Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a behavioral condition which refers to difficulty in focusing on routine (everyday) tasks, and is discovered mostly in children under the age of twelve. ADHD has been investigated intensely over the past few decades, but was originally discovered by Scottish physician Alexander Crichton in 1798. The condition was originally termed as Brain Dysfunction, but later was called Hyperactivity, or Hyperactive Child Syndrome. ADHD was first theorized to be the result of either inherited traits, moral imbalance, or brain damage, but later research findings in psychology and neuroscience would question these assumptions.
Symptoms of ADHD
In order for a behavioral condition to be formally diagnosed, symptoms must interfere with daily functioning and relationships. Symptoms of ADHD must have been present for minimum of six (6) months before a conclusive diagnosis is made, and include some, or all of the following:
- Carelessness and disorganization
- Diminished listening skills and an inability to communicate
- Forgetfulness and excessive fidgeting
- Impulsivity and intrusiveness
Past and Present Treatment
In the 19th century, most behavioral conditions were treated by administering excessive discipline or punishment, due to the conclusion drawn that acceptable ethical principles were not practiced in the patient’s home environment. After World War II, brain altering techniques (e.g. lobotomy, electric shock therapy) would be used to replace disciplinary action after discoveries of brain wave pattern abnormalities as one of the potential causes of ADHD. Stimulants (e.g. Ritalin) were developed in the 1950’s, but today, medications coupled with behavioral therapy provide relief from ADHD symptoms.
Concerns over medical side effects have been a growing subject among parents of children with ADHD, so neurofeedback has been an alternative option. Neurofeedback anxiety treatment (which is non-intrusive and drug-free), is a stress-reducing technique previously used for patients with anxiety-based disorders. However, neurofeedback therapy for ADHD has been gaining momentum as a non-drug treatment option by adding behavioral components associated with focal improvement, and the balancing of brain wave patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) also is commonly used in addition to neurofeedback to address emotional issues involved with ADHD, but the condition is still being researched in the areas of prevention.