity: Behavioral Impulsivity and Cognitive Impulsivity.

Behavioral Impulsivity –Actions.  People with ADHD who have symptoms of behavioral impulsivity do not stop and think before they act.  No matter how many times they are told to “stop and think first” they are unable, in most cases, to exercise this type of forethought, or judgment.  They usually are not able to learn from their past mistakes.  They act on the first impulse that occurs to them.  This can be quite exasperating to their parents, teachers, and other caregivers (which may in itself further add to the problem).

 These ADHD children often:

     ·       cut in line

     ·        can’t wait their turn

·        blurt out answers in class

·        speak when they’re supposed to be quiet

·        may show aggressive behaviors

·        are often too loud

·        sometimes fight

They can start a friendship or relationship, but it often fails as they blurt out the wrong thing at the wrong time.  This can also lead to isolation, as others don’t “get” them, which in turn inhibits the learning of other important social skills.

Cognitive Impulsivity –Thinking and Choices.  People with ADHD who have symptoms of cognitive impulsivity do a lot of guesswork.  Often, rather than thinking about an answer, these individuals will make a multiple number of guesses in a short period of time.  If you give them multiple choices orally, to a question, they will guess for the right answer very quickly…first one, then another, often back and forth…until you finally step in when and say, “That’s it” when they guess right.  This pattern only reinforces their guessing.

These individuals have a very limited problem solving strategy.  They are impaired in their ability to think the problem through.  They will usually just guess and let trial and error carry them through.  This not only tends to have a negative effect on how others perceive them, it also interferes with their ability to learn new material, and further develop more effective problem solving strategies.  If this disorder is not corrected, no amount of direction, encouragement, or discipline will change this inability.

Fortunately, both these problems, as well of the other sub-types of ADHD, can usually be corrected without medication.  Neurofeeback is a highly effective, drug-free, painless procedure, with no side effects, in which the individual learns to retrain the impulsive, hyperactive, and/or attention mechanisms of the brain.  Once treatment is complete, no further training 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

 

January 9, 2009 at 2:31 am Leave a comment

Treatment Options for ADHD

About this time of the school year, for the child with Attention Deficit Disorder, 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 starting to occur again, or are appearing for the first time, 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.

 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.  Neurofeedback is a highly effective treatment, with no side effects.

 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, since you have the ADHD problems returning and combining with the hormonal and other challenges of adolescence, which 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.

 Behavior Modification: Behavior modification can have some benefits, however, it does not correct the cause of the disorder.  The main problem with this treatment is its reliance on behavior contracts.  This process requires the child to remember the rules and rewards of the contract in situations (on the playground, while daydreaming, when they’re not thinking about what they’re doing) where their ADHD is least likely to allow them to remember them.

 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, in which case (the majority of cases), the therapy would not be necessary.

 Neurofeedback is the only treatment that actually corrects the problem in a side effect free, one time treatment.  Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of the brain.

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

November 11, 2008 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

Homework…and the ADHD Child

Simply put, homework is supposed to be like this.  At a certain time, the child sits down and completes their assignments, with a reasonable degree of success, in a timely fashion, and perhaps with some interaction with their parent(s).  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.
 
Unfortunately, with a child who has ADHD, the experience and outcome can be quite different.  After much cajoling, and struggle the parent gets the child to begin their homework. Then ensues a multiple hours long battle, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger from both parties.  The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger.  Sound familiar…?
 
This damaging experience actually begins at school.  Often the ADHD child has extra homework added on because of work uncompleted in class, and/or as punishment for poor behavior or inattention.  By the time they get home they are frustrated, tired and stressed.  Mom and/or Dad may be feeling this way too (they have their own struggles).  When the “getting started” battle is finally over, parents often find that the child is behind in assignments (again?), hasn’t written down directions properly, and doesn’t know how to do the work (want to repeat fifth grade?)  What’s very important to understand, and correct this scenario, is that 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 children’s 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.

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

October 21, 2008 at 1:19 am 2 comments

“Next Year Will Be Better”- Using Summertime to make that come true for children with ADD/ADHD

If you have a child (or an adult) in your family who has, or you suspect may have this disorder, the conflict, chaos, and frustration that it generates can be so disrupting to family harmony that you may sometimes wonder if it will ever get any better! Helping the individual with this disorder not only can turn the world around for them, but can work wonders for the whole family.

Children have a natural sense of optimism and innocence about them that allows them to genuinely feel that problems will naturally get better (even when there is no real reason to believe so) on their own. This optimism can be heard when they say “Things will be better next year”, or “I’ll get off to a good start next school year”.

There are few things more magical for a child’s self confidence than when something actually does happen to change the circumstances and bring that about. An actual increase in their abilities to concentrate and/or improve their behavior, combined with the then evident validation of their optimism, “Look, see I was right, I am doing better, I am smart!”, brings about a surge of confidence that is wonderful to see. A child in this situation can really take off and soar!

Not only is summertime the pause between the old and the (better?) New Year, it is a relatively less hectic time of the year. Schedules (vacations notwithstanding) are more flexible, the pressures of school and homework are loosened, and it is a time to more easily accomplish a special project.

The way to actually change the ADD child’s circumstances or abilities is to take this time to correct the disorder. This can be done in this space of time through Neurofeedback Training. Neurofeedback is a safe, effective, non-drug procedure that corrects the underlying imbalances which bring about ADD. Once the training is complete, no further treatment is necessary, and you know what?….your child actually was right to believe in themselves, next year actually is better.

