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Neural Feedback Training as Therapy for ADHD? 864

Posted by Cliff
from the trendy-but-does-it-work dept.
jamesh asks: "I asked Slashdot (anonymously) a while back about my daughter, who has been diagnosed with ADHD. The Ritalin has made a lot of difference but things are still not quite right, and she has developed various vocal tics (grunting, odd little noises, words and so forth... think Tourette's Syndrome, only not nearly as bad), which is one of the side effects of stimulant medication. She's now a lot less of an outcast and appears able to better interact with other kids, but we're still looking at alternate treatments. It may be the trendy new thing, but we've now started down the road of neural feedback therapy. Does anyone out there have any experience in this treatment? First hand 'I've tried it once and it changed/ruined my life' anecdotes would be great, but if you have a child, friend or acquaintance who has been through this treatment, it would be really useful to hear about their experiences." We also discussed ADHD treatments in another related Ask Slashdot but I don't see any mention of such a therapy in that discussion. Has anyone heard of studies or reports on patients of Neural Feedback Therapy?

"If you haven't heard of it, the idea is that by attaching sensors to the head, brainwaves can be measured, and by providing visual feedback, you can actually train your brain to regulate its activity. An ADHD person supposedly has a brain which isn't very good at keeping itself in 'concentration' mode. In a child, the feedback takes the form of a game or in the case of an infant, a pleasing pattern on the screen (an infant would probably be treated for sleep disorders, not ADHD, in case you were wondering). When the brainwaves are in the 'right' state, the game proceeds or the patterns get prettier. When the brainwaves are erratic, it all slows down.

Because it is a trendy new thing, it's been put forward as a possible treatment for many other things including sleeplessness, epilepsy and other disorders, but one of the better successes has been in the treatment of ADHD.

The whole thing sounds quite plausible, but it is also quite expensive. All of the stuff I've read has been either from the suppliers of the treatment, or from people trying to discredit it."

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Neural Feedback Training as Therapy for ADHD?

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  • Not a disease (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehdely (690619) * on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:49PM (#7980956) Journal
    Pardon my ranting, but this issue hits rather close to home.

    I'm of the opinion that ADD/ADHD is not a disorder, and should never be "treated". Perhaps having been prescribed various stimulant medicines which shortly turned into an addiction, which in itself transformed into dependency on methamphetamine (which I finally quit in March thanks to Rational Recovery [rational.org]) has influenced me in distrusting chemical treatment, the idea of treatment at all, and, most importantly, the disease model that most people seem to apply to Attention Deficit, but perhaps it is just from having been someone who could very aptly be described as the "Poster Child" for ADD.

    Based on the experience of myself and many others, I have come to the conclusion that Attention Deficit is not a disorder inasmuch as it is a different form of thinking and interacting with the world which can have both its downsides and its blessings. We may have trouble in the standard school and work paradigms that most seem to be able to deal with successfully, but we also tend to be very insightful, creative, and interesting folks :)

    I always call attention to the fact that many of our greatest minds, a perfect example being Albert Einstein, would today have been diagnosed with ADD, prescribed stimulants, and had the insights that they would have otherwise shared with the world snuffed out and replaced with mindless conformity.

    Please consider changing your daughter's school, and adapting her environment to her very special mind, instead of trying to cram a square peg into a round hole and possible damage her intellect forever.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:00PM (#7981078) Homepage Journal
      "I always call attention to the fact that many of our greatest minds, a perfect example being Albert Einstein, would today have been diagnosed with ADD..."

      I agree with your point that ADD is not a disorder. Well, I should rephrase that, the diagnosis of ADD is probably faulty. There may be a disorder or condition where the human brain just cannot stay focused on something or another. I doubt, though, that a lot of the people diagnosed with it really have a neural wiring problem. Rather, the content is just not interesting.

      I find myself tuning out people at times. It's like they talk too slow. I've noticed this problem especially with the older generation. They feel they must talk in very precise terms and verbally illustrate their ideas. Problem is, I often get their point long before they've finished babbling. So I find myself drifting in and out of attentiveness with them.

      Honestly, I don't think this is a neural problem. I think it's an artifact of growing up in a generation where we're expected to understand stuff faster. So yes, I agree, 'treating' it would be a bad idea. Instead, I'd rather learn at the speed my mind will allow.
      • Re:Not a disease (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jdray (645332)
        I do the same thing, often tuning out what others are saying and "checking in" with their monologue every twenty seconds or so to see if they've finished the thought I got the gist of in the first ten or fifteen words. But I find myself adversely affected as well, because of the need for me to "fit in" with the rest of the world (have to be able to hold a job to keep the mortgage paid and all). Often I have to actively ignore my impulse to task switch at work, because I know that if I get onto something m
        • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Afrosheen (42464) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:18AM (#7982128)
          First off, fitting in is overrated. Many of the luminaries, great scientists and great leaders stuck out from the herd based on their own merits. Many of them never fit in anywhere, and thus took paths that branched from the average person.

          Believe it or not, we're not all created equal. Some people are more 'gifted' than others in many different ways. What society and hack psychologists perceive to be a sickness or disease can be a great asset with the right application.

          Unless you kids are autistic, don't fuck with them. If they can't pay attention in class, put them in private schools where the curriculum is more challenging. Nine times out of ten kids who screw around, draw and doodle, clown around instead of getting work done probably aren't being challenged. I know, I was one of these kids. When they finally did some standardized testing the school system discovered that kids like myself were 'bright' and were bored with average work. Once you get into something more advanced and difficult, you pay attention and do work.

          I have issues with the current American school system still, because it aims to average the students out. Rather than having some dim and some bright bulbs, they all glow with the same intensity. Also most public schools promote regurgitative learning rather than comprehensive skill sets. Hence you get students that cram before the test, pass it, but don't understand what they've learned. School becomes trivia, and trivia is rarely interesting or engaging.

          I hope I have 'gifted' children, because I'll understand them and hopefully will be able to challenge them in ways they'll later appreciate. They won't get hours of television; they'll get books, technical manuals, things to build. I'm not anti-television or anti-entertainment, I just believe that the way I taught myself was valuable and want to give my offspring the same opportunities.
      • Life is a disease (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Trolling4Dollars (627073) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:07PM (#7981629) Journal
        With the amount of people out there doping up to try and avoid every sign of being human, I would definitely consider a second or even third opinion on the ADD diagnosis. I seriously hope that there has been more than one opinion. I can't say because I don't know your situation.

        If my folks would have taken me to a doctor as a kid because I spaced out on the gym floor, I would surely have been diagnosed with ADD. But the real truth is that I wasn't a jock.

        Going back to my first statement (about people doping up for everything under the sun), think about it:

        1. I've got a few age lines in my face. Solution? Inject toxin just under the skin to make it swell and fill in the wrinkles for a few months!
        2. I've got reflux (probably the fallout of too many antibiotics and a bad yeast infection in the digestive tract) disorder. Solution? Get the purple pill that costs an arm and a leg and I will have to stay on for life lest my symptoms get worse.
        3. I'm going bald. (Hey... we all get old eventually) Solution? There's just too many to go into, but I'll point out that the list of side effect for Propecia is mind boggling. Especially the one that says to not even TOUCH Propecia if you are pregnant!

        I'm not denying that there ARE people with problems out there. I'm not even saying that this guy's kid may not have problems. But let's step back a bit. Back to the time when kids were allowed to be kids. When they didn't have to "perform" in a certain way by a certain age lest they be considered "freaks". Hell... most of us were considered "freaks" but I think we fared pretty well over our lifetimes. Haven't we? The first thing I would say is that this child may just normally be less social and more introverted. Is that REALLY a problem? Do we REALLY need to drug people who just don't get on well with other people?

        The other thing is the expectation people place on their kids these days. And the ridiculous level of activity kids are expected to be involved in. (Baseball, Soccer, Football every F*cking day?!! WTF?!) Kids should be allowed to do things like sit in the backyard baking mud pies or making snowmen. They should be allowed to make "chemistry sets" with water, food coloring and old bottles. They should be free to dig holes in the ground in hopes that they will reach whatever it is they believe to be on the other side. But most of all they should be allowed to dream. Because those dreams will take them farther than any drugs they are getting pumped into them.
      • by adventuregeek (128208) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:17PM (#7981692)
        Both myself and my S.O. have been diagnosted with ADHD and find that the "your just":

        A. Undiciplined
        B. Lazy
        C. Just different
        D. All of the above

        (take your pick) explination really fustrating. You really don't know what it's like until you've been in our headspace.

        Now as for medication. I agree in a perfect world being intellegent and ADHD would be great. We could be the thinkers, excentric scientists and artists. Unfortunately we live in a world that demands that we "stay focused" and have great "organizational skills", so the practical considerations must be taken into account.

        That being said I belive there is an over diagnosis in children (hey kids are a real PITA and can be hard to manage) and an under diagnosis in adults. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 31 since I have found many ways to cope and be successful.

        Oh look something shiny ...
        (couldn't resist that one)

        • by spoco2 (322835) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:42AM (#7982590)
          "That being said I belive there is an over diagnosis in children"

          And this is why, I think, there are so many of the comments you hear... because there are so many 'problem' children who are just labelled as having ADHD to explain disobedience.

