ADHD Treatment Without Medication: Why Should You Consider a Non-Drug Alternative?

The Drake Institute is a world-class ADHD treatment center founded in 1980. We are a clinical pioneer in ADHD treatment without medication, and we've helped thousands of patients reduce their ADHD symptoms.

In fact, in most cases, our ADHD treatment options do not require stimulants or pharmaceutical drugs of any kind, instead relying on the safe and clinically effective technologies of brain map-guided Neurofeedback, and Neuromodulation treatment.

Utilizing the latest developments in qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neurostimulation technology, our non-drug ADHD treatment protocols enable patients to improve brain functioning and reduce symptoms faster and more effectively than ever before without the use of conventional pharmaceutical drugs.

In addition, our neurofeedback treatment process can produce long-term improvement for our patients, unlike the temporary improvement offered by drug-based treatment. With drug-based treatments, once the medication wears off, the brain is likely to default back to the abnormal dysregulation that causes ADHD symptoms.

Why We Prefer the Non-Drug Treatment Option First

As a medical clinic integrating the fields of medicine, neuropsychology, neurosciences, computer science and family and child therapy, we could prescribe medication for children with ADHD, but we choose not to because we have developed an exceptional non-drug ADHD treatment program that delivers superior results without the risks of unwanted side effects of drugs.

For over 30 years, the Drake Institute has made brain map-guided neurofeedback the centerpiece of our non-drug treatment for ADHD patients.

As technology has advanced over the decades (i.e., swLORETA neurofeedback), so has our clinical experience with incorporating this cutting-edge technology into our treatment protocols, leading to faster and better patient outcomes.

Here at the Drake Institute, we have helped over 10,000 patients through our neurofeedback treatment programs, enabling us to develop a unique level of clinical knowledge and expertise.

We’re dedicated to helping people with ADHD reduce or resolve their symptoms while decreasing the need for medication.

How Does The Drake Institute’s Drug-Free ADHD Treatment Work?

At the Drake Institute, we believe that ADHD treatment should focus on the root of the problem: the patient’s dysregulated brain.

We use qEEG brain mapping, including Brodmann areas, to identify the source and pattern of the brain’s dysregulation so that we can then create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.

We then use brain map-guided neurofeedback and sometimes neurostimulation as an adjunct, to improve brain regulation, which reduces symptoms of ADHD. As symptoms improve, some of our patients who are on medication are able to have their medications titrated down, or even sometimes eliminated entirely.

Treating Brain Wave Network Abnormalities

A key component of our ADHD treatment without medication is the use of qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalogram) brain mapping, which helps us identify the functional dysregulation of the brain so that the patient can be helped.

Our use of brain mapping is analogous to a physician performing a bacteria culture on an infection to identify which specific bacteria is causing it and which antibiotic would be best for treating it. In fact, obtaining a qEEG brain map for an ADHD patient is like running an EKG (electrocardiogram) for a patient complaining of chest pain.  

The more information the physician has about what’s causing the patient’s symptoms, the more effective their treatment can be.

As is true with any medical test, brain map findings must be correlated with the patient’s clinical symptoms and evaluated to determine optimal neurofeedback protocols to improve brain functioning and reduce symptoms.

When ADHD is present, the brain can be literally stuck in abnormal brain wave patterns, showing imbalances in either fast or slow brain wave activities.

Either type of disrupted functioning can negatively affect the attentional, emotional, and executive functioning systems in the brain, even in highly intelligent people.

Below is an image showing the "before and after" brain map of a patient who learned to normalize their frontal lobe brainwave patterns by completing our brain map guided neurofeedback treatment:

As a result of completing our treatment and improving brain functioning, this child's quality of life was remarkably improved. Patients typically report a substantial improvement in their lives when their brain functioning improves.

Treating the Brain's Dysfunctional "Wirings"

In addition to brain wave imbalances, ADHD patients may exhibit abnormal functional connections within different networks of the brain, which results in less efficient and slower processing of information.

In these cases, the "wirings of the brain" are inadequate, and this facet of the disorder is also treated via improving the stability and functioning of brain networks.

To understand this better, think of a delivery driver stuck on the freeway in traffic with only one functional lane, making traffic move very slowly and preventing the delivery driver from making his delivery on time.

