ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed condition in children and it also affects 5% of the adult population. Why has this diagnosis skyrocketed in the past 30 years? There are several reasons:
- An overabundance of highly processed, highly addictive foods that have additives, preservatives and toxins that can lead to impaired brain development and aggravate behavioral and learning problems. A diet of mostly refined grains and fewer plants in the diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and trigger ADHD symptoms.
- Children are more likely these days to engage in repetitive activities such as video games and spend too much time in front of computer screens and not enough time outdoors. Decreases in physical activity, fresh air and too much free time spent sitting while engaging in gaming, texting and computer activities can lead to heightened distraction, impulsive and addictive behaviors and difficulty and reluctance in completing non-pleasurable tasks.
- Increases in diagnosing, overdiagnosing and mis-diagnosing ADHD.
The issue between nature vs. nuture in the development of ADHD is still being debated. In my opinion, the genetic tendency for exhibiting ADHD symptoms is the “loaded gun” but the environmental factors such as nutrition, exercise and overindulging in addictive behaviors is the “trigger finger”. Over the years in our neurofeedback clinic, we have seen a dramatic reduction in ADHD symptoms if we can get our clients to clean up their diets, obtain more physical activity and fresh air and limit their time on computers or gaming devices. But undergoing neurofeedback for ADHD is also an important piece of the puzzle to include in a holistic non- invasive method for addressing ADHD. Neurofeedback (also called EEG biofeedback) is a fun way for children and adults with ADHD to ‘reset’ their brainwaves using computer video games. I know, I said that too much video gaming is detrimental for the ADHD brain but this is different. Sensors are attached to the scalp and clients are instructed to use their brains to change the video games, not their hands. In doing this, they are changing their corresponding brainwave activity at the most strategic areas in the brain. Since many types of ADHD involve too many slow brain waves in the frontal regions of the brain that control attention, impulsivity and organization, these are targeted during neurofeedback sessions. Along with environmental changes and neurofeedback training, most of these clients with ADHD symptoms report that their brain fog lifts, they are calmer and more focused and they perform better in school, sports and in other tasks. So is ADHD a real diagnosis? Try neurofeedback and change your environment and behavior and let us know what you think!