What it is: Neurofeedback is an alternative ADHD treatment that uses brain exercises to reduce impulsivity and increase attentiveness.
How it works: Neurofeedback is based on a simple principle: training the brain to emit brain-wave patterns associated with focus (as opposed to those waves associated with day dreaming. The result: Some ADHD symptoms — impulsivity, distractibility, and acting out — are less detectable.
Treatment: First, a practitioner takes a detailed history of the patient and then maps the patient's brain by having him wear an electrode-lined cap while performing a complex cognitive task, such as reading aloud. The brain activity is fed to a computer, which then maps the areas of the brain where there is too much or too little brain-wave activity — the sources, theoretically, of the patient's ADHD symptoms.
The patient then trains those areas of the brain that are under-aroused by controlling a computer or video game by producing short bursts of sustained brain-wave activity in the target areas. The games only run when the patient exercises that portion of the brain that is deficient in focus.
Cost: While sessions are brief (approximately 30 minutes) and painless, they are expensive. The average course of treatment can range from $2,000 to $5,000.