If the freeway were to create four additional functional lanes for traffic to move through, the traffic would move normally and efficiently, allowing the delivery driver to remain on schedule.

This is one of the core benefits resulting from brain map-guided neurofeedback; if the functional connections of the brain improve, then one is likely to have a reduction of ADHD symptoms.

Neurofeedback can increase the size and number of synaptic connections in the brain.

Combining Biofeedback With Neurofeedback Therapy

Through neurofeedback, our patients can learn to strengthen brain connections involved in focus, impulse control, executive functioning, and emotional regulation, leading to a reduction or resolution of their ADHD symptoms. Indeed, research completed at the University of Montreal's Mind/Brain research lab has shown that neurofeedback training and treatment procedures increased both brain volume and brain connections in areas involved in "attention", which correlated with improved auditory and visual sustained attention. This study was a milestone in proving that neurofeedback training can lead to structural changes in the brain, which then lead to improved brain functioning. Sometimes, it is helpful to think of neurofeedback for ADHD as analogous to "physical therapy" for the brain, with the results being self-generated by the patient's active self-regulation.

The Latest ADHD Treatment Technology: Neuromodulation (Neurostimulation)

As part of our dedication to staying at the forefront of clinical advancements, the Drake Institute now uses Neuromodulation technology as an adjunct to neurofeedback.

Neuromodulation, or neurostimulation consists of low-intensity pulse electromagnetic generator (pEMF), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), and transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) to treat ADHD symptoms.

How does it work?

Simply put, Neuromodulation can stimulate a brainwave pattern that the brain is not producing or regulating on its own. The dysregulated brain will then mimic or emulate the stimulation to produce healthier brainwave patterns.

This process is analogous to putting training wheels on a bicycle, providing the child with the experience of balance on the bicycle, allowing the child to adapt to it and start controlling the bike on their own.

This technology has had such a tremendous impact on our success rates that it is fully integrated into our treatment protocols available for each patient when necessary, resulting in faster improvements in symptom reduction. In other words, it gets the brain healthier, faster, and can increase the improvement from neurofeedback.

Like all treatment protocols used by the Drake Institute, Neuromodulation Therapy is a non-invasive, safe, and a clinically effective treatment option for reducing ADHD symptoms.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. Individuals with ADHD can experience a range of debilitating symptoms, including problems paying attention, controlling impulses, regulating emotions, and sitting still (in some individuals).  These symptoms can lead to problems in academic, occupational, and social settings.

There are several possible contributing factors in developing ADHD, including genetic factors, environmental influences, and potential complications during pregnancy and childbirth (e.g., prenatal exposure to alcohol or tobacco, premature birth, low birth weight, etc.).

Neuroimaging studies have revealed that individuals with ADHD may exhibit differences in brain functioning, particularly in areas related to attention, executive functioning, inhibition, and reward processing.

Though there is no known cure for ADHD, the Drake Institute has successfully treated many patients with ADHD that no longer meet criteria for the diagnosis by the conclusion of treatment. If you need help managing your ADHD symptoms without medication, please reach out to us for help. [i]

There can be a place for medication, certainly as a temporary bridge, but our goal at the Drake Institute is to reduce the need for medication.

Signs & Symptoms Of ADHD

Below is a breakdown of the symptoms associated with the 4 types of ADHD:

ADHD: (Inattentive presentation)

  • Inattention
  • Easily Distracted
  • Lack of sustained focus on non-preferred tasks
  • Difficulty finishing tasks such as homework without supervision
  • Poor short-term memory (i.e., difficulty following a series of instructions)
  • Often forgetful, such as forgetting homework or turning it in
  • Poor listening skills

ADHD: (Hyperactive-impulsive presentation)

  • Impulsive (acting without thinking of the consequences, blurting out answers, interrupting, having trouble waiting one's turn)
  • Hyperactive (fidgety and/or difficulty sitting still)

ADHD: (Combined presentation)

  • Inattentive symptoms along with hyperactivity/impulsivity

ADHD: (Unspecified ADHD)

  • Significant clinical impairment but does not meet full criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD

To be diagnosed as having ADHD, two additional conditions must also be met:

  1. Symptoms must occur more frequently or severely when compared to children/adolescents of the same age
  2. Symptoms must cause significant impairment in academic, occupational, social, or other areas of functioning

Causes Of ADHD

ADHD symptoms are based on neurologic dysregulation, not psychological causes.