          My parents were foster parents for many years while I lived with them, and they were often sent the 'problem' children as they were seen to be excellent in handling them. I remember one girl in particular who came to us labelled as having ADHD and a 'handful' and unable to focus or be handled.

          Within ONE WEEK my parents had her happily ensconsed reading books, playing with toys etc. for ages at a time with no drugs, no fancy methods... just good old parenting, and a firm hand where required. (I don't mean physically a hand as such, I mean sticking to your ground when you say things like "No, you can't have that" or such things... not giving in to demands etc.)

          So very many cases are like this, and it's THOSE cases that cause you the grief... I can't help but have the same feelings about most ADHD diagnosed kids because just so many of them have nothing wrong, it's just a convenient out for parents... which is wrong of me as there are real issues at hand here, but until doctors stop throwing the label about willy nilly, the stigma will remain.
      • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dimensio (311070) <darkstar&iglou,com> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:40AM (#7982574)
        I find myself tuning out people at times. It's like they talk too slow. I've noticed this problem especially with the older generation. They feel they must talk in very precise terms and verbally illustrate their ideas. Problem is, I often get their point long before they've finished babbling. So I find myself drifting in and out of attentiveness with them.

        That isn't ADD/ADHD. That's getting bored with someone who belabours a point. ADD/ADHD is when you CANNOT, despite your best efforts, concentrate on anything for a long period of time. This is really bad in a classroom environment when you need to pay attention to new material (especially in Calculus courses) and you keep drifting out every five minutes regardless of the effort that you put into paying attention.

        I have to deal with ADHD. I know what it's like to suddenly get distracted by the smallest thing, and I know that -- in my case -- Ritalin helps with the concentration problems. I can't stand it when someone who does not have to deal with what I live with comes forth with an "authoratitive" position on ADHD, calling it a myth.
      • Re:Not a disease (Score:3, Insightful)

        by msuzio (3104)
        Whatever it is, I beg you to please not pursue the path of medication on this. It may bring your child into some sort of 'compliance', but it will not help long term! You are doing the right thing seeking out an alternative "cure".

        I have a very close friend who went through this 13 years ago... he was diagnosed as ADD and immediately put on Ritalin. When that didn't work, they switched him to something else, when that didn't work, they switched him to something else... this poor guy's biochemistry was c
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:3, Insightful)

      I've learnt the similar thing in school. Even before I was in kindergarten, I was reading magazines, newspapers and the like. There were, of course, words I wasnt sure of, but I figured them out between my parents and a dictionary.

      Well, when I get to school in kindergarten, I blew everybody away. Most was starting on their ABC's and counting. I was pretty much bored to death. And I was ancy. Having a 'teacher' (I use this word very loosly) who was one of those high-strung IHATECHILDREN types didnt help muc
      • Re:Not a disease (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:58PM (#7981999)
        It is not unreasonable for a teacher to want the kids in their class to shut up and sit down. Just because you know everything doesn't mean that half the class is desparately trying to understand what is being taught. A kid who takes up 80% of a teachers time because in class is one thing, a kid who does that but already knows it all is purely wasting the teachers time, and depriving everyone else of an education.

        I got very self centered about this somewhere along the way. If I was bored in class it wasn't my problem. It was somebody elses. I guess i've come to realise that school _is_ a place of learning, provided you are able to learn at the prescribed rate. I wish i'd had the presence of mind at that age to just say to my teachers: 'I can sit at my desk and cause a distraction while you ramble on about stuff I already know, or I can finish my work, sit down out of the way and read a book quietly. How do you want it?'.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:03PM (#7981108)
      I love the line about Einstein. We can say all kinds of theories about the dude because he's now dead, projecting anything on to him.

      Proper treatment of ADD is *not* just enough pills to "calm them down". Proper treatment of ADD is a variety of coping mechanisms, with stimulants being one of them.

      In fact, having ADD and being prescribed Ritalin, I have accomplished far greater things than I would have were I to not have been medicated. Now that I am on my own, I still have found it to be beneficial, both for work, and for play.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:2, Insightful)

      by use_compress (627082)
      I always call attention to the fact that many of our greatest minds, a perfect example being Albert Einstein, would today have been diagnosed with ADD, prescribed stimulants, and had the insights that they would have otherwise shared with the world snuffed out and replaced with mindless conformity.

      What evidence do you have of this? I can think of Bob Dylan, who clearly had (and probably still has) ADHD, a counter example. During 1965-6, what most would argue to be his best period, he would regularly ta
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Informative)

      by SdnSeraphim (679039) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:10PM (#7981168)
      Although I sympathize with your bad experience, I tend to want to stay away from generalizations. My wife was diagnosed with ADHD about 12 years ago. She took ritalin in college and she went from a c-d student to a b student. Much of this has to do with concentration and focus. She describes her thoughts as a flashing from one subject to another all with equal/high priority, and she is able to focus on one task, one though with the help of ritalin. She does not take it currently, because she is nursing our third daughter, but she wishes she could because of the focus and clarity if gives to her. Our oldest daughter likely has ADHD. She is struggling in school. We remind her that school is not the most important thing in life. I agree that mindless conformity is bad. It reminds me of how some Native American tribes "honored" androgenous people as a special type of person. Where our society has in the past and currently doesn't know what to do with such people. We tried to "make" them one sex or another just so they could conform. I think ritalin can help some people. As with any narcotic substance, caution surely is advised.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Daengbo (523424)
      I am not a doctor, but I understand that many cases are misdiagnosed, and that even many true cases of ADD/ADHD can be effectively treated through limiting of sugar and caffeine while reducing the over-stimulation of the child.
      You prabably already have, as you sound like a concerned father, but I encourage you to look into non-medicinal, dietary and environment based remedies to see if they are an option. Living as a drug addict makes life that much more difficult.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amishdisco (705368) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:11PM (#7981182) Homepage

      I would steer clear of anyone with such a vehement position on this issue, as it is a serious one. To deny someone the benefits of proper medication is to bar them from realizing the full potential of their intellect. Yet be cautious, do your research, and examine other alternatives if undesirable side-effects overwhelm the benefits.

      You may want to look into Strattera, as it lacks the addictive properties of other ADHD drugs. My only noticable side-effect on it has been a focused mind - something I've coveted for a long time.

      • While all points of view should be taken with a grain of salt, medicine is not neccessary the answer. And one poster below this comment points out that Ridilin is close to speed. I think the origional post makes some great points. And while I wouldn't go straight out and follow his advice without looking to it, I would check into it.
    • by MaineCoon (12585) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:12PM (#7981193) Homepage
      I suffered from ADHD as a child as well, and believe I still do suffer from it in some form as an adult, although I have many of the problems under control through conditioning and strong willpower. I disagree very strongly with your statement that it is not a disease.

      I also do not believe those stimulants (none of which I take) are a hindrance. As a child, I was on ritalin, and I was still in the gifted and talented program. In Kindegarten, I had ADHD issues so severely, I was originally suspected to be suffering from a mild form of mental retardation (ADHD didn't cross their minds at the time). As a result of this suspicion, I was given an IQ test. I was discovered to have a high IQ (~145 range at the time in Kindegarten), which ruled out mental retardation, and brought up suspicion of ADHD.

      I couldn't sit still in class, I couldn't focus, I couldn't pay attention, I couldn't learn. What good is intelligence if one can't manage to focus long enough to learn how to read and write? What good is intelligence or brilliance without an educational foundation and the ability to focus and employ one's abilities?

      Ritalin was a godsend for myself and my parents - I could finally focus in class, and my mother wasn't being driven crazy by an overactive 5 year old. I was in the gifted and talented program in elementary school, and began reading material well beyond my grade level.

      Now, that is not to say I believe Ritalin is a wonder drug. I am merely stating my experience with it during my childhood. Misdiagnoses of ADHD IS a problem. Treatment of correct diagnoses is not.

      You can listen to what this person has to say, not treat your daughter, and put her school years at risk of being wasted time. Or you can seek treatment for your daughter.

      - MaineCoon
      • You make a good point, I would also like to point out that medicine doesn't work for everyone. If you don't think the medicine is doing a good job on your daughter, try a different one or a different type of therapy (as the origional topic was looking into).

        I heard earlier this month that some big exec at a pharmacutical company said that as much as 50% of medications don't work for the people they are perscribed to because of their genetics. While I believe that the number above is exaguated, don't forget

      • by FsG (648587) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:05AM (#7982381)
        and my mother wasn't being driven crazy by an overactive 5 year old

        I think this hits at the heart of the problem, and the real reason such drugs are being overused nowadays: 5 year olds are supposed to be overactive. From the time they can walk, all non-human mammals are running around, playing/fighting with one-another, etc; this is extremely important, as those that don't get regular exercise and learn precise muscular control will soon become prey.

        21st-century humans, however, are being put in school at extremely young ages. When they're supposed to be running around, getting exercise, and having fun, they're forced to sit in classroom and stare at a book. Naturally, the teacher can't do her job when the kids won't sit still, so the school will pressure the parents into giving these drugs to their kids.

        Damn right 5-year-olds get distracted, and why shouldn't they?

    • by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvcNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:16PM (#7981223) Homepage
      I was diagnosed with ADD in elementary school and have been on and off drugs at various points in my life. I will say that they most definitely DO make a difference in my life. I take adderall and I have a really rough time going to class without it. I'm less attentive and get far less out of the experience without meds. Upon taking an IQ test my score went up a full 30 points when drugged. That kind of thing has real world effects on my life.

