People often ask me if neurofeedback is an effective treatment for ADHD. Given that the expert consensus is “maybe” or “sometimes,” I try to answer along those lines, pointing out that many factors should be considered. For example:
- How quickly do you need results (is a child about to fail a grade or an adult about to lose a job or relationship)?
- How plentiful are your resources (if you try neurofeedback and it doesn’t work, is there money left in the budget for traditional treatment)?
- What are the credentials and reputation of the clinician providing the neurofeedback?
Some people assume that neurofeedback is safer than medication, but the fact is that potential for its side effects has never been studied.
Thanks to David Rabiner, Associate Research Professor at Duke University’s Department of Psychology Neuroscience, I can share with you (below) a sophisticated analysis of the research. Dr. Rabiner has long performed the excellent service of parsing the research around ADHD in his newsletter, Attention Research Update. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here, and read through the substantial archives once you are subscribed
As a layperson, I appreciate his clear writing style, but research terminology can be complex and this analysis might be “too much information” for some of us. Please consider that clear-cut answers aren’t always easy to give on complex subjects.
The bottom line, as Dr. Rabiner writes below:
“The research reviewed here indicates that if parents obtain high quality neurofeedback treatment for their child there is a reasonable basis for expecting that benefits will occur. The decision to do so should be made with the knowledge that medication treatment and behavioral therapy would be regarded as having stronger research support at this time.” Read the rest of this entry »