The frontal and central regions (sensory motor strip) of the brain are responsible for inhibiting motor activity and impulses, but if these regions are under-activated or dysregulated, then our motor activity may not be inhibited adequately, nor our impulses being filtered or inhibited appropriately. 

This under-activation or dysregulation also leads children and adults to express their impulses spontaneously (interrupting, blurting out, etc.) without thinking of the consequences. In these cases, ADHD patients do not have the neurophysiologic inhibition mechanisms functioning adequately enough to resist some of their impulses.

As a result of ADHD, their brains are not able to pause the impulse for a few seconds that would enable them to think about the consequences of acting on the impulse. Instead of being able to think about how to respond appropriately, they express the impulse spontaneously without thinking.

When the ADHD child is corrected or criticized for being impulsive, they can feel like they’re being unfairly reprimanded. The experience of being impulsive is normal for their brain, but unfortunately, their brain is not filtering and pausing their impulses.  Being impulsive is their experience of normal. This is the only way their brain has ever worked, so they have no personal history or reference point to understand that their impulsive behavior is inappropriate.

They can start developing unhealthy defense mechanisms to protect their self-esteem that they feel is unfairly under attack. This can lead to oppositional, defiant behavior, as well as low self-esteem.

Please keep in mind that the impulsive behaviors of individuals with ADHD are typically not consciously intentional: their brains are dysregulated and failing to filter their impulses appropriately. Because their brains have never consistently filtered impulses efficiently before, and since this is all they have ever experienced, this is their version of “normal”. 

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

Diagnosing ADHD is a comprehensive process that combines clinical evaluations and behavioral assessments.

These evaluations and assessments examine the individual's symptoms and behavior across different settings, such as home, school, and social environments. This may involve the use of standardized rating scales or questionnaires completed by teachers, parents, or the individual themselves to provide a comprehensive picture of their symptoms. [ii]

The Drake Institute includes quantitative EEG brain map analysis to identify the linkage of symptoms to dysregulated areas or networks of the brain. This is essential in order to best treat our patients with neurofeedback and sometimes neurostimulation.

To meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis, the individual must display a persistent pattern of symptoms, which may include any of the following: inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity that significantly impairs their daily life and functioning. Additionally, the symptoms should be present before the age of 12, last for at least six months, and be observed in multiple settings. [iii]

Where Diagnostic Testing Falls Short

Historically, the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder has been based on a cluster of clinical symptoms, but this diagnosis has failed to include evaluating actual brain functioning, which is the source of the symptoms.

ADHD symptoms are neurologically based, and it is over-simplistic to view ADHD as a single disorder since each patient’s qEEG brain map is unique in identifying the dysregulation linked to symptoms.  The traditional ADHD diagnosis itself does not provide answers to the origin and cause of the unwanted symptoms.

It is only by analyzing brain functioning that we can fully understand the neurophysiologic origin of ADHD symptoms, which is needed to develop the most effective treatment protocols for each patient based on their specific brain dysregulation driving the symptoms.

At the Drake Institute, we believe that the historical ADHD diagnosis has been too subjectively based on observations without looking at biological or neurophysiological markers. That is why we utilize quantitative EEG brain mapping technology, which can correlate ADHD symptoms to dysregulated networks or regions in the brain. It provides the blueprint of how to effectively treat patients.

Similar symptoms in different patients can show different abnormal brainwave patterns, requiring individualized brain map-based neurofeedback treatment protocols.

Compared to drug-based treatment, which is mostly trial and error, as well as non-specific in targeting the specific region or network that is dysregulated, our brain map-guided neurofeedback protocols are targeting the specific networks and regions in the brain that are dysregulated, causing symptoms.

The improvements in symptoms from neurofeedback are typically long-lasting because the improvements in brain functioning are self-generated by the patient themselves. This is in contrast to medication-based treatments, whereby when the drug wears off, the brain typically defaults back to the dysregulated pattern again.