      Is ADD overdiagnosed? It's probable given the lax screening practices I've heard of. I myself spent weeks being diagnosed at great expense and had to submit to a battery of tests. In response to another user in this thread posthumous diagnoses are considered speculative and not conclusive.

      I find it disconcerting that you have formulated your judgement without any real world evidence other than your own personal experience. I have a rough time dealing with people upon admittance of my ADD as a result. It's terrible when people suddenly percieve you as having an imaginary illness. For me life is more 'real' when I'm on Adderall. I can think clearly, have conversations without being distracted and am generally more productive. The only downside to being on Adderall is a bit of drymouth and sleep problems (which don't occur if you take it in the morning as I do). I have no symptoms of addiction, in fact I occasionally forget to take Adderall and usually choose not to on the weekends or for low key events. I can live without Adderall; but my life is just so much more fulfilling being able to use it.

      I implore you and everyone who reads this to take into consideration the seriousness of ADD for certain people, and ask that you not spread invalid, generalizing, anecdotal evidence about what is an important part of my life.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:4, Informative)

      by Slack3r78 (596506) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:19PM (#7981253) Homepage
      As another person who could also be considered a 'poster child for ADHD' let me disagree with you. My personal experience has been that there are times that no matter how hard I try or attempt to work around it, there are times where my brain simply refuses to focus on any single task long enough to accomplish anything - even the things I want to do. I also occassionally fall into another classic symptom - hyperfocusing on a single task to the extreme detriment of others.

      I've been on adderall on and off since middle school, and it has had a definite, positive effect on these symptoms when I take it. That said, I will agree that I'm strongly opposed to what I'd call routine prescription of stimulants. IE: Take one daily, 'just in case.' The thing I feel is often overlooked is these drugs do have definite side effects. For example, while I usually have a good appetite and admittedly eat a bit more than I probably should, if I'm on a 'routine' adderall dosage, I have to force myself to eat - it's not totally unusual for me to go a day or two without eating simply because I forget otherwise.

      The bigger reason why I oppose it, however, are the emotional side effects; which is the primary reason why I don't take it daily as I'm prescribed to. Not only does the medication tend to cause you to focus better, but it also tends to cause emotional swings to become more extreme. While I tend to have slight swings anyway, the medication tends to turn what might be a slightly down mood into full blown depression - especially on the off end of the drug. Having dealt with that for several years and realizing the drastic improvement in my attitude when I took myself off medication for a couple of years, I'd never put a child on medication full time.

      As it stands today, for the most part I avoid medication and try my best to work around the condition on my own, but do keep my prescription filled for times when I feel it would help me. I've found it to be a fairly good compromise, allowing me to work effectively and avoid the side effects on being constantly medicated.

      So I guess what I'm saying is I don't totally disagree with you, but I still feel that ADHD isn't just something that you deal with or drastically change the environment of the kid for. I know that if anything, all years of guidance counsellors giving me things 'that will help' did is piss me off. You just have to give the kid a chance to figure things out for themselves and allow them to decide when and if they need medication, accomodations, etc. I'd force neither medication nor a special environment on a kid, but feel it'd be better to give them the tools to figure it out for themselves.
    • I agree that ADHD is not a disease, but for different reasons. I believe it is a real phenomenon caused by the overwhelming amount of material we are expected to pay attention to and absorb. It's no illusion that society moves at a faster pace than ever before, and I think we've reached the limit of what the human mind can keep up with. The solution isn't drugs or therapy, it's Slack!
    • you expect me to read a post that long?
      i have ADD, you insensitive clod.
    • Skeptics say that there's no biological marker--that it is the one condition out there where there is no blood test, and that no one knows what causes it.

      That's tremendously naive, and it shows a great deal of illiteracy about science and about the mental health professions. A disorder doesn't have to have a blood test to be valid. If that were the case, all mental disorders would be invalid--schizophrenia, manic depression, Tourette's Syndrome--all of these would be thrown out. ... There is no lab test f

    • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Interesting)

      by T5 (308759) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:30PM (#7981347)
      As the father of a son with ADHD, I have to disagree that ADHD is not a disorder and, therefore, should not be treated.

      A little background is in order here. I am absolutely certain that I am/was ADHD myself and that I made it through school because of the nicotine in the second-hand smoke (5 pack a day combined habit of my mother and father) at home. Nicotine, except for its highly addictive tendencies, is an wonderful stimulant. I hit college away from home and the smoke and I felt as if I was completely disoriented and unable to concentrate on anything - this from the high school valedictorian who had never struggled with any learning issues except for pensmanship (a clue that I have/had ADHD, as I was to discover 20 years later).

      My son was struggling to finish even simple assignments. I've watched him struggle for three hours to write five simple sentences! His grades were mediocre, far below what a child of his intelligence would be expected to score. The psychologist evaluated him as having a moderate case of ADHD and recommended Concerta (time-released Ritalin, essentially).

      I was as anti-drug therapy as you could imagine but decided to give it a trial run. Within a month, he was a new kid. His ability to concentrate allowed him to perform his homework with much more dedication and concentration. He had a fair amount of catching up to do, but over the last two years he's moved from a C student to all A's except one B (English, generally the most challenging for him) on his last two report cards (sixth grade).

      I would agree that there have been some very bright people who had ADHD and were never treated, your Einstein example, for instance. However, when ADHD begins to affect your ability to learn at an early age, given the requirements of the society in which we live dictate that some level of competency be achieved with basic intellectual skills, that the option of drug therapy, carefully monitored for progress and side-effects, be considered. I don't say this lightly. I can't emphasize how adamant I was that drugs were undesirable. I'd heard too many stories about Ritalin, its side-effects, and the dependency issues. But when the psychiatrist, a 30+ year veteran who himself has moderate ADHD and by his own admission no more than a 30 minute concentration span (!), presented me with a list of symptoms for adult ADHD, and I had nearly every one of them (!), I began to dig into why I did so well in K-12 school only to be so swamped in college. Well, I was on drug therapy of a sort in those early school years - nicotine. I suspect that this is why many people can't kick the habit; there's more than just an addiction issue here.

      I am sorry to hear of your subsequent methamphetamine dependency. I believe that is not an inevitable consequence, however, and that drug therapy can do wonders. But it is truly a two-edged sword.
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:37PM (#7981413) Homepage
      THANK YOU.

      I believe I posted something about AD(H)D not being a disease in one of the earlier Ask Slashdots. I firmly believe that it is not a disease. The fact is that AD(H)D is simply not the normal way people think or act, and as such has been labeled a disease; which prompts people to look for "cures" to the behaviors.

      Now I wouldn't be at all suprised if neural feedback therapy would work, but I agree with the parent comment that it's not needed. I suggest you look into the parent post and think about whether you think your kid really is a problem, or it's just a "doesn't fit into the current education model".

      First, I'd like to refer you to my pervious [slashdot.org] comment in the origional discussion. That said, I have one other thing. I would like you to read "The War Against Boys [amazon.com]". Buy it ($14 I think), check it out at your library, whatever. Now I realize that your child isn't a boy, but one of the things that the book talks about is how public schools are becoming designed for "girls". By this I mean the classic little girl who always sits quietly and pays attention and such. Kids who do not fit this mold often have problems or are labeled troublemakers or as AD(H)D kids or other such things. I think an alternative schooling environment may be the best thing for your child. A perokial school, a private school, maybe there is even a school that specializes in AD(H)D kids in your area; because as you know they often just learn differently. I think reading this book might help you realize what I suspect is going on: you child doesn't fit the mold and so other people (school administrators/teachers for example) are trying to "help" you make her fit that mold. A quick look at the table of contents shows that I think chapter 7 is for you, but I could be wrong about that.

      PS: If something above is unclear, just reply and I'll be glad to answer you. And if you /.ers out there if you disagree with me or think I'm an idiot, I'd really appriciate it if you'd just reply and tell me. I'll read it.

      PPS: I said this in my last comment and I think I might have gotten modded down for it, but I'll say it again. I would suggest you call Dr. Laura [drlaura.com] and ask her about your situation. She's VERY good at helping you figure out where to go on issues like this. And I can garuntee she only has your child's best interests at heart when she gives you advice. She is a licenced Clinical and Family Therapist (I think that's the term), so she knows what she is talking about.

      • Re:Not a disease (Score:5, Informative)

        by jamesh (87723) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:51AM (#7982332)
        With my daughter, it's not just the schooling. It's everything. There is no planning going on in her brain, and without Ritalin, almost no independant thought.

        The morning routine is a bit like this:
        Daughter wakes up.
        daughter: Can I get dressed now.
        me: yes, of course you can.
        daughter: what can I wear?
        me: there's a dress on the couch there for you, and some knickers in your drawers.
        daughter: (picks up dress) this dress?
        me: yes.
        daughter: is it going to be warm today?
        me: i think so. it should be just right for wearing that dress.
        daughter: so can I wear this dress?
        me: yes (I won't pretend not to be frustrated at this point)
        daughter: where are my knickers?
        me: in your drawers. (if, in fact, they are none in there afterall a major panic attack is had by daughter).

        breakfast also is along the same lines:
        me: (puts daughters bowl of cereal at the dining table, in exactly the same place as it has been put every morning since we moved into this house 2 years ago) , come and eat your breakfast
        daughter: which one is mine? (hers is often only bowl at the table at that point)
        me: (points to bowl) that one.
        daughter: (sits down at table in her normal spot) so is this one mine?
        and so on.

