“Dear Doctor…”: Answers to Neurofeedback Questions
As a psychologist specializing in treating ADHD with Neurofeedback (EEG-Biofeedback) for over 19 years, I’ve heard many questions regarding using Neurofeedback to treat this disorder. Here are some of the most frequent and important ones:
1. “How does Neurofeedback work to treat ADHD?”
The underlying cause of this common disorder is a relatively minor neurological imbalance. Medications introduce synthetic chemicals into the body to temporarily correct the imbalance. This form of treatment frequently causes unwanted side effects. Neurofeedback teaches the brain to correct this imbalance naturally and permanently without any side effects. Through passively interacting with a specialized computer, the child, in a game-like setting, works to gradually strengthen the brain and permanently correct the disorder. The treatment typically consists of thirty sessions, and a minimum of one session per week is necessary. Most children are capable of doing 2-3 sessions per week. Improvement of symptoms begin once treatment is initiated.
2. “Can anyone do neurofeedback?”
We normally start testing and/or treatment at approximately the age of four. There are no upper limits to the age at which ADD/ADHD can be corrected. Approximately 85% of the people with this disorder are good candidates for neurofeedback treatment, and in the initial evaluation, a person’s ability to do the treatment is clearly determined.
3. “Are the effects of neurofeedback treatment permanent?”
Yes, this part of the brain holds any adjustments it learns to make permanently. Individuals with ADD/ADHD, or any of the other disorders we treat (High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Sleep Disorders), who are good candidates for the treatment (as determined in the evaluation), and who successfully complete the training, will have permanent results. There will be no need for any other treatment.
4. “Will neurofeedback change one’s personality?”
No, not in any way. Neurofeedback simply corrects the imbalances that underlie the disorder. Learning to ride a bicycle is an acquired skill, which once learned, is automatic in performance and doesn’t in any way change one’s personality. The improvements the brain learns to make in correcting the disorder are acquired traits which don’t in any way affect one’s personality.
5. “How will we know if the neurofeedback is working?”
The patient and/or the parents, as well as the teacher, will have every indication that this is working through evidence of changes in their performance and behavior difficulties. Neurofeedback is the type of treatment where improvements come steadily throughout the training, as opposed to having to wait to the end to see the improvements. Not only do you not have to wait for the improvements to begin, the fact that it is working will be quite apparent.