Drug-Based Treatment Vs. Non-Drug Treatment For ADHD

Unlike drug-based ADHD treatments, the Drake Institute’s brain map-guided neurofeedback therapy typically does not cause negative side effects, and it is also capable of producing long-term improvement.

Because neurofeedback’s results are produced by the patient’s own self-generated efforts via the learning process known as “operant conditioning”, the Drake Institute’s program for treating ADHD without medication treats the cause of brain dysregulation. Improving brain dysregulation reduces symptoms.

In contrast, drug-based ADHD treatments can only produce a short-lived improvement since their results are due to a transient drug effect rather than an internalized learning process of self-regulation through neurofeedback.

Once the drug wears off, so do the improvements. In addition, some of the drugs build up a tolerance effect where you have to keep increasing the dosage to sustain the same improvement. The higher the dosages, the greater the likelihood of unwanted side effects, including the potential for abuse and dependence.

Our goal is more than just how to manage ADHD without medication. The Drake Institute’s brain map-guided neurofeedback treatment empowers our patients by enabling them to improve their own brain functioning and reduce or resolve their ADHD symptoms.

Our clinical staff of therapists also provides much-needed support to our patients, parents, or spouses throughout the treatment process to achieve maximum benefit from our neurofeedback treatment program.

The Importance Of Early ADHD Treatment

Historically, the diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder has been based on a cluster of clinical symptoms, but this diagnosis has failed to include evaluating brain functioning.

It is now known that ADHD symptoms are neurologically based, and it is over-simplistic to view ADHD as a single disorder since similar symptoms in various patients can manifest in unique ways, leading to different sets of problems. Also, the traditional ADHD diagnosis itself does not provide answers to the origin and cause of the unwanted symptoms, which are due to brain dysregulation.

It is only by analyzing brain functioning that we can fully understand the neurophysiologic origin of ADHD symptoms, which is needed to develop the most effective treatment approach, customized to focus on the specific dysregulation that is causing the symptoms that each patient is experiencing.

At the Drake Institute, we believe that the historical ADHD diagnosis has been too subjectively based on observations, without looking at neurophysiological findings - key factors in understanding how to treat ADHD without meds.

That is why we utilize quantitative EEG brain mapping technology, which can correlate ADHD symptoms to dysregulated networks or regions in the brain.

Similar symptoms in different patients may show different abnormal brainwave patterns, requiring individualized brain map-based neurofeedback treatment protocols.

Compared to drug-based treatment, which is mostly trial and error, our brain map-guided neurofeedback protocols are scientifically targeted to improve performance for specific networks and regions in the brain that are the source of the symptoms.

ADHD in Children

Children with only the inattentive symptoms of ADHD, previously diagnosed as ADD, are less likely to be diagnosed and helped as early as children who are hyperactive and impulsive which can lead to overt behavioral problems.

The inattentive type of ADHD child is typically well-behaved and does not disrupt the classroom. Frustrations with the child failing to complete homework on their own may be the only visible concern until the child reaches third grade when he/she is expected to work more independently, or in middle school when the ADHD child can become overwhelmed with trying to remain organized and keeping up with multiple teachers and classes.

Kids with ADHD must deal with much more significant challenges when attempting to complete non-preferred tasks, which may include most of their academic tasks.

This difficulty makes them far more likely to experience feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate when faced with tasks that neurotypical kids their age would not have an issue completing independently.

ADHD in Boys vs. Girls

ADHD is diagnosed more frequently in boys than in girls. Girls with ADHD are less likely to be hyperactive than boys, and typically do not show disruptive behaviors as frequently as hyperactive/impulsive ADHD boys.

In addition, some girls with ADHD may not show significant inattentive symptoms until middle school or high school, and their symptoms can increase with puberty as their estrogen levels rise. Consequently, girls may get diagnosed at a later age.

ADHD, including the Inattentive Presentation (previously called ADD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Brain frontal lobe abnormalities have been found to be different in ADHD boys compared to those identified in ADHD girls.

These findings provide insight into understanding why ADHD often manifests differently in boys versus girls. Research has shown that ADHD boys can have brain abnormalities in areas involved with inhibition (impulsivity and hyperactivity), whereas girls are more likely to have brain abnormalities in areas involved in executive functioning.