        Up until she was 3 or 4, she would never get out of bed in the morning by herself. If she woke up early she would lie in bed and chat to herself until she heard one of us moving around and could ask us if it was okay to get up now. She had been told repeatedly that it was okay to get up at any time past 7 o'clock but just couldn't think for herself. (and yes, she could tell the time enough to know when 7 o'clock was)

        Diary writing is the whole thing over again. 'What do I write?'.

        With ritalin, it's a whole lot better. She actually thinks for herself rather than being a robot that needs constant instruction.

        The schooling thing was (before ritalin) a problem with things like the diary writing. She would not be able to think about what to do next, and would just start annoying the other kids, or if the teacher was lucky, just hide under the table out of the way.

        We have (at home) learnt to cope with this to some extent, although I can't imagine it's a good way to conduct home life. But no teacher can be expected to devote almost all their time to one child. It's not fair on anyone else.

        On the one hand, i agree with you that it's just a way of thinking that's different to 'normal', but so is autism, and to stretch your line of reasoning way beyond breaking point, so was the way of thinking of anyone whose grabbed a gun and started putting holes in anyone who's ever pissed them off. At some point you have to say 'this is a problem, either for this person or for everyone around them', and i believe that is where we are at with my daughter.
    • by jcrb (187104) <jcrb@ y a h o o . com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:39PM (#7981425) Homepage

      I am of exactly the opposite opinion, ADD/ADHD is a disorder and not treating it (when properly diagnosed) is just cruelty plain and simple.

      I have ADD and went from being last in my class in High School and failing out of college to graduating with Honors and going on to graduate school at the finest university in the country, after being prescribed Ritalin.

      I hold more than a dozen patents and have had research papers published at world class conferences, so as the poster says, I am a very insightful, creative, and interesting folk. And this is only enhanced not suppressed by medication.

      I still suffer the effects of going so late in life before being diagnosed, I can't spell for beans having learned all the wrong spellings when I was young. Its all very nice to talk about not trying to harm her "very special mind", but failing to treat her WILL damage her intellect forever, while treating her will allow her intellect to develop.


    • I have acute ADHD. When I was last tested (in college) I came out with like 17 of 18 characterics or something. I have been off and on various medications over the course of my life, including ritalin and dexadrine.

      The problem with your argument is that it mistakenly assumes that treating the symptoms of a way of thinking and brain activity (loss of attention) inherantly involves the loss of any creativity n the same person. Essentially you draw an conclusive connection between two characteristics with
    • Re:Not a disease (Score:4, Insightful)

      by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:05PM (#7981613) Homepage
      Would you tell someone with diabetes to stop taking insulin because you don't think it is a "disorder"? Of course not. But as soon as someone has a problem with their brain then it must be a lack of will power, or moral degeneracy. Couldn't possibly be an organic problem.

      That said, it is best to combine proper training, coping mechanism, and other therapy with the drugs. And don't stick with the first drug you try. A good Doctor will arrange to try a few different drugs to find the one that is most effective with the fewest side-effects. Also, arrange for a "drug holiday" once a year if it is a "mild " case. Many people are more able to cope without medication as they mature and learn more self-control. But don't feel bad if you (or your child) have to continue with drugs all your life. You wouldn't feel bad if it was insulin.

    • Re:Not a disease (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:34PM (#7981818)
      Analysis of a 'typical' ADHD brain shows one part of the brain going really slow, and another part going fast (sorry, don't know the actual names of them off hand). The theory is that the fast part is going fast to compensate for the slow part, but in doing so causes the 'problems' we associate with ADHD.

      Stimulant medication, so the theory goes, speeds up the slow part, thereby allowing the over compensation to stop and the brain to function 'correctly'.

      You site a few examples where ADHD is a positive thing, but completely ignore the fact that for some people it is an incredible disability. My two year old daughter has more sense than the seven year old when it comes to day to day tasks.

      I respect and value your input as someone who has been treated with stimulant medication. But maybe you didn't have ADHD, but were in fact a smart kid who was just full of energy. It is fairly obvious when someone is taking a too higher does of ritalin. And for someone who doesn't have ADHD, any amount is too much. Seriously, if you don't have ADHD, ritalin will make things worse. One of the things we were told about neural feedback is that we'd have to watch her ritalin dosage, as once her brain patterns move towards 'normal', the amount she's on now would probably be too much.

      Albert Einstein is dead. And i doubt you knew him personally. He may well have been given stimulant medication if he were a child alive today. It may well have numbed his mind (if he didn't have adhd), or it may have turned him from super genius to super-duper genius... maybe he would have finished that grand unified field theory thing he was working on. The fact is though, we'll never know, so bringing it up is just a little pointless.

      I am pretty sure that all the examples you can find of stimulant medication causing problems, are cases where adhd was not the correct diagnosis. I would love to not have my daughter taking Ritalin, but it's the lesser of two evils at the moment and I will argue with anyone who says it doesn't have its place. For some people it's the difference between happiness and being able to interact with people, and the horror of social isolation.
  • Experiment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mieckowski (741243) <mieckowski@@@berkeley...edu> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:51PM (#7980987)
    I've actually tried the sofware, as I have an uncle that's into this stuff. I couldn't seem to "train" my brain waves in the short time I tried it, though. And those sensors pressing on your head HURT after a while :(
  • Doctor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:51PM (#7980990) Journal
    My man, you need to talk to the doctor. Doctor. Several of them, if you want. But you're not going to get much wisdom from a bunch of people who start their posts with "IANAD".

    Seriously, I'm sorry this is happening to you and it sucks, but go talk to someone who knows how to help you. Please.

  • Ritalin is speed, don't give it to kids. I realise why it works for this "disorder" but that's no reason to use it. I'm 32 now but have every reason to believe that I suffered from ADHD when I was a kid, and I think I still do to a certain extent, but I got through it without drugs. Actually, I didn't get through anything, this is just me, I have an overactive mind that means I sometimes jump from one thing to another very quickly.
    • by akedia (665196) * on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:09PM (#7981165)
      Ritalin is a stimulant. "Speed" is used by people to basically mean anything that stimulates the brain chemicals. In the case of someone who has ADHD, they lack a certain brain chemical. Ritalin replaces that brain chemical to normalize the level in the brain and help with ADHD. In the case of a child without ADHD (they have a normal balance of the chemical) the excess amount causes stimulation in the same way that "speed" causes you to become blitzed. Perhaps you had a low-grade or nonexistant ADHD and the Ritalin was excessive, causing you to be wired when medicated as a kid. I don't know the name of this chemical, and I'm too lazy to Google for it (damn ADD.) Ooh look, a butterfly!

      By the way, this is from someone who took Ritalin and Depakote for 10 years, and now takes Lithium and Effexor.
      • by sigwinch (115375) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:07AM (#7982777) Homepage
        In the case of someone who has ADHD, they lack a certain brain chemical. Ritalin replaces that brain chemical to normalize the level in the brain and help with ADHD.
        I'll believe that shite when I see a comprehensive proof, including gene sequences, protein morphologies and chemistries,and a comprehensive simulation of the brain in question. Given that placebo tends to have an efficacy rate around 30% for mind-altering drugs, anybody making statements about chemical imbalances is talking out their ass. The drug clomipramine causes some people to have orgasms when they yawn [tiscali.fr]. What, those people were low on the come-when-you-yawn neurotransmitter?

        Truth be told, nobody has much of an idea WTF happens to make the brain do anything, nonetheless what causes it to do odd things. "Research" involves randomly cooking up new chemicals in the lab and seeing what they do to living brains.

  • My experience... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Peyna (14792) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:56PM (#7981036) Homepage
    My parents adopted a young boy who was diagnosed with ADHD and was taking Ritalin (which then caused severe Tourette's like symptoms, so they diagnosed him with Tourette's and gave him drugs for that.)

    As soon as the adoption was final, my parents had him taken off of all of the drugs, and while he still has behavioral problems, the Tourette's has all but gone away, and he is generally happier than he was before.

    Billions of people survived just fine with Ritalin, and I personally see no use for it in any situation.
    • Re:My experience... (Score:3, Informative)

      by foqn1bo (519064)

      Actually, speaking as someone with Tourette's Syndrome, that's a misconception. As it happens, TS and ADD have a high rate of comorbidity. As far as I am aware this is due to the genetic factors that contribute to them. Many people have noticed TS symptoms in kids given Ritalin, and concluded that this means Ritalin causes those symptoms.

      See here. [tourettesyndrome.net]


  • results (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mieckowski (741243)
    My uncle who uses this treatment has a bicycle "race" where you go faster if you generate a certain type of brain waves. He brought it to a family party and my relatives checked it out. The people who seemed to be best at it (who actually didn't have ADD) were ones who could meditate, did yoga, or otherwise had some experience trying to relax.
  • by tgordon (703174)
    I'm ADHD and took Ritalin as a child to treat it. Bad idea, because it activated apparently dormant Tourettes Syndrome. Like the poster said, the tics were mild, all physical (rolling my eyes compulsively still continues today at age 19). After the Tourettes diagnosis treatment became a bitch since most ADHD meds aggravate it.
  • Had this done (Score:5, Informative)

    by nemesisj (305482) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:57PM (#7981053) Homepage
    I am borderline ADHD, and I only found out several years ago afte I began having trouble with class and general management of time while in college.