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.

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

June 13, 2008 at 4:04 am Leave a comment

“Running Out of Gas” in School

About this time of year (if it hasn’t happened already), children with ADHD (ADD) begin to “run out of gas” at school. They are past the high point of Christmas, summer seems a long way off, and they’ve been working at school for over six months. After all, they’re kids. Often, they start to struggle and misbehave, and grades can decline.

This dilemma can become catastrophic for students with ADHD. They have been “running” much harder to keep up than their classmates have, and consequently are much more worn out than they are. An additional problem is the “foundation problem”, which refers to the tiered or sequential nature of education. As children move throughout the course of the school year, and progress from year to year, new concepts and understandings are built on the foundations of the previous ones. ADD often causes children to miss some of the key concepts of subjects. Then, when the teacher moves on to the next concept or set of facts, the child struggles with comprehening the new ideas because they are based on the previous ones, which they didn’t fully understand in the first place. This problem is of cumulative nature, and as school progresses, the lack of understanding increases and becomes overwhelming. Also increasing are the frustration, loss of confidence, and motivation… equally powerful in sabotaging the child’s success at school.

What makes matters worse are that these school programs may influence other areas of life, such as friendships and family life. Furthermore, the parents working with the child becomes exhausted too. This causes further “snow-balling” problems for the child and other members of the family!

The final piece of this dilemma is that at certain times in the education process, the teaching style, responsibility required of the student, or level of thinking required, take a big step up in difficulty. This may occur at fairly standard intervals, such as first, third, and sixth grade, middle school, high school, and college. But, with the increasing diversity in school programs and curriculum, it’s hard to know when these transitions will occur. This is often “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” for children with ADD.

Solution:
The solution is to correct the disorder. Unfortunately, many parents deny the existence of the disorder, or choose to not get help for their child because they fear the side effects and/or rigors of medication. There is, however, an alternative. 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

April 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

Early Treatment of ADD Arrests Worsening of Learning and Behavior Problems – Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari

The degree of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) present in a person, unless treated, usually remains relatively stable throughout their lives. However, to most people, the disorder appears to get worse as the years go by, especially while in school or advancing in a career. The reason for this lies in three important factors.

First, as each advancing school year increases in the intellectual and behavioral demands it makes on the student, the attention and /or behavior problems caused by this disorder become more and more apparent.

Secondly, each school year builds on the foundation of the preceding years. If a child’s attention and/or behavioral problems interfere with the learning of this foundational material, it becomes increasingly difficult, each year, to master the required material. Tutoring may help, however, that learning is also hampered by this disorder, and it is often a catch-up effort that never quite manages to sufficiently fill the gap.

Finally, and in some ways most importantly, is the matter of self-image. The child who suffers under these deficits usually forms a self-image of being “not too smart” (the opposite is true, most children with ADD have a higher than average intelligence) and/or a “trouble-maker”. Children (as well as adults) have a tendency to “act out” or to fulfill their self-image. The longer they live under that self-image the stronger it becomes, and performance and behavior often deteriorate accordingly.

These same factors usually apply to job and carrier advancement, and come to bear significantly in forming and maintaining adult relationships as well.

Since all of these elements can make the problem worse with each passing year, if your child, or a child you know has or is suspected of having ADD the sooner they are evaluated and/or treated the better.

One method of treatment is neurofeedback, an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of their 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

January 28, 2008 at 4:59 am Leave a comment

Family Life Often Disrupted By ADD – Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari

While the primary problems caused by ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are related to the affected individual, the typical disruption of harmonious family dynamics often equals or exceeds this in overall scope and impact. It is helpful to keep in mind that there are three distinct types of this disorder (primarily inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and the combined form), and the described impacts will vary in accordance with the type of ADD present.

In my clinical experience, the following disruptions to family life are common and significant when ADD is present in one or more members of the family:

  1. Morning routines are made more difficult by excess playing, slowness at
    getting up and/or following directions.
  2. Often difficult day at school causes stressed child returning into home

  3. Pressure from school (notes, phone calls, etc.) often causes unwarranted
    parental guilt and blaming

  4. Homework often takes too long, is difficult to start, requires constant
    monitoring to complete, thus overloading parents already tired from their
    work day (deprived of their needed relaxation)

  5. Homework conditions also deprive other children and spouses of their
    necessary attention, with negative ramifications

  6. Sleep disturbances (difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep, early rising)
    cause fatigue in child and others in family

  7. 80-85% of ADD is genetic, therefore, there is frequently another member of
    the family (parent and/or child) who also has ADD (perhaps to a lesser
    extent), increasing the disturbances in family dynamics

  8. The ADD child’s frequent loss of learning, increased stress levels, and low
    self esteem gains momentum from year to year, as do the above family
    disturbances.

Unfortunately, these patterns repeat constantly as long as the child is in the home (sadly, this too is often affected by the disruption caused by the disorder). The simplest and most thorough solution to these problems is to successfully treat the disorder. Many parents fail to do so because of a fear of the significant side effects of medication. Fortunately, there is an alternative to medication in the treatment of ADD.

Neurofeedback is a painless, side effect-free procedure in which the person learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once the treatment is complete, no further training is necessary and family dynamics should return to within normal standards.

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

January 9, 2008 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

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