Meta-Analysis: Neurofeedback Drives Enduring ADHD Symptom Improvement
Results from 10 randomized, controlled trials found that neurofeedback significantly reduced inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity for 2 to 12 months after treatment ended for children with ADHD.
Reviewed on June 29, 2018
July 1, 2018
“Do the benefits of neurofeedback endure after treatment ends?”
This is an important and common question asked by caregivers considering the alternative therapy of neurofeedback and weighing its promises of improved focus, diminished impulsivity, and reduced hyperactivity. Many studies provide evidence for its benefits, however the longevity of those benefits remained a question — until recently.
A 2018 meta-analysis1, published earlier this year in the European Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry answers that question with a “Yes.”
The authors pooled results from 10 studies of more than 500 participants, mostly children ages 8-12. The included research compared the results of subjects using neurofeedback to an active control group receiving medication or a non-active control group receiving no treatment. Children in the test group underwent 25 to 40 neurofeedback sessions from 30 to 50 minutes each. The researchers followed up after 2-12 months.
They found that the subjects receiving neurofeedback experienced significantly reduced inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity up to 12 months after the conclusion of treatment, when compared to baseline parental symptom ratings. Medication initially controlled symptoms more effectively, but the benefits typically evened out as more time passed.
This systematic review further bolsters support for neurofeedback as an effective alternative therapy for ADHD with lasting effects. Still, further research is required to determine persistence of benefits past 12 months.
1Van Doren, Jessica, et al. “Sustained effects of neurofeedback in ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 5 February 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1121-4