    My mom had a friend who had recently gotten certified in using this type of therapy on her daughter (who was severely ADHD), and they arranged for me to show up at their house knowing that because I was a computer science major and a geek, that I would be extremely interested in the whole setup. I walk in, express interest, and they offer to hook me up, and while they're explaining what's going on, they run a quick diagnostic which shows I could use some work on the machine (and that my brain waves are "sloppy").

    To make a long story short, I went through three months of training using the machine, the whole time believing it was a placebo, but my entire family noticed the difference. I also began noticing that I was sleeping better and could work for periods of time longer than 30 minutes without feeling like i HAD to take a break.

    To sum up, this is a very groundbreaking type of therapy that does work, and I encourage anyone on /. to research it.
    • Re:Had this done (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dameron (307970)
      class and general management of time while in college.

      Please realize the structure of modern educational systems is based on regimenting people to a time clock, to produce work for evaluation, and for punctuality. It's really not designed to educate, for even those that "fail" have at least learned the "rules of school": show up, don't be late and when the bell rings, work is over. Perfect for modern factory work. Guess when the modern school developed. If you said "hand in hand with factory work" y
      • Re:Had this done (Score:3, Informative)

        by nemesisj (305482)
        I didn't and still don't feel like I have an illness. The issue is more about approaching the situation and examining the scientific facts - my brain waves were not behaving in the "sweet spot" that researchers have observed is ideal for thought processing.

        The effects of bio-response neurotherapy are very sublte, but they do show change - I still hate doing things that are pointless for any length of time, but before I had the training done, I didn't have the ability to concentrate on things that I really
  • Stop Ritalin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (eternal_software) (233207) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:58PM (#7981059)
    I don't know about the Neural Feedback Training, but I'd suggest finding an alternative to Ritalin ASAP.

    There are many studies out there about the inefficient conversion of ALA To EPA and DHA [ajcn.org] in people with ADHD, leading me to believe that pumping your kid full of stimulants is a (very) wrong answer.

    Try Mercola.com [mercola.com], which has some very informative articles on ADHD [google.com]. As a start, make sure your kid isn't having a lot of sugar and caffeine (ie drinking fruit juices and soda).

  • I would recommend Abuse it - Lose it [keirsey.com]. There are some additional articles Dr. David Keirsey [keirsey.com] has written about this problem as well.

    IMarv
  • Sources for research (Score:4, Informative)

    by BernManUNC (455335) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:02PM (#7981092)
    I am a psychology undergrad, and though I have no serious experience with the study or treatment of ADHD, I can recommend some starting points for gaining the facts on this condition. Where I in your position, I would head to the nearest university, put some cash on a copy card, and start using their online article databases. In particular, MedLine and PsycInfo have the most expansive databases on psychology research. Start simple - run some basic searches using keywords like ADHD and Neural Feedback Training. When you find an article or two that nail the topic you're exploring, move from those databses to the ISI (Web of Science) database. The most powerful feature of this database is its reverse-searching feature, where you can enter in an article, and retrieve a list of articles that have been published citing the one you have. This is a literature search (the first major task in designing a study). Moving back and forth between these databases, narrowing your keywords, following citations, and even searching for authors publishing pertinent studies, is going to return a massive quantity of data.

    Unfortunately, links to these databases are going to be useless, because you need a subscription to search them. This is why you need to run your searches from a university library. Once you've got some promising references, start pulling articles, and educating yourself.

    I hope this helps. I'm a firm believer in the power of psychology and medicine to improve the human condition. Your daughter doesn't have a disease, but she does have the physiological deck stacked against her. Being a fan of psychology over psychiatry, I'm happy to hear that you're persuing a non-drug-based treatment in addition to her medication regimine. I hope that this is where you'll find true long-term improvement.

    Best of luck to you, your family, and your daughter.
    • Excellent advice here, I hope you do have access to a University Library and are able to use the fine databases mentioned above -- I might CINAHL to the list.

      Too often folks seem to think that authoritative information can be found via google. It happens at times, but the open internet is not a reliable source for research. Libraries pay big money for access to these resources because of their quality -- and that's what you need. Not a bunch of opinions and anecdotes, but quantitative and qualitative in
  • Video Games Help (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lukior (727393)
    There are actually several studies that link playing video games to improvements for ADHD. http://www.cet.edu/gstw/adha.html (center for educational technologies)
  • How about. (Score:2, Troll)

    by DAldredge (2353) *
    How about you spend time with her? I don't mean after school, I am talking about during the day. Teach her yourself if you have to. But, you won't, you are looking for a quick fix and damn what it does to your daughter. You appear to be more concerned with her IQ then you do her health. You describe what is happening to her as 'various vocal tics' but it could be more than that.

    Feeding a 6 year old drugs that we are unsure how they work is not a good thing. Most of the great thinkers of the past 1000 y
    • This is from one of JamesH's previous /. postings.

      It provides some supporting evidence that they have higher priorities in their life than their child.
      Mhttp://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=91154&cid=785 5602

      " Me to wife: How the heck could you spend $400 on clothes?

      Wife to me: Don't worry, I got about $1000 worth."

      Take care of her! Do not use her for fucking medical experiments.
      • The clothes thing was a joke. Laugh.

        And even if it wasn't, $400 is not a lot to spend on clothing for 2 adults and 3 kids. One of which has feet which don't fit comfortably in any but reasonably expensive shoes. (take note - take care of your kids feet when they're young. $100 is nothing to spend on shoes if it saves a heap of problems later!!!)

        None of which adds up to me not taking care of my kids. I don't see how you can gather enough evidence one way or another from anything i've ever posted to slashdo
  • by MasterOfTheObvious (741654) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:05PM (#7981121)
    First, find out which sub-type she has. There are many different subtypes that each have different treatments. Take the on-line tests at: http://www.amenclinic.com Second, check out the pioneer in non-drug therapies: http://www.drakeinstitute.com If you do have to resort to drugs, try Strattera, which is a new, non-addictive, non-stimulant treatment that looks very promising: http://www.strattera.com/index.jsp
  • by odeee (741339)
    Take a look at learning connections [learningco...ons.com.au] (people, don't click it unless you're interested as they will most certainly be /.'d), they provide physical exercise programs for children and adults with learning difficulties. By providing physical stimulus they're able to activate parts of the brain that don't appear to be working properly. They've been operating (in Australia) for 28 years and have had a great deal of success through a simple program.

    As the computer programs provide a similar type of activity (teach

  • by Xarius (691264) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:06PM (#7981137) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our new Attention Def--OH LOOK A SHINY THING!!!
  • by Xeger (20906) <<slashdot> <at> <tracker.xeger.net>> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:12PM (#7981192) Homepage
    Let me begin by pointing out that there is a correlation between ADD/ADHD and Tourette's. In other words, having one increases your chances of having the other.

    I was diagnosed with mild Tourette's Syndrome when I was in sixth grade. It manifested itself similarly to your daughter's symptoms -- minor vocal and muscular tics. It wasn't a significant bother, but it impaired me enough that I sought medication for it. I began taking Clonidine transdermally (through a skin patch) to help ease my Tourette's symptoms.

    A year after starting the Tourette's medication, I was diagnosed with ADD. This was ~1990, before ADD was a "trendy" disease. At the time, none of my family had ever heard of it before. So I began a regimen of Dexedrine, to help with the ADD.

    I stayed on both medications for a further year, until I developed an allergy to the skin patch. At that time, my doctor recommended I try neural feedback therapy to help control the Tourette's. I went in for an hour of therapy every two weeks for a year. Over the course of the year I became better able to control my tics, but only with great concentration. If I became flustered or anxious or nervous or just plain stopped paying attention, I would lose control and the tics would come back. But, at the end of the year, I decided I was able to control the Tourette's well enough to stop therapy and medication.

    I continued with Dexedrine throughout my junior-high and high school years, and gradually stopped taking it when I got to college. I firmly believe that the Dexedrine was a great help in high school; even though it exacerbated my Tourette's symptoms, it allowed me to finish high school having learned what I needed in order to get into college. Could I have used some other means to achieve the same ends? Probably. But the medication worked.

    Today I'm a slightly disorganized, nervous and fidgety young man living a normal life and working a full-time job in software development. My duties expand every day and I find myself diverting more and more of my attention toward organization and self-management. But I can manage.

    Will neural feedback therapy help your daughter? I'd say, give it a try. It could be that the techniques I learned to help control my Tourette's also gave me an edge in studying ... we'll never get a chance to perform that experiment, since now I'm all grown up. But I know from firsthand experience that it's possible to reign one's body in using only the power of one's concentration. So give it a shot. If it doesn't work, there's always the drugs.

