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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Alternative Treatments

What about behavioral interventions for kids with ADHD?

Research has shown the benefits of behavioral interventions for ADHD preschoolers. As an example, two types of intervention programs, each lasting for one year, were assigned to parents of preschoolers diagnosed with ADHD.

One program was an intervention that consisted of parenting education classes that focused on parenting skills, child safety, and understanding the child's behavior. Individual sessions were also performed at home and school. The other group received a parenting skills class in a group setting.

Researchers determined a decrease in ADHD symptoms in both groups.

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 (and which is met with skepticism in the medical community). 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.  Note that cranial bones do not move, and therefore they cannot be misaligned.

 

Is neurofeedback or working memory training effective alternative treatments 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 his or her arousal levels. The patient's brain activity is monitored through electrodes attached to the 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.

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