ADHD in Middle School & High School

The new executive function challenges presented by middle school, where the student will report to 5 or 6 different teachers, rather than their single teacher from elementary school, often overwhelm the ADHD-inattentive child.

Consequently, even though they could be extremely bright, their intelligence alone may no longer be adequate to allow them to succeed academically with multiple assignments to keep track of and complete.

In this case, the ADHD child’s neurophysiologic deficit in executive functioning was an underlying weakness that didn't become symptomatic until they experienced greater demands with multiple classes and assignments in middle school.

Suddenly, the ADHD child in middle school becomes overwhelmed by more demanding organizational tasks, has difficulty prioritizing assignments from multiple teachers, and has trouble when faced with the need to adjust to different teaching styles.

As the child begins to fall behind due to the difficulty in completing all their work and consequently their grades begin to drop, then a loss of self-confidence or self-esteem may occur. The child can then become increasingly frustrated, overwhelmed, and eventually unmotivated.

This is why ADHD children and adolescents face an elevated risk for developing emotional problems, including anxiety and depression.

ADHD in College

When the untreated ADHD adolescent goes off to college, they may start having more difficulty with performing academically, but their brain dysregulation is not likely to have worsened. Instead, their symptoms may noticeably increase since they’re now truly on their own and working without the advantage of a supportive, structured home environment or safety net.

Oftentimes, even very bright children who made it through high school without significant issues were only able to do so because their supportive, structured home environment along with their superior IQ helped compensate for their neurophysiologic limitations with executive functioning and focus.

When this individual gets to college, and their parents are no longer close at hand to back them up and act as a “safety net”, the ADHD adolescent can become quickly overwhelmed since they’re no longer being monitored by their parents.

The History Of ADHD & ADD

For historical accuracy, the diagnostic term ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) was actually discontinued in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association's published manual, the DSM-IV, and replaced with the diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) consisting of 3 subtypes:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Type
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  3. Combined Type

The DSM is used to classify recognized mental health disorders. In 2013, the new DSM-5 redefined ADHD once again into 3 main subtypes:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
  3. Combined Presentation

Many patients with ADHD were never hyperactive. Many families are confused with the diagnostic label of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) when their child or the adult who is experiencing symptoms of the disorder has never been hyperactive or impulsive, but it’s possible to be diagnosed without the presence of hyperactivity.

Why Drake Still Uses “ADD”

Many ADHD patients only show "inattentive symptoms" (predominantly Inattentive Presentation), exhibiting no signs of behavioral problems nor disruptiveness.

In fact, the child with ADHD may be extremely well-behaved but have noticeable difficulty with sustaining effective concentration on non-preferred tasks, such as academic studies or homework.

Today, the child who would have been diagnosed with ADD (without hyperactivity) before 1994, is now diagnosed as having ADHD-Inattentive Presentation, which again can be confusing because there is no hyperactivity.

Accordingly, at the Drake Institute, we still find the former label of ADD to be a helpful description of a distinct or clearly defined group of characteristics in patients diagnosed with ADHD who only exhibit the "inattentive symptoms" of the disorder.

Supporting Families

Normal parenting methods may not be necessarily effective for the ADHD child because of the child’s neurophysiologic dysregulation, which limits them from being fully receptive to normal parenting.

Parents often feel like they have a difficult, oppositional child, but it is typically neurologically based. The child does have some ability to self-regulate, but it is compromised by the disorder.

Incomplete assignments, underachievement, battles with homework, focusing challenges, and forgetfulness can all take a significant toll on the ADHD child’s self-esteem and produce additional stress on the parent-child relationship.

In response to these familial struggles, the Drake Institute developed the FullCare treatment program, which includes reviewing ADHD’s impact on the family, and providing support and guidance for family members in addition to the patients.

Because ADHD disrupts so many different areas of the family’s life, the Drake Institute firmly believes that FullCare is essential to maximizing the chances of fully helping the patient.

The Drake Institute Can Help

The Drake Institute’s brain map-guided ADHD treatment without drugs has been shown to lead to improve brain dysregulation and help optimize brain function, leading to a reduction and/or resolution of symptoms and a more successful life.