    P.S. I would recommend looking at alternatives to Ritalin. Dexedrine and Desoxyn , AFAIK, achieve the same thing but with fewer side effects (less of a methamphetamine-like effect on the human body).
    • I'd like to reinforce the point that ADD medications exacerbate Tourette's symptoms!!! It could be that your daughter naturally has some slight inclination toward Tourette's, which was exaggerated when she began taking medications. There is every chance that going off the meds, or switching meds, will make her tics easier to control. Neural feedback therapy could therefore help in both areas, by getting her off the drugs.
  • by x00101010x (631764) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:14PM (#7981206) Homepage
    I worked with these guys a while back. Their techniques work for a number of applications including ADHD, seizures and addiction to name a few.
    As a previous poster mentioned, this kind of stuff works by "training" your brain. It does this through biofeedback.
    Biofeedback works by presenting data of interest from some sort of sensor array (EKG, or in this case an EEG) in a way your brain interprets on various levels (ex: colors, shapes, etc).
    These guys usually do it (afaik) in the context of some sort of non-interactive game (well, it is interactive in that it's driven by your brain, not by a joystick/keyboard/mouse, etc).

    Anyways, I don't want to say too much because I'm sure most of it was under some sort of NDA, but here's their sites: This stuff is pretty amazing, you can actually feel it working, as potent (or more) than any medication I've ever popped. But it should only be done by a trained therapist (I tried it on myself a few times because I was sick of playing back the same old recordings and it gave me a bit of a headache, but under the control of a trained tech it doesn't cause much (any afaik) discomfort. Also, unlike another poster mentioned, I was never irritated by the connections, maybe they've improved over time).

    It's pretty cool stuff and I hope I have an opportunity to contribute more in the near future.

    Disclaimer: I'm just a code monkey that developed some "front-end" stuff (the game side shown to the patient, not the nuts & bolts on the therapist's side). So, take my info in context of just a guy who coded from a spec and attended one of their conferences.
  • by nullset (39850) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:15PM (#7981211)
    Be sure to check out Dr Hallowell [drhallowell.com]. He is the coauthor of "Driven to Distraction" as well as their recent followup "Answers to Distraction".

    I would recommend emailing him if there's nothing on this site about this particular therapy.
  • by DocJohn (81319) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:15PM (#7981215) Homepage
    I spent three years in my graduate school days (which was now a decade ago... yikes!) administering the hardware/software for the Autogenics system in our community mental health center at Nova Southeastern University under Doil Montgomery, Ph.D. Neural feedback is also referred to as EEG biofeedback. Not only is there some good research in this area, but it's a nice, non-invasive and non-drug way to treat this disorder (which should be especially interesting to teens and children, where medications are less tested and proven).

    Some basic positive empricial results supporting the use of EEG biofeedback in the treatment of ADHD from MEDLINE:

    Neurofeedback treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children: a comparison with methylphenidate. in Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2003 Mar;28(1):1-12.

    Fuchs T, Birbaumer N, Lutzenberger W, Gruzelier JH, Kaiser J.

    Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, Eberhard-Karls-University, Gartenstr. 29, 72074 Tubingen, Germany.

    Clinical trials have suggested that neurofeedback may be efficient in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We compared the effects of a 3-month electroencephalographic feedback program providing reinforcement contingent on the production of cortical sensorimotor rhythm (12-15 Hz) and betal activity (15-18 Hz) with stimulant medication. Participants were N = 34 children aged 8-12 years, 22 of which were assigned to the neurofeedback group and 12 to the methylphenidate group according to their parents' preference. Both neurofeedback and methylphenidate were associated with improvements on all subscales of the Test of Variables of Attention, and on the speed and accuracy measures of the d2 Attention Endurance Test. Furthermore, behaviors related to the disorder were rated as significantly reduced in both groups by both teachers and parents on the IOWA-Conners Behavior Rating Scale. These findings suggest that neurofeedback was efficient in improving some of the behavioral concomitants of ADHD in children whose parents favored a nonpharmacological treatment.

    The effects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. in Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2002 Dec;27(4):231-49.

    Monastra VJ, Monastra DM, George S.

    FPI Attention Disorders Clinic, 2102 E. Main Street, Endicott, New York 13760, USA. poppidoc@aol.com

    One hundred children, ages 6-19, who were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), either inattentive or combined types, participated in a study examining the effects of Ritalin, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of ADHD. All of the patients participated in a 1-year, multimodal, outpatient program that included Ritalin, parent counseling, and academic support at school (either a 504 Plan or an IEP). Fifty-one of the participants also received EEG biofeedback therapy. Posttreatment assessments were conducted both with and without stimulant therapy. Significant improvement was noted on the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA; L. M. Greenberg, 1996) and the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale (ADDES; S. B. McCarney, 1995) when participants were tested while using Ritalin. However, only those who had received EEG biofeedback sustained these gains when tested without Ritalin. The results of a Quantitative Electroencephalographic Scanning Process (QEEG-Scan; V. J. Monastra et al., 1999) revealed significant reduction in cortical slowing only in patients who had received EEG biofeedback. Behavioral measures indicated that parenting style exerted a significant moderating effect on the expression of behavioral symptoms at home but not at school.

    Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with neurotherapy. in Clin Electroencephalogr. 2000 Jan;31(1):30-7.

    Nash JK.

    Behavioral Medicine Associates,
  • by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:17PM (#7981232) Homepage
    When you concentrate on something it becomes prettier. Where is this true? It's true when you're in an external space that's beautiful, for one. For instance, in a club with good live jazz, where you can fall into being more aware of the space the sounds are in than you'd normally be aware of any space - and yet meet yourself in that space, finding yourself also able to concentrate clearly on other stuff you normally leave far in the background.

    Okay, so the therapeutic technique you describe is to simulate an aspect of reality that's pretty much there when you're in good external spaces.

    It's also much like a standard form of meditation: concentrating on a candle flame. Or concentrating on an image of a diety. The object of concentration, like great live music, becomes richer in your experience at the same time as you're able to better resolve other aspects of life. (Thus has power often in the past been ascribed to statuary.)

    Schools don't want concentration, don't want trained attention of this sort. They're mostly ugly spaces, something even less interesting than a factory aesthetic (where at least there's real production being done). That's why 2/3rds of our kids leave them for the factory jobs that no longer are there, instead of sloughing on through a few more years to pass through college - despite that colleges are more often decent aesthetic spaces.

    William James wrote cogently of the need to teach concentration as fundamental to education. The problem for our current schools is that kids who can concentrate will mostly want out of them. Because when you can concentrate at will, your will is often not going to be towards the less rewarding concentration on a teacher who typically was among the stupidest cohort at college.

    I'd suggest seeing if there's a descendent of the old "free school" movement in your area for your daughter. She's probably too smart for her teachers. But she should learn concentration, whether through immersion in art, practice of traditional concentrative meditative techniques, or the techno repackaging of those techniques that you describe.
  • Various talk show hosts minimize and make fun of ADHD. They claim it isn't a disorder and that people can just "get over it". What you have to keep in mind is that in order for attention problems to be a disorder, they have to result in severe occupational or interpersonal impairment. For example, failing out of school. The critics do have a good point about pharmaceutical companies wanting people to take drugs. The advent of neuroimaging has revolutionized the field of Psychiatry. For the first time
    • Yes, I'm interested in seeing some references. Post them here.
      • I pasted a few abstracts below. The first is a neuroimaging study that shows anatomical differences between ADHD and normal patients. The second describes a genetic mechanism form ADHD. The third is another neuroimaging study. It shows that different areas of ADHD patients brains light up compared to normal patients when asked to perform a task that requires attention. You could do a lit search on Pub Med to find more:

        Am J Psychiatry. 1994 Dec;151(12):1791-6.
        Quantitative morphology of the caudate nucl
  • What I've believed for some time now is that we do not fully understand what is happening. Much in the same way that cartoon like mind-maps were drawn decades ago, we use drugs to try to diagnose and treat.

    I think that there is a place for medication, however, I also think that there isn't a place for medication. The trick really becomes figuring out what the person needs. Often, Doctors will prescribe drugs to quickly test theories and then only modify the dosage.

    I believe that in these situations,
  • by Progman3K (515744) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:21PM (#7981277)
    I read some time ago that a study had been done where they took a group of hyperactive children, and put them on a very strict diet of natural foods (the four basic food-groups WITHOUT preservatives or dyes or any other additives) and the kids hyperactivity cleared right up.

    Think about it; we ingest A LOT of chemicals in our diet these days, much more than a few generations ago, when this problem was non-existent.

    I'm not saying that this is THE cure, but don't you think ou should at least check it out before subjecting her young, developing mind to even MORE drugs?

    And this means NO cheating, ie. "snacks" or "treats" have to be out of the question.

    Good luck, may your daughter find peace.
  • Some Reference Links (Score:2, Informative)

    by isdale (40622)
    An article from AboutOurKids.org [aboutourkids.org]

    EEG Spectrum [eegspectrum.com] is a group of practitioners and researchers. They have a page [eegspectrum.com]on the application of the technology for ADHD type treatments. Also a variety of other articles and links on the tech there.
    The EEG Spectrum uses hardware and software from NeuroCybernetics [neurocybernetics.com] which includes some games you play by brain wave control. I tried some of these out a few years ago while looking into EEG tech for Virtual Reality applications.

