Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are buzz words that we normally hear associated with children and teens, but more and more it is becoming common place in adults, with more than 5% of adults globally being diagnosed. But do we actually know what it is and how it impacts on the lives of those people who struggle with it?
“Focus or concentration is the ‘spotlight’ that allows us the ability to pick out one object, task or thought and work on it to the exclusion of other things,” explains Kerry Rudman, from Brain Harmonics, a Neurofeedback organisation specialising in retraining brains. “Individuals with ADHD not only lack an adequate level of arousal, but they also can not usually focus on any one task for any extended time. For the most part, sitting still, focusing and concentrating is painful. As a matter of fact, it is not just painful it is exhausting. Give it a try. Turn on the TV, radio and Apple music and then have every member of your family talk to you at the same time, you will get a feel for what the brain of the person with ADHD is going through. You end up paying attention to everything and nothing at the same time. In stimulus overload, you cannot focus on any one thing long enough to deal with it!”
In today’s modern world, our brains are constantly bombarded with sounds, images and touches. One of the brain’s most important jobs is controlling the border between all that noise in our minds and deciding what gets in and what gets out. Some people are able to sit quietly for hours in a classroom or a meeting, they screen out everything except what’s important to them. They may produce lots of impulses to get up or interrupt, but they don’t act on them. While every brain is equipped with a filtering screening system, not every brain does that job so well! It constantly and automatically sets the rules for what’s important. Screening is a constant job, even when you’re sleeping, and it can take a lot of energy depending on how noisy the environment is and how still you’re supposed to be. Some brains can’t meet the challenge over long periods.
“Low energy brains tend to think with intuition and images instead of words. They live inside their minds and have to push their attention out. They solve the problem of controlling the border by closing it much of the time. They may fall asleep easily but have trouble waking up. People call them inattentive or learning disabled but they’re creative. They can be still and keep themselves busy over long periods. They have a strong inner world but they’re stuck there” explains Rudman.
“Other brains have energy, but they don’t have an inside world to protect. They live outside their borders, actually paying attention to the noise, acting on all impulses without choosing those that are most important. They lack the idling brain speed, so they can’t rest, even when there’s nothing to do. They may have difficulty falling asleep but wake up quite easily. People call them hyperactive. Many are fearless and tireless and get things done, but they hate to be alone or still. They can dominate their outside world, but they’re stuck there. Sure, there are pills and diets and supplements to help your brain control the border but they’re temporary cover ups. They don’t really change the way it makes and uses energy in a lasting way. So how can you energize slow brains and quiet active ones? This is where Neurofeedback comes in.”
Unlike typical medications currently on the market that help the brain to concentrate when needed, Neurofeedback Brain Training addresses the high Theta to Beta ratio in people with ADD or ADHD.
“Our training protocols raise dopamine naturally in the brain by raising the brains sensory motor rhythm (SMR) at the Central Lobes. This is exactly what current medications also do whilst the medication is active, but once it wears off the brain reverts back to its known behaviours,” says Rudman. “We usually do this while getting our client to watch videos, assisting in enhancing their concentration, while we build dominoes on their bodies, this also teaches them to filter out distractions all the while their brain is creating new neural pathways.”
“We also teach people with ADD to think in pictures and have a series of games that teach them how to see more detail or we use schoolwork to show them how to link the work to pictures, also known as memory pegging. At the same time, we also look at improving emotional balance and sensory integration, which we often find are out of sync with many people struggling with ADD and ADHD.”
For more information about Neurofeedback and brain training please visit https://www.brainharmonics.co.za/