While it’s better to start the treatment process as early as possible, it is never too late to treat ADHD, even in adults. Starting treatment early helps patients avoid cumulative struggles, under-achievements, frustrations, development of unhealthy defense mechanisms and emotional problems, self-doubt, damaged self-esteem, loss of motivation and ambitions.

Our drug-free neurofeedback and neurostimulation treatment program can enable ADHD patients to reduce or resolve symptoms and become more successful at any age. Get help for you or your loved ones by contacting us to arrange a preliminary screening consultation at no charge.

ADHD Non-Drug Treatment F.A.Qs

For more information regarding our non-drug ADHD treatment protocols, please refer to the F.A.Q section below:

What Are the 7 Types of ADD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is traditionally classified into three subtypes: inattentive presentation, hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and combined presentation. However, some practitioners have proposed a more expanded classification system, suggesting seven types of ADHD. These subtypes include:

  1. Classic ADHD: This subtype aligns with the traditional combined presentation, where individuals display both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
  2. Inattentive ADHD: Characterized primarily by difficulties in sustaining attention and organization, individuals with this subtype may not exhibit significant hyperactive or impulsive behaviors.
  3. Over-focused ADHD: This ADHD subtype is characterized by difficulty switching attention from one task to another.
  4. Temporal Lobe ADHD: Linked to temporal lobe dysfunction, this subtype may lead to memory difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional dysregulation.
  5. Limbic ADHD: Stemming from dysregulation of the limbic system, the area of the brain responsible for the “fight or flight” response, individuals may experience mood swings and increased emotional reactivity.
  6. Ring of Fire ADHD: Named for the distinctive pattern of brain activity on a SPECT scans, this subtype may lead to low frustration tolerance and emotional overactivity
  7. Anxious ADHD: In this subtype, anxiety symptoms are prominent alongside ADHD symptoms, potentially complicating treatment.

Please note that the above-mentioned hypothetical 7 types of ADD are not diagnoses recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.  However, we feel these are worth addressing as the concept has reached widespread popularity with the general population after being promoted in the media.

Is ADHD On The Autism Spectrum?

ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are distinct neurodevelopmental conditions, but they can share some overlapping features, leading to potential diagnostic confusion. However, ADHD and ASD are separate diagnoses with distinct characteristics and criteria but can run together. Many patients with ASD have overlapping ADHD.

ADHD is primarily characterized by difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, impacting an individual's executive functioning and behavioral regulation. In contrast, ASD has core features of deficits in social communication and interactions, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors.

While some individuals may present with both ADHD and autism traits, it is important to assess each disorder separately to determine the most accurate diagnosis or diagnoses. It’s possible to have both diagnoses. [iv]

ADHD vs. Autism: What’s The Difference?

ADHD and autism are distinct neurodevelopmental disorders with unique features and diagnostic criteria.

ADHD is characterized by challenges in attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, leading to difficulties in maintaining focus and regulating behavior. ADHD patients may struggle with executive functioning, with difficulties in planning, organization, prioritizing and time management.

On the other hand, ASD is primarily identified by difficulties in social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors as primary concerns. People with ASD have difficulties with understanding social cues, social interactions, and forming meaningful relationships.[v]

Does Sugar Make ADHD Worse?

Sugar can have detrimental effects on those with ADHD. Sugar triggers dopamine release, like stimulant drugs. Often, processed foods with sugars have artificial flavorings and colorings which can further cause brain dysregulation in ADHD.

Sugar can also harm gut health, compounding symptoms in children with ADHD. The resulting blood sugar spikes and insulin surges contribute to brain dysregulation and worsened inattention.

The sugar crash is particularly disruptive in classrooms. A sugary breakfast can lead to mid-morning hypoglycemic crashes, impacting concentration and learning. To treat or manage ADHD effectively, it's essential to minimize or avoid refined sugar and maintain a healthy balanced diet to support overall well-being and brain health.[vi]

What’s The Difference Between ADHD & Anxiety?

ADHD and anxiety are distinct mental health disorders that can present with overlapping symptoms, leading to diagnostic challenges.

ADHD primarily involves difficulties with attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, impacting an individual's ability to concentrate and regulate behavior. It can lead to challenges in academic or work settings, as well as difficulties in daily life tasks. A child can have the above symptoms without having anxiety.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is characterized by excessive worry, fear, and apprehension. It can manifest as physical symptoms, such as restlessness, muscle tension, stomach aches or digestive problems, and increased heart rate. It can also cause difficulties in sustained focus that is not due to ADHD.[vii]

Do Video Games Make ADHD Worse?