    BioFeedback Home Therapy [adhd-biofeedback.com] is the home page fo

  • ADHD and the marjority of depression is related to the brain's supply of seratonin. Seratonin is a carrier which moves electrical charges across the synapses. The vast majority of the time, these are used once then thrown away, essentially. However, ADHD and depression are very directly related to the body's manufacture of seratonin. If the body doesn't make enough, signals don't get transferred. There are a number of good drugs, other than Ritalin, which can help. They typically inhibit the brain's destruc
  • School bores intelligent students, because the school system is designed to keep Americans uneducated and complacent. You drug them, and they find their school work interesting enough to complete it and get an A. Just like if you're drunk, stupid bar sluts are more interesting to talk to, so that you talk to them and get laid.

    It's no different. Modern society places certain requirements on people. Intelligence can be a detriment. You can tune down the intelligence and its side effects with different drugs
  • My sons experience (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RubberDuckie (53329)
    My wife and I had my son try bio-feedback when he was about 16. I'll have to say that I did not notice much difference. This is probably because he did not really take it seriously. He later admitted that he thought the whole thing was a 'crock', and just goofed off during the sessions.

    So, as with any psychololgical treatment, the person first needs to admit they have a problem, and want to do some work to 'fix' that problem. If this is not the case, don't even bother.

    The treatments were very expensi
  • by RabidMonkey (30447) <canadaboy@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:32PM (#7981367) Homepage
    Let me start off by saying thank you to the poster for not settling for a drug treatment. I am a very very outspoken anti-drugs for ADD person. As a child (starting at 4) I was diagnosed as ADHD (1982, so not in the middle of the 'every kid has ADD' phase). I would only sleep for a couple hours a night and the rest of the time I'd just rummage around my room, tearing off wallpaper, throwing things around or generally harassing my parents.

    They put me on ritalin when I was about 6 after giving up on training me, and found it didn't work - it actually made me more hyper.

    Thats when they moved me to Dexadrine. For the americans out there, it's the same drug some people use to lose weight. It immediately worked, helping me focus and not be so wired.

    The downside was, I was moody and depressed. I was anti-social and angry a lot. but I was 8 and people didn't care really. They wrote it off as depression because my parents broke up. But when they took me off the pills for the summer, life was grand again. I was energetic to a fault and had lots of friends. Come school time, back on the drugs and back to quiet, boring, socially acceptable me.

    Fast forward to highschool and I'm still on the stupid things. September was great, I'd start taking the pills and wouldn't eat for a weak (about the only upside to em, great weight loss). But around that age you start to become more self aware and I realized that I hated myself because I wasn't really me. I took these stupid pills every morning and I became who my parents and teachers wanted me to be, but I wasn't really me. I didn't laugh as much, I didn't talk as much, but I got good grades.

    Around grade 11 I said 'fuck this' and started to not take the pills. Then my parents started threatening me and grounding me if I didn't take them. So I'd pop them in my mouth then spit them out. Then they started to check my mouth to make sure I swallowed them. So I found a new trick - you could pull apart the gel caps and all the little balls of medicine inside would fall out. So I'd quickly dump them on the floor or sink then take the pill. That worked well and I started to feel more like myself.

    Except then my grades started slipping.

    So thats when I turned to the psycho babble they'd been teaching me at my semi montly sessions. They called it 'coping strategies' and taught me how to recognize when I wasn't behaving well or focusing like I should. Instead of just throwing pills at the problem, they put me in control of my life and said 'these are the tools to make things better for you, but you need to do them'. They made me responsible for my behaviour and grades.

    So I started with them. At this point I can't identify what I do, but my friends will notice when I *click* in and out of focus now. Apparently I'm much better and I can recognize when I'm having ADD moments. Sometimes I have ADD days. I've learned to work with instead of against the ADD. I now run dual monitors on my PC so I can do more than one thing easily. my desk has lots of distractions on it, but they're all little. I can jump from work to a distraction for 30 seconds to give my brain a break then back to work. I can focus much better now that I've learned these skills, and I dno't need pills to make me work well.

    So, the moral of this story is that pills aren't necessary. They inhibit your mental and social and emotional growth by turning you into a little robot. I found that I could actually feel myself in a little tunnel when I took them and things seemed duller. Teaching coping skills is, I think, the key. Teaching your child how to recognize when they're not paying attention is the first step, then teaching them how to focus when needed, and let their mind go when not needed. If this Neural Feedback Training does that (and it sounds like it does), then go for it! Don't spare any expense ... just think of it as being amortized over the life of your child ... just pennies a day!
  • by Queer Boy (451309) <`dragon.76' `at' `mac.com'> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:35PM (#7981388)
    in a dialog from the motion picture "Superstar" starring Miss Molly Shannon as a girl chasing her dreams of a Hollywood kiss.

    "Mrs. Gallagher, I called you here today to discuss your granddaughter's problem. Now, upon reflection, I think a combination of prayer and Ritalin could eliminate her excess energy."

    "How dare you! My Mary has no problem. My granddaughter is a star! Look at that face, she looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor. You may call her hyperactive but if the Good Lord gave her excess energy then, by God, no one's taking it from her! If you don't appreciate that, maybe the problem is not my granddaughter, maybe the problem is this school."

  • I'm getting really tired of all these stupid shit pyschiatrists diagnosing anyone who is energetic and different w/ ADHD, or ADD, or whatever their latest buzzword of the decade is.
    Think about it. Almost all of the brightest minds of the history of the human race have been not "normal" in one way or another. Manic depressive, hyperactive, unable to sleep, etc. A lot of them didn't do well in school. Hell, Einstein quit school [aip.org].

    So rather than spending the money to assure that your child has a health
  • by Erratio (570164) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:40PM (#7981435)
    There are several posts in this conversation saying that jamesh should just ask a doctor. Obviously their advice should be heeded (and the more diverse qualified opinions the better). Keep in mind that most doctors will not recommend the type of treatment that he's asking about, at the very least since it's their ass on the line. Also ADD is an interesting thing to ask a doctor about since their opinions are probably as diverse as the people in this discussion. I would recommend findind a doctor that's slow to prescribe.

    I think he knew what he was asking for in this forum.
  • I have been looking into similar treatments for myself, since I really REALLY hate the way the stimulant meds make me feel. They do help me get some clarity, but I'm miserable the whole time. I was recently looking for alternative treatments and stumbled upon neural feedback. I was very interested in this thread, hoping that somebody else might have had experience with the treatment. Instead, it's the same old "IANAD, but Ritalin sux0rz" stuff.

    Oh well...

    As an aside, I got a great christmas gift this y
  • by MarineAir (741655) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:48PM (#7981504)

    Hello,

    First, let me start off by saying that I have in fact taken this "feedback" therapy, or, more accurately known as EEG/EMG biofeedback therapy.

    A little background information on ADHD... trust me, I've done my homework on this as I have the condition. The strongest medical explaination of ADHD (which encompasses the former ADD... more later) is a rapid decline of oxygen metabolism in the prefrontal lobe during periods of thought requiring concentration. This kind of conditition can lead to two forms of ADHD: inattentive and overactive... I happen to fall into the former category. Basically, EEG waves can be measured through the skull/scalp in the picovolt range by use of an amplifier connected to a small probe stuck to the scalp by use of electrolytic gel similar in consistancy to vaseline. When EEG signals are filtered, they can be separated into waves in the .1 second duration and .5 second duration. ADHD individuals show a marked amount of "slow" wave amplitude over "fast" wave amplitude.

    Someone mentioned earlier in the post that he was unable to alter his brain function in a short period of time; a just statement. I attended therapy for nearly 3 weeks after diagnosis before seeing any kind of large changes in brain activity while concentrating. The excercises used started off with concentrating on an object in a video monitor to mentally "push" it along... and later was changed to academic study of exceedingly boring material. As my scores improved, so did the quality and depth of the notes I wrote during a timed interval of study.

    Now, coming down to it. ADHD is usually a male-dominant trait, passed from father to son... explaining the vastly larger amount of males with the condition.

    I specifically did NOT choose drug therapy as it would have prevented me from service in the Marine Corps. Simply put, I'm a rock in a traditional education environment, but continue to score in the 130 range with reputable IQ tests. My doctor in fact was the person who encouraged me to satisfy my "thrill seeker" personality (which is somewhat common in ADHD individuals). Since my diagnosis, I continue to be a United States Marine, having endured training such as aircrew school and SERE, and now get to fly around in KC-130 tactical aerial refueling aircraft as a Crewchief/Flight Mechanic. I have also attained my private pilot's license, parachute jump license, and have started racing a stock RX-7 in autocross. Major "Pappy" Boyington of the Black Sheep squadron was also of the ADHD personality. What can I say? It feels good to go fast.

    It is my firm belief that your daughter does NOT need stimulant therapy, and would benefit from the somewhat unconventional EEG biofeedback therapy. If you contact me privately at my email address, I will be happy to converse with you over the phone about my doctor and how to contact him for more information.

