Being a parent is as difficult as it is fulfilling. You are the happiest when your children are happy, but when you see them struggling every day, it’s heartbreaking. Childhood is the most magical time in a person’s lifetime, so it is only normal that you want to give your kids the best experience possible.
With the help of neurofeedback, problems such as academic performance, inattention, anxiety, depression, communication skills, behavioral issues, and emotional development can be treated in a holistic approach. Moreover, neurofeedback is used to help children with neurocognitive disabilities such as autism.
Why should you choose this type of treatment? Neurofeedback includes evaluating your child’s electrical patterns in their brain and how efficiently their brain processes visual and auditory information. This can give us insight into your child’s behaviors and helps us to know how best to aid your little ones with their struggles.
A clear advantage of neurofeedback is the lack of medication needed for issues such as inattention, anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, or learning disabilities.
A Helping Hand for ADHD
Research shows that some people who suffer from ADHD have a lack of arousal in the frontal part of the brain and a deficiency of beta waves. Neurofeedback therapy for ADHD helps with the decrease of theta waves and the increase of beta waves, which leads to less impulsive and hyperactive behavior.
Neurofeedback training can help your child concentrate and control where their attention is directed to. With the help of sensors, brain wave activity can be monitored. With this information, your doctor can give useful tasks that will help the child develop coping skills to pay attention even outside of neurofeedback sessions.
A study by Gevensleben, et al. (2009) showed the benefits of neurofeedback treatment, claiming that it’s a clinically effective module in the treatment of children with ADHD. 102 children between the ages of eight and 12 years old were divided into two groups, one that went through computerized attention training, one that received neurofeedback treatment. The training lasted 18 weeks. Both groups received 36 sessions of treatment.
The parents and teachers involved had to give ratings and were unaware of the type of treatment the children received. The results of the study revealed that the neurofeedback group recorded a greater reduction of ADHD symptoms, compared with the computerized attention training group.
The difference between the groups was 0.6 in parent/teacher ratings. After half a year, the results showed the same progress made by neurofeedback treatment, the children performing better when it came to homework.
Learn more about what your child is going through and inform yourself about the signs of ADHD.
A Support for Autism
Neurofeedback is correlated with improvement in social interaction and communication among people on the autistic spectrum.
Long-term improvement has been detected during a study that lasted 12 months. The study was conducted on 14 children with ASD ranging from eight to ten years old, with an IQ-score of 70 and more. Using neurofeedback to suppress theta power and enhance activity in the medial prefrontal cortex resulted in significant progress of executive functions. Social performance and auditory selective attention also improved and persisted throughout the year.
A Treatment for Anxiety
Anxiety is a common mental disorder discovered among children. Finding an alternative solution for this issue is of great importance because, in this case, medication is only partially effective and can have significant side effects.
The reinforcement of Beta waves leads to high concentration, and the reinforcement of Theta waves is used for high levels of relaxation. By monitoring brain activity, healthy patterns can be developed in treating anxiety.
24 children between the ages of 7 and 12, who were diagnosed with separation anxiety, were part of a study with the purpose of testing neurofeedback as a treatment for this disorder. They were separated into two groups. One received neurofeedback treatment, and the other one received a placebo treatment. EEG signals were used to enhance the ratio of alpha/theta in F3. A high ratio was rewarded with chocolate. The children received 20 treatment sessions in 10-12 weeks, each session lasting 30 minutes.
Neurofeedback for child anxiety has been shown to be highly effective. The results demonstrated a decrease in separation anxiety, while the placebo treatment had a medium effect in treating it.
Even though anxiety is very common in kids and adults, it shouldn’t be a daily struggle. It is important to understand how anxiety affects the everyday life of your child.
A Hope for Depression
The signs of depression cannot be ignored. It significantly reduces the quality of someone’s life, especially when it comes to children. Kids are usually energetic and full of life, but depression can cause irritability, defiance, a lack of pleasure, general sadness, and lack of energy.
It is very important to confront these signs from the moment they appear. Neurofeedback is a tool that helps people to develop a healthy brain wave pattern that increases the overall well-being of a person.
A pilot study presented in Paris at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference tested the neurofeedback treatment for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Neurofeedback is presented as a complementary treatment that doesn’t cause side effects.
The study included 12 patients with treatment-resistant MDD who went through weekly sessions for three months. Each session lasted an hour. The brain wave activity associated with different moods was monitored and altered. There were two groups of 12, one that received neurofeedback treatment and took medication, and one that only received medication.
The results are promising. Eight out of ten patients that received neurofeedback treatment showed progress on the measuring scales used to rate the symptoms of depression. Five of the participants are considered to be in remission thanks to the neurofeedback treatment. The control group used in this study showed a minimal amount of progress.
A New Hope
It’s normal to feel discouraged, it’s part of the process. Sometimes the answer to your problems is not just around the corner. It takes a lot of energy to remain hopeful throughout these multiple attempts and failures. There are no simple solutions in a mental health journey. Every child is different and unique. The beautiful thing about neurofeedback is the opportunity to understand your mind and gain control over your life.
Children cannot understand and explain their feelings the way adults do. Negative emotions are hard to handle at a young age, an aspect that leads to acting out and misbehaving. As a parent, all the responsibility falls on you, and it’s overwhelming. Do not hesitate to get the help you need!
Play therapy is another helpful tool that encourages children to give meaning to their feelings through art and games. Therapy can easily be transformed into a fun and engaging activity. It represents a way of communication and healing of past trauma.
- Gevensleben, Holger, et al. “Is Neurofeedback an Efficacious Treatment for ADHD? A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 50, no. 7, July 2009, pp. 780–789
- Holland, Kimberly. “Can Neurofeedback Help Treat ADHD?” Healthline, 22 Jan. 2014, www.healthline.com/health/adhd/neurofeedback#neurofeedback. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
- —. “Effectiveness of Neurofeedback Therapy in Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder.” Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 17, no. 06, 2014, 10.4172/psychiatry.1000149.
- Kouijzer, Mirjam E. J., et al. “Neurofeedback Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders – Scientific Foundations and Clinical Practice.” Autism Spectrum Disorders – from Genes to Environment, 6 Sept. 2011, Neurofeedback Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders – Scientific Foundations and Clinical Practice, 10.5772/18661. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
- Kouijzer, Mirjam E.J., et al. “Long-Term Effects of Neurofeedback Treatment in Autism.” Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, vol. 3, no. 2, Apr. 2009, pp. 496–501, 10.1016/j.rasd.2008.10.003.
- “Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback).” CHADD, chadd.org/about-adhd/neurofeedback-eeg-biofeedback/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
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- Sadjadi, Seyed Alireza. “Effectiveness of Neurofeedback Therapy in Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder.” Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 17, no. 06, 2014, 10.4172/psychiatry.1000149.
- Shabir, Osman. “Neurofeedback for Anxiety.” News-Medical.net, 25 Feb. 2020, www.news-medical.net/health/Neurofeedback-for-Anxiety.aspx. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.