The stimulating nature of video games makes it easy for an already under-activated brain (seen in those with ADHD) to sustain focus and it may worsen ADHD symptoms.

Excessive video game use may affect attention and behavior in some individuals with ADHD, as extended screen time can lead to hyperfocus on gaming, potentially neglecting other responsibilities or tasks.

However, not all individuals with ADHD will be negatively impacted by video games if it is limited.[viii]

Can ADHD Be Treated Without Drugs?

ADHD treatment without drugs is not only possible, but preferable for many patients. However, that does not mean that a patient should stop taking ADHD medications unless they’ve been advised to do so by a Physician. At times, medication may be necessary as a temporary bridge until brain map-guided neurofeedback becomes effective at improving brain regulation.

ADHD medications have been shown to be temporarily effective, but the effects can be short-lived once the medication wears off.

At the Drake Institute, our non-drug ADHD treatment protocols can help reduce, or in some cases, eliminate, the need for ADHD medications, as our treatment process addresses the underlying cause of the symptoms and thusly can offer long-term symptom relief.

How To Treat ADHD & Anxiety?

ADHD and Anxiety can appear similar on the surface, but there are some key differences between them. 

In short, if a child is distracted and unable to focus due to worrisome thoughts, then he or she is probably suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. If the child’s mind is quiet and calm, but he or she is still easily distracted, then ADHD is more likely to be the cause of the inattention.

For more information on this topic, please read our article on ADHD vs. Anxiety.

What Is The Most Effective Treatment For ADHD?

At the Drake Institute, we believe the most effective treatment for ADHD is the one that focuses on the underlying cause of the symptoms: the dysregulation of the brain linked to symptoms.

That’s why the foundation for our non-drug treatment protocols for ADHD is derived from the qEEG brain mapping with clinical correlation.

By identifying the areas or networks of the brain that are dysregulated causing symptoms, we can create custom-tailored ADHD treatment protocols to help each patient’s unique needs.

What Helps ADHD Naturally?

A healthy diet, exercise, and meditation (in older adolescents or adults) are supportive for helping reduce ADHD symptoms.

However, while these natural ADHD remedies may reduce the severity of certain ADHD symptoms, they do not address the individual’s underlying brain dysregulation.

What Vitamins Help With ADHD?

There are several vitamins and minerals that can help with ADHD if there is a deficiency, including Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, and others.

For a full list of vitamins and minerals that help with ADHD, please read our article on the Best ADHD Supplements & Vitamins For Kids.

What Happens If ADHD Is Left Untreated?

Left untreated, ADHD can significantly compromise an individual’s chances of having a normal or successful life.

Indeed, ADHD can lead to academic underachievement, poor performance at work, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, and increased relationship problems in adulthood and more.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of ADHD, it’s important to seek professional help ASAP.

How Effective Is Behavioral Therapy For ADHD?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for ADHD can be an effective adjunctive treatment option for some individuals to help deal with emotional problems that derive from neurophysiologic ADHD. It doesn’t treat the neurophysiologic ADHD itself, but it may help with coping strategies.

That said, the results generated through CBT can be further enhanced with treatment protocols like Neurofeedback and Neuromodulation.

With the help of these treatment protocols, patients afflicted with ADHD can reduce symptoms..

What Foods Are Good For A Child With ADHD?

The best foods for children with ADHD are natural foods with essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, removing processed foods containing artificial flavorings and colorings can also help in the treatment of ADHD.

Can a child grow out of ADHD?

Research has shown that more than half of children with ADHD will continue to have disruptive symptoms in their adult life.

Although some individuals may feel that they’ve “outgrown” their ADHD, in fact they may have only outgrown some of their symptoms. For example, some individuals are no longer hyperactive or impulsive as adults, but may still continue to suffer from inattention and problems in executive functioning.

Therefore, it’s important for individuals who are struggling with ADHD to seek professional help ASAP, since leaving ADHD untreated can result in poor performance at school, work, and impaired relationships. [ix]











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dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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