    Hope this clears up any doubts you had about this somewhat unconventional therapy method

    Cheers
  • Different theories (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SdnSeraphim (679039) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:22PM (#7981736)
    It is facinating reading all of the different theories revolving around the two camps. ADD/ADHD IS real and ADD/ADHD IS NOT real. The is not real have "helpful" ideas such as: Turn off the TV. Kids will be kids, let them be. It causes Tourettes, addiction, panic attacks, dumb children, more idiots, drug society. The hardest falsehood to overcome is the one that is only partially or potential true. For example, Tourettes syndrome can be aggrevated by Ritalin. However there are children taking it to alleviate the symptoms of the syndrome. The other concerns are all possible, but not ALWAYS a problem. Many people who say it does not exist do not have it themselves, and do not know someone suffering from the affliction. I was totally anti-drug, anti-ritalin before I met my wife. She was diagnosed while before we were married. I was against her taking Ritalin (she was still in college). She, fortunately, disagreed. Her school performance inproved dramatically as did some associated conditions such as depression and anxiety (depression because she was failing and anxiety because she could not change it no matter what she did or how she studied). She is not addicted, in fact hasn't taken it for quite a number of years. She developed some coping skills that were as important as the ritalin. As with most medicine, it works for some people, dramatically. For some it works without major side-effects. For others who have this affliction, let us hope there is an alternative. For those that don't have this affliction, let's hope they or there parents have a clue and not medicate something that is normal. However, to say it doesn't exist is mere elitism from those that are not afflicted. Something along the lines of a white person living in a majority white country saying there is no racism simply because they don't experience it.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:41PM (#7981861)
    The last four months of my life have been, literally, a living hell. Panic attacks to the point of screaming and shaking in fear, tranquilizers by the tubfull. Welcome to the world of [what was diagnosed as] Generalized Anxiety Disorder and it's fun big brother, Acute Panic Disorder.

    The reason I mention them is because they have many of the same physical symptoms as ADHD: Trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, inability to focus, irritability/easy to upset, etc.

    It was only when that connection was made, in the last week or so, that I appear to be finding my way out of it...

    You see, I had what most people would call ADHD when I was a kid. Pretty much every symptom, which are pretty much the same symptoms as anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults, I had.

    Then, it being the 70s in England and Ritalin not being as popular, my mother looked around for other remedies and found the reports on Yellow 5 allergies. She took me off Yellow 5 (tartrazine) and I started to chill out. The scientists may be divided on whether it's a factor but the emprical evidence suggests it was for me at least.

    It's only been in the last week or so that we put two and two together. I was ordered off caffeine the moment I got ill. I swapped to Minute Maid lemonade from diet Coke. The stuff is full of Yellow 5 - the problems snowballed.

    Since Sunday I've been off anything with Yellow 5 (or Blue 1). What do you know? The physical symptoms are getting better by the day.

    The point of all of this is that Yellow 5 and ADHD may or may not be related, who cares. What does seem to be the case though is that a Yellow 5 allergy can manifest with the same symptoms as ADHD or Anxiety Disorder.

    All the tranquilizers in the world, SSRIs, you name it, weren't going to help when I had the equivalent of someone slipping me speed or an acid tab in every can of soda. Ditching the soda (and other things that have Yellow 5) has already had a profound affect in, what, 72 hours?

    My advice would be - try cutting out Yellow 5. It might not make a difference but it will only take two weeks to find out so it doesn't really cost you anything much and you can try it in conjunction with her other treatments. But can you really afford not to try it? Imagine if the ADHD was a misdiagnosis and you'd put her through all the Ritalin and everything else when just changing out the lemonade and Sunny Delight she drinks could cure it?

    Yeah, it's an unproven theory at the moment (then again, people once argued smoking wasn't bad for you too). But it risks nothing to try it and there's one person who'll serve as empirical evidence right here.
  • My thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macdaddy (38372) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:58PM (#7981995) Homepage Journal
    1) try more than one chemical treatment option. Try Ritalin. If you don't see any positive results after a few months of treatment, ask your doctor to try something else. Treat ADHD as seriously as you would treat cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. ie, seek out the professional help of more than one doctor, even a specialist. Ask to speak with some of their current or past patients (or their families) for their thoughts on the good doctor. You're shopping for a doctor, the effectiveness of their treatment(s), and their willingness to try other treatments. Don't just try one form of chemical treatment or one doctor and call it quits. Keep your options open.

    2) Evaluate your daughter's teachers. I have a background in education thanks primarily to my mother being a Title I reading teacher. She brings her work home with her and the whole family is greatly involved in it much of the time. I've also worked for 3 educational institutions, mainly as an IT guy but also as a aide. I can think of numerous teachers that have neither the training nor the patience to work with a ADHD child. Simply put, if my child was diagnosed with ADHD and happened to be in one of their classrooms, I'd have them moved to another teachers room. Failing that I'd pull them from my local school district and drive them to a school district that has staff capable of effectively teaching an ADHD child. You should determine if your daughter's teachers can cope with her disorder. Would the school put her into special ed (very bad idea)? Does the school have any past experience with ADHD children? Is your daughter's class size small enough to get an adequate amount of attention from the teacher or her aides? Does the school have any special programs for students of such disorders than can offer the individualized attention she needs without the negative treatment of being placed in special ed?

    You have a long road ahead of you. The good news is you are not alone. The Internet is filled with information about ADHD, the possible treatments, support groups, and much more. Consider looking into the services of institutions that specialize in child care such as Shriners. You may not need their financial assistence but you're sure to benefit from their knowledge. Best of luck to you and your family.

  • my sister uses it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nihilanth (470467) <`moc.loa' `ta' `2evawsoahc'> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:49AM (#7982949)
    i think i may have posted on here before about this, but i'll mention it again anyway.

    My little sister does neuro-feedback/bio-feedback therapy, and its improved her life a lot more than flooding her brain with amphetamines like they do to most of the poor little bastards that float through the US "education" system. Keep in mind that ADHD is a pretty subjective thing to diagnose someone with, and people are quick to medicate for it, although very few of the people diagnosed with it really need to be taking meth every day to keep it under control. Psychotropic drugs are not really designed to help anyone, just make their behaviors easier to manage for those of us in the human services field.

    Anyway (sorry about that soapboxing) my little sister is supposedly bipolar, ADHD, and emotionally disturbed. She's been taking biofeedback therapy and karate lessons for a few years now, and the benefits from the therapy were apperant very quickly (i'd say a month or two, but your milage may vary). After the series of "games" that the therapy takes the form of, with "points" to be earned towards reinforcers (money, ice cream, charts with stickers on them, etc), the therapy simultaniously simplifies and complexifies into computer-aided transcendental meditation. pretty nifty.

    Many insurance providers now cover this (but by no means the majority), Oxford insurance in CT comes to mind, but without insurance the therapy usually costs about 1000 a year with a mix of simple use of the machine and sessions with the therapist (which cost more per session). Its easy to learn how to calibrate the machine (its similar to polygraph calibration, but cooler), making sessions with the therapist an excellent option but by no means nessisary.

    The equipment can be purchased at www.brainfingers.com for around 2000 (last i checked, maybe its lower now). The equipment they sell there even has a neuro-to-midi program and the SDK included in the package!!

    Anyway, anybody considering poisoning their children just so they can deal with them easier should look into therapy like neuro-feedback that results in actual growth and change rather than homeostasis and chemical restraint.

    Thats not to say that these drugs don't have their place, i have another family member who wouldn't be with us right now if not for depakote and wellbutrin, but think twice before drugging someone up just because they don't think the same way you do and give neuro-feedback a shot. its -FUN-.

    Its interesting to note that the research and development that resulted in this therapy originated in the fallout of the ill-conceived and unconstitutional prohibition on the scientific research of LSD. The people who didn't get locked up moved their equipment to study people practicing yoga and found that using their equipment, the same states of mind could be reached in 2 weeks that would have taken 2 years unassisted by neuro-feedback. chew on that for a while.
  • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:22AM (#7983550) Homepage
    I went to Drake institute, summer 2002. (http://www.drakeinstitute.com/)

    Visual bio-feedback and all.

    I also, on the advice of my japanese wife who saw study done in japan on ADD and the relationship with the brain when under video-game mode and Alzeimer's, and their treatment was three-ball juggling. For ten minutes straight.

    I couldn't juggle, at all.

    I got the hang of it, slowly, trying every day. If I did 5 I was happy.
    That was summer of 2003.

    On Dec 20, 2003 I hit 1150 juggles.

    Last week, I did 1900 straight.

    Now, I stop at ten minutes, and don't even count.

    The level of concentration is insane when you get to above 500. The brain wants to stop, to roam, to defocus and wander.
    Yet 1/2 second of defocus, and the ball is on the floor.

    You can't blink, you can't let your mind wander, you can't let your eyes stray.

    Now, when I am feeling myself drift, I imagine that I am juggling fast (at 4/sec or so), and I get very focused very fast, and I can concentrate on the task at hand.

    About biofeedback: It's a way for you to train yourself to relax yourself (I imagine my hands and feet are warm and do deep breathing exercises) and to focus your mind. It visually lets you know the spot you want to be at. Once you "get it" you know it, then don't need the visual feedback to know you're focused.

    But like everything else, if you don't use it, you lose it.

    Ultimately it's worked for me. My relationship with my wife has improved dramatically, my job is not suffering, my firends have all noticed a difference, and my schooling is progressing rapidly.

    I'm 35. Yes it was expensive ($5500 for 40 1 hr sessions), yet in the grand scheme of things, it's not.

    Oh, and My driving has improved greatly (I had 3 accidents in 4 years, but nothing, not even a scratch, since).

    To poster: If you want to contact me, it's chris_mahan hat yahoo dotte com.

    PS: The first 10 sessions were for stress reduction, learning how to drop stress levels. Very effective even though I slept through 3 sessions :)

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