How to focus with ADHD without medication

ADHD, or Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, and some individuals also struggle with hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can interfere with daily functioning. Common symptoms include difficulty staying focused on non-preferred tasks, being easily distracted, forgetfulness, and executive dysfunction.  ADHD is most often diagnosed in childhood, though it can persist into adulthood, and symptoms can change over time. [i]

Living with ADHD can present challenges in various aspects of daily life. Individuals may struggle with organization, prioritizing, time management, and completing tasks. In school or work settings, these difficulties can impact performance and relationships. [ii]

For over 30 years, the Drake Institute has helped ADHD patients improve brain functioning and learn how to concentrate with ADHD without the use of stimulant medication. Instead of prescription drugs, we use advanced treatment technologies to create customized treatment protocols for patients with ADHD, autism, and other brain-based conditions. Brain map-guided neurofeedback and neurostimulation help our ADHD patients reduce their symptoms and lead better lives.

As an adjunct to our clinical treatment, there are a variety of focusing techniques for ADHD that can further help individuals learn how to focus with ADHD without medication. These techniques don’t optimize brain functioning like our treatment, but they are supportive and helpful.

For more information about how the Drake Institute treats ADHD and other brain-based conditions, please fill out the consultation form or call us at 800-700-4233.

Why does ADHD make it difficult to stay focused? 

When learning how to help a child with ADHD stay focused in school or how to stay focused with ADHD yourself, it’s important to understand why ADHD makes it difficult to stay focused in the first place.

ADHD’s impact on concentration and focus stems from dysregulation in regions or networks of the brain involved in sustained focusing, impulse control, and executive functioning.

This dysregulated brainwave activity can negatively impact the ADHD individual’s ability to sustain focus, organize, prioritize, initiate, and complete tasks.[iii]

The challenge of staying focused arises from difficulties in regulating attention and inhibiting the impulse to focus on irrelevant stimuli or distractions. Thus, individuals with ADHD may find it harder to filter out irrelevant stimuli, leading to an increased susceptibility to environmental distractions. Additionally, the brain’s reward system, associated with motivation and sustained attention, may be misfiring in those with ADHD. [iv]

To reduce symptoms and improve brain functioning, we suggest seeking clinical treatment with brain map-guided neurofeedback, and sometimes, adjunctively neurostimulation. These treatments can optimize healthier brain functioning, which leads to a reduction of symptoms and an improved life experience. At the Drake Institute, we have had ADHD patients who by the completion of their treatment program no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.

In addition to clinical treatment, we recommend the following supportive strategies:

ADHD focus tips

Maintaining focus when you have ADHD is certainly compromised, particularly on non-preferred tasks. Fortunately, there are several ADHD focus tips that may be helpful. While you don’t have to start all of them at once, try choosing a few to start and see what helps with ADHD focus for you. [v] [vi] [vii]

1. Create a daily tasks list

Organizing your day with a clear list of tasks can provide a roadmap for focus. Breaking down responsibilities into manageable steps helps prevent feeling overwhelmed and suffering from ADHD paralysis.

2. Create a thought dump

When the mind is racing with thoughts, taking a moment to jot everything down in a “thought dump” can help clear mental clutter. This practice can aid in focusing on one task at a time, reducing overall cognitive load.

4. Don’t be a perfectionist

Dealing with ADHD concentration difficulties can be stressful as it is. Striving for perfection can lead to self-judgment, ADHD paralysis, procrastination and certainly increased stress. Embrace the idea that tasks don’t need to be flawless, allowing for a more relaxed and achievable approach.

6. Find an accountability buddy

Having someone to share goals and progress with can provide external motivation and support. An accountability buddy can offer encouragement and help maintain focus, especially when facing challenging tasks.

7. Give yourself strict deadlines

Setting deadlines creates a sense of urgency, promoting focus and time management. Be realistic but firm in establishing timelines for tasks to prevent procrastination.

8. Remove distractions

Identify and minimize environmental distractions. This may involve turning off electronic notifications, creating a dedicated workspace, or using tools to block distracting websites during work periods.

9. Break large tasks down into smaller goals

Large tasks can be overwhelming, leading to difficulty maintaining focus. Breaking them into smaller, more manageable goals makes the overall objective seem less daunting, allows for a step-by-step approach, and can diminish susceptibility to ADHD paralysis.

10. Maintain a tidy workspace

A clutter-free environment can contribute to not feeling overwhelmed and having better mental clarity. Keeping your workspace organized minimizes visual distractions and creates a more conducive atmosphere for relevant sustained focus.

11. Get plenty of sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for cognitive function and concentration. Establishing a consistent sleep routine and ensuring sufficient rest can positively impact attention span and overall mental well-being. Poor sleep can worsen ADHD.

12. Eat a healthy diet

Nutrition plays a vital role in cognitive function. A balanced diet with sufficient nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, may support brain health and improve focus. Avoid sugar and processed foods with artificial colorings and flavorings.

13. Consider taking supplements

Consulting with a healthcare professional, consider incorporating supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, and any vitamins or minerals that lab testing documents deficiencies in. However, it's important to approach supplementation with guidance from a healthcare professional.

14. Get plenty of exercise

Physical activity has been linked to improved cognitive function and focus. Regular exercise, even in short bursts, can enhance attention and reduce restlessness.

15. Use organizational tools

Explore various tools and apps designed to aid organization and time management. Calendars, task management apps, and reminders can be valuable assets in maintaining focus and staying on top of responsibilities.

How the Drake Institute treats ADHD

Over the last 30 years, the Drake Institute has clinically pioneered the use of advanced treatment technologies to treat a variety of brain-based medical disorders such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, insomnia, and more. Using a combination of brain map-guided neurofeedback and sometimes neurostimulation, our Medical Director creates customized treatment protocols to address each patient's needs.

Brain Mapping

To develop our individualized treatment plans, we first complete a qEEG brain map analysis for each patient. Brain mapping helps us identify which specific regions or networks of the brain are dysregulated linked to symptoms.

To collect this data, 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in areas of the brain responsible for language, focus, memory, executive functioning, social/emotional understanding and behavioral/emotional regulation. The 19 sensors measure and record brainwave activity that is then processed through a normative database of neurotypical individuals.

When we compare the patient's results with those of neurotypical individuals, we can identify regions or networks of the brain that are dysregulated and causing symptoms. This information also allows us to determine how these areas are dysregulated so that we can develop specific treatment protocols that help improve brain functioning and reduce symptoms.


During neurofeedback training/treatment, sensors are once again placed on the scalp. The sensors record and display instantaneous brainwave activity visually in real-time on a computer screen with simultaneous auditory feedback as well.

During neurofeedback sessions, the patient is seeing the results of how their brain is working and with this information, they learn to improve their brainwave activity by guiding it toward healthier, more appropriately functional brainwave patterns.

We do not administer any drugs or perform invasive procedures during this process. Instead, the patient is improving their own brain functioning, guided by visual and auditory feedback.


As an adjunct to neurofeedback, we may also use neurostimulation guided by qEEG brain map findings to gently stimulate the brain into healthier functional patterns. In our experience, some patients may benefit even more from neurofeedback if we also use neurostimulation. We have found this particularly helpful for lower-functioning children on the Autism Spectrum.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

In the last forty years, Drake has helped thousands of patients with various