Posts tagged ‘treatment’

A Short But Effective Summer Remedy for ADHD

Does any or all of 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 in 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.

Denial is often a further complication to this problem in 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 many problems mentioned above and the hectic schedule of school, sports, etc. often make it near impossible to get help during the school year.  However, when the school year ends, and summer is finally here, an opportunity presents itself to make a big change for the better.  Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD requires thirty sessions of only thirty minutes each, 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 as little as two weeks.

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 or 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 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.

May 16, 2013 at 12:24 am 1 comment

Parental Denial of the Possibility of ADD… A Common Reaction Actually Worsens Outlook

The parents of children suspecting of having ADD symptoms often deny even the possibility of testing, let alone treating, the disorder.  This denial is understandable, and may be seen as protective and well-intentioned.  However, it may make matters worse since it prevents finding out what the truth is; if the problem is there, it allows it to grow and worsen.

A number of reasons for this denial may exist.  One is an extension of a simple childhood fantasy: “If I don’t admit to it, it’s not really there”.  Even as adults, a lot of this “magical” thinking still goes on.

Another cause of denial is the “self-protective” one.  Some parents see any problems in their children as a reflection of themselves, and therefore something that is wrong in them or they did wrong as parents.  In children with ADD, this is not the case.  However, the urge to self-protect, even when misdirected, is a powerful one.

ADD is often hereditary.  This means that the parent could have ADD, too.  Often, parents compare their children to themselves, and so don’t see any problem, even if others do.  This prevents them from getting the best for their children.

The perceived solution to ADD may be seen as so terrible that it is best to exclude the possibility of the problem, therefore excluding the solution as well.  This solution- often seen as unavoidable in treating the problem- is usually Ritalin or another stimulant-based drug.  This concern is valid.  These drugs often have serious physiological and psychological side effects; and to control the ADD, must be taken for life.  However, it is imperative to know this is not the only solution!

Denial of ADD, although understandable, might actually make the problem worse.  What does this mean?  First, each academic year builds on the previous years’ foundation: the longer the testing and possible treatment is delayed, the increasingly harder school becomes.  Secondly, if children’s experience at school and elsewhere teaches them they are “not smart” (even if people with ADD tend to have higher than average intelligence), or are “trouble-makers”, they will gradually see themselves as such and act accordingly.  Finally, practicing denial teaches denial and the consequent hopelessness that are toxic to growth, achievement, and success for the child.

Medication is not the only effective treatment for ADD.  Neurofeedback is a treatment that corrects the problem for life, as well as adding a sense of self-determination and success for the child.  This method of treatment, a sub-type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG analysis to provide information on brain signaling activity, is an alternative to medication.  Neurofeedback mitigates the symptoms of ADHD in a beneficial and side-effect-free manner by re-focusing the thought processes of brain, ulimately alleviating the condition.

March 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

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.

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

Hope is Most Valuable Commodity for Parents of ADHD Children

Hope…not patience, not financial resources, and not perseverance, is the most important thing parents of children with ADHD (ADD) need to have. While the other assets (among several) are valuable, albeit essential to these parents, maintaining hope for their children’s condition to improve is the most essential ingredient for this wish to come true.  The critical thing to remember when considering this asset is that it exists on a sliding scale.  At the bottom of that scale is hopelessness, which means giving up.

The hope parents have for their children’s condition to improve is both fortunately, and unfortunately, not fixed.  This is a good thing if hope is sliding up the scale and increasing, and a bad thing if it is sliding down and a parent is losing hope and in danger of giving it (hope) up completely.  It is also important for parents (and grandparents, etc.) to realize that losing hope is something that one is often not proud of, and so it may be hidden, both from one’s self and/or other concerned persons.  Gaining or losing hope is also contagious, and likewise one needs to be aware of its status and encourage it in the right direction, guarding it carefully.

Hope springs naturally from a happy and healthy heart (as human beings, this can vary according to life’s trials), and from other places such as spirituality, the encouragement of friends and professionals, and faith in one’s resourcefulness, among others.  The reasons for losing hope are often listening to the wrong people (however well intentioned) both professional and non-professional (this can include teachers and doctors), overwork and fatigue (though this seems simple, it’s the culprit in much of our “giving up”), and feeling that you have no options.

Often persons who we figure should know what they are talking about, actually don’t.  Some people with lots of experience working with children and being good at fixing other problems (doctors, teachers, grandparents, friends with children with similar problems) do not actually understand sufficiently this disorder and the treatment options. Unless someone’s specialization is ADHD, you are going to be getting inadequate or inappropriate advice.

As ADHD in frequently hereditary, many parents of children with ADHD who never got the right help, think that nothing can be done, and give up.  Some of the same type of parents go the opposite way and steadfastly refuse to accept this handicap for this children.

A great many parents are afraid (with good reason) of the many side effects that can occur with medication, and seeing no way out, become hopeless too.  This is a big mistake. There is an alternative to accepting the limitations that ADHD forces on their children, and the serious side effects that frequently come with medication. There is a treatment called neurofeedback which is free of side effects and the rigors of medication, and in one set of treatments can free their children of these significant limitations.

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.  This  form of treatment mitigates the symptoms of ADHD in a beneficial and side-effect-free manner by re-focusing the thought processes of brain. 

Timing of the treatment is important too.  If it is possible, it is a good idea to begin the treatment before the end of the school year so the child can experience some of the improvements involved in the school setting.  Once again, it is critical that parents maintain and guard their hope by obtaining the correct (by a specialist in ADHD) consultation and, if necessary, treatment.

