In the years since I was a boy psychologist,we have discovered that it is possible to train people’s brains to improve attention,memory, working memory and almost every other cognitive function. More recently we’ve discovered that it also works for ADHD!
Different training techniques improve different brain functions without medication. In some cases medication is discontinued, in other cases it is considered a supplemental treatment.
There are three of techniques so far to train brains–computerized cognitive retraining (CCR),neurofeedback and meditation training. They each have a different focus and each has a base of research indicating that they are effective.
CCR-computerized cognitive retraining- is a set of brain exercises that are kind of like video games but are designed to stress the brain and increase performance. They are mental calisthenics and like weight training for your muscles, they actually increase the size and density of specific brain areas. This increases your brain’s ability to pay attention, control impulses and function in high stimulus environments (like classrooms).
Neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback is designed to help individuals change their brainwaves. There are four different wavelengths generated by the brain. One of these, Beta, is associated with concentration. Another, Theta is associated with disorganized thinking. ADDers are thought to generate an excess of Theta and to undergenerate Beta. Most neurofeedback treatment protocols try to reverse this and increase Beta while decreasing Theta.
This can be accomplished with regular training at a treatment center specializing in neurofeedback. Treatment protocols usually involve 20-30 sessions. Changes/ improvements are thought to be permanent and there is research supporting effectiveness.
The last brain training technique is meditation training. This is a very loosely defined area that covers mindfulness meditation, biofeedback and different types of relaxation. There is research supporting effectiveness. This approach is the most direct–if someone can’t pay attention, why not train them directly to pay attention? Only recently has there been research supporting this approach.
These are the three methods of training the ADHD brain. They all have their utility depending on individual situations. I have used all three methods for years and am impressed with the results achieved. They are all medication free and/or may effect the amount of medication required. They produce permanent changes.
In upcoming posts, I will cover each procedure in more detail. Hopefully making your decisions easier.