Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Alternative Treatments
What is Interactive Metronome training?
Interactive Metronome training involves listening to a computerized rhythmic beat that the person then tries to mimic with hand or foot tapping. The person using Interactive Metronome training is provided feedback that indicates how well they match the beat of the metronome.
Supporters of Interactive Metronome training believe that the behavioral problems associated with ADHD stem from a motor planning and timing deficit. They believe that over time, the individual using Interactive Metronome training can learn to focus for extended periods of time, to filter out distractions, and to monitor their physical and mental actions as they occur.
Some scientific findings show promising results involving Interactive Metronome training and its ability to reduce ADHD symptoms in boys. In one study involving 56 boys, ages 6-12, diagnosed with ADHD, researchers compared results from the group that received the interactive metronome training, the group that received no training, and the group that received video-game training. Researchers concluded that the group of boys with ADHD who received Interactive Metronome training had a significant improvement in attention span, behavior, and motor control.
Can chiropractic medicine help those with ADHD?
While no research has been performed to test effectiveness, some chiropractors believe that chiropractic medicine can effectively treat ADHD. One chiropractic theory is that muscle tone imbalance causes an imbalance in brain activity. According to this theory, by adjusting the ADHD patient's spine, balance is restored in the brain. These spinal adjustments are also used in conjunction with patient exposure to different light and sound frequencies. However, many ADHD doctors do not support this use of chiropractic medicine for treating ADHD.
Kinesiology or Neural Organization technique is yet another theory some chiropractors use with patients who have ADHD. This method is based on the premise that the skull is an extension of the spine so the misalignment of the sphenoid bone and the temporal bones in the skull causes unequal pressure distribution on different parts of the brain. This unequal pressure distribution causes the brain to work improperly. Treatment involves the chiropractor performing adjustments that realign the bones back to their proper position. It should be noted however that this theory invokes much skepticism because all conventional medical knowledge indicates that the cranial bones do not move, therefore, they cannot be misaligned.
Is neurofeedback or QEEG training an effective alternative treatment for ADHD?
An electroencephalograph (EEG) can measure brain wavelengths, allowing scientists to evaluate the measurements and identify patterns that occur. There are four frequencies of wavelengths that the human brain emits. These waves are categorized as alpha (medium), beta (fast), theta (slow), and delta (deep sleep).
Neurofeedback intervention is based on findings that people with ADHD have excess theta waves and fewer than average beta waves when measured on an EEG. Supporters believe that training the brain to increase beta waves and decrease theta waves, thereby increasing arousal, can decrease ADHD symptoms.
Neurofeedback treatment involves teaching the patient how to increase their arousal levels. The patient's brain activity is monitored through electrodes hooked up to their head. When the brain waves reach a desired frequency, a signal informs the patient. Through training, the patient can ultimately learn how to increase arousal on his or her own.
While there has been some promising research in this area, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of neurofeedback on ADHD symptoms. Some drawbacks involve the high cost of the treatment due to expensive equipment, requirement of specialists to perform the treatment, and multiple treatment sessions.