May 15, 2012 at 1:01 am Leave a comment

Successful Treatment Planning for Attention Deficit Disorder

If you, your child’s teacher, or someone else significant suspects your child may have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or AD/HD), by this time of  the school year you really need to get something going to help them as soon as possible.  What is really needed is to first, find out definitively if it is really there, and secondly, get started immediately with a good plan, before it is too late to salvage the school year.  

Schools vary widely in their ability and willingness to assist the parent in this matter. My brother is an elementary school teacher, and a good one, as are many of his peers.  However, there is a wide range in the ability of teachers, as well as schools, in assessing and working with children with this disorder.  

Some teachers are judgmental in their opinions regarding ADD.  They may believe a child willfully misbehaves.  Everyone knows a “dangerously” little amount about ADD.  School personnel are often more objective than parents, as they can compare the child to hundreds of children in their professional experience.  However, teachers listen to the popular press, have family members with ADD, glean information from other sources, and often base their opinion on what they have heard, and not on the true facts.  With good intentions, school personnel may believe or imply to parents that bad parenting, low ability, and or emotional problems are behind the difficulties.  Some teachers have been known to tell parents not to treat the problem, rather, just to employ harsher punishments, and that indeed is a very bad answer.  Finally, most schools are often very slow to actually do any testing (6 months to a year is not at all uncommon).  Furthermore, the results are frequently too vague, yielding results such as “learning disorders” or “learning disabilities”.

 The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have your child tested by an outside, independent professional.  There are two types of testing, those that based solely on symptoms, observed or reported (the most common form of testing), and those that 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).

Medication and Neurofeedback (EEG-analysis and treatment) are the only methods of treatment which actually address the underlying cause of the problem (a minor misalignment in the brain).  Medication is usually effective (unfortunately, teachers will often advise that this is the only answer). However, possible side effects and the necessity of the life long use of these drugs are often understandably very discouraging to parents.  

Neurofeedback is a drug and side-effect free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the relevant attention and/or behavioral mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.   Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.  It is an excellent alternative to the often dreaded medication scenario.

February 15, 2012 at 1:23 am 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

Two Distinctly Different Paths for Treatment of ADHD: Neurofeedback or Medication

Neurofeedback (EEG-Biofeedback) and medication are the two most common forms of treatment fo ADHD (ADD).  Both are successful in treating these disorders in a large majority of cases.  There are, however, significant differences in the ways these treatments work, the potential side effects of their use, the length of treatment necessary, and importantly, the lessons learned by the child of how to correct personal problems. 

Most of the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD are dervied from some form of stimulant or antidepressant.  Most of these medications carry the FDA’s “Black Box Warning” Labels, and should be used with caution.  These warnings refer to the possibility of serious cardiovascular side effets, as well as the possible suppression of children’s growth, and heightened risk for psychosis, bi-polar illness, and aggression. 

In addition to these problems, this class of medications is also associated with the following serious potential side effects: weight loss in children, overstimulation of the central nervous system, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, tremors, headaches, and tics or Tourettes Syndrome.

Now, let us take a look at how these different treatments work.  The medications contain artifical chemicals, which increase neurotransmitter levels in the brain, allowing the brain to function better, thus alleviating the condition.  As these chemicals are artificial, and foreign to the body, they may cause unfavorable reactions in the brain, and therefore brings about the aforementioned negative side effects.

Neurofeedback trains the brain to funciton faster through a highly specialized type of exercise.  As the brain learns to function faster, it naturally increases its production of neurotransmitters, and the brain functions better, thus treating the condition.  The end result is the same in both forms of treatment… with one very big difference.  As neurofeedback does not introduce anything unnatural into the brain, and rather trains the brain to function better through its own natural mechanisms (i.e. it learns or teaches itself to improve), it produces none of these side effects.  As vulnerable as children are, the last thing we want to do is expose them to these unnecessary dangers. 

Finally, length of treatment is another big difference.  Medication is a lifetime process, as it is only effective while it is in the bloodstream.  Therefore, no amount of medication will ever produce a lasting effect.  The medication must be continually taken to treat the condition, with once again, the continuing potential for these serious side effects and health dangers.  Neurofeedback, on the other hand, is a “one time” treatment for this disorder.  It is a far simpler solution, once treatment is complete, no further sessions are necessary.

Finally, there is a subtle lesson being taught to the child about how to deal with life’s problems. It is a lesson that will assume major importance as the child grows older.  The lesson is “Do I take a substance to be smarter, get my work done more quickly, and be more popular- getting along better with others… or do I improve my capacities, performance, and relationships with others through working on and improving myself?”  The abuse of these medications is already growing steadily in schools.  As the child grows older (and, unfortunately, this is happening at a younger and younger age) they will be presented with increasingly more dangerous substances to deal with essentially (if not exactly) the same questions.  In many ways, the stage is already being set by the way in which parents choose for their child to deal with their ADHD.

Once neurofeedback treatment is completed, no further treatment is necessary, and the child learns a healthy lesson about the right way to strengthen their abilities.  With neurofeedback, there are no side effects, the treatment is a one-time process, and the child avoids learning a potentially dangerous lesson, and instead learns a healthy one of self-reliance and self-improvement.  Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retain the attention mechanisms of their brain , alleviating the condition. 

If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about Neurofeedback or would like to schedule an evaluation, please contact Dr. Ferrari at Alta Neuro-Imaging (Placentia, CA).

December 9, 2011 at 12:20 am Leave a comment

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