Hyperactivity:

Hyperactivity, with or without attention deficit, can be a cause of concern for parents and teachers alike. When combined with impulsivity, oppositionality and other behavior patterns, the problem can seem to endanger the very well-being of the child.

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(Left, a succession of brainmaps made on a child with ADHD). Bright colors indicate areas of underarousal (which sometimes lead to desperate attempts to overcompensate in other areas of the brain.

At Stone Mountain, over nineteen years of experience we have seen many children described as “bouncing of the walls” (while their parents “climb the walls” in their own way. )The same children several months later can seem remarkably composed and still–while their brains show neurological quieting at the same time.

Many of the children who come to see us are already on prescription drugs for their attentional or hyperactivity issues, and a frequently asked question is, can you still do neurofeedback if the child is still on meds?

The answer is a resounding “Yes” based on hundreds of cases. Anti-ADD drugs can and do help children, especially in the challenging school environment. The neurofeedback will work a little more slowly than some drugs, but we feel the effects are more lasting, because the improvements often stop when the drugs are missed or discontinued, but, when sufficient neurofeedback sessions have happened–usually 10 or over, depending on the complexity of the case–significant improvements persist over time. We always recommend consulting with your prescribing physician when considering decreasing doses or discontinuing medications.

It is awful when children can’t calm down enough to sit in class, do homework or do their chores, or even participate in the family in a way that others feel comfortable about. We often find in these cases that their brains are running too fast (or as we sometimes say, “the gerbils are running too fast on their treadmill!” Such children will often have difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep and may also be irritable or explosive. It can be breathtaking to watch these symptoms subside and a more reasonable, lovable and succesful child emerge.

There can be many reasons for hyperactivity, including heritable metabolic disorders, thyroid problems, an underlying bi-polar disorder, or just plain bad diet (too much sugar and or food additives or dyes.) It is often hard to get the attention of such children because they are too activated with inner processes (their motor is running too fast).addage11.jpg

On the other hand, some children’s hyperactivity is because their metabolisms and brain waves are too slow, and they are involved in a restless search for stimulation. Hence the widespread use of stimulant medication to help kids with hyperactivity. (It seems counterintuitive but it often works.) In fact many of the children we see are on Ritalin or Concerta under the care of their pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist. The LENS treatment still works. Sometimes parents will talk to their doctor, or try a modified schedule of only giving the meds when the child is attending school, and see how they do on weekends or vacation without the meds and just the neurotherapy.

In general it has been noted that when kids are being treated with just the neurofeedback they are less irritable, and more “like themselves.” See also cases in The Healing Power of Neurofeedback. Chapter 5, “Healing the Mind of Childhood.”