ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults. It is described as a “persistent” or on-going pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that gets in the way of daily life or typical development. Individuals with ADHD may also have difficulties with maintaining attention, executive function (or the brain’s ability to begin an activity, organize itself and manage tasks) and working memory.
Because people with ADD/ADHD have a problem within the neural networks in the brain, they are often treated with medication. Unfortunately, there are many problems with medication treatment. These are as follows:
Medications are not a long-term solution as they do not teach a person how to deal with their issues.
Children with more significant ADD or ADHD may not gain much benefit from medications (or even behavioural interventions).
Medications are accompanied by nasty side effects such as appetite suppression, weight loss, sleep disturbances, potential cardiac risks and personality changes.
People can also develop a tolerance to medications over time, resulting in increased dosages, additional medications, and potentially more side effects.
The long-term effects of ADD/ADHD medications are largely unknown. Ritalin, very often prescribed for the treatment of ADD and ADHD, has been used to treat ADD/ADHD since the 1960′s but still has not been studied for long-term effects. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association asserts:
While research has conclusively proven R* short-term effectiveness, little is known about the long-term efficacy and safety of a drug that some children take for many years. In fact, the average duration of randomized trials of the drug is 3.3 weeks…. There aren’t long-term studies, and that’s of some concern because we don’t know whether the initial positive effects… might diminish over time. Moreover, we don’t know what happens to the side-effects… whether those got worse or maybe they diminish too – we don’t really know.
Neurofeedback training is a safer and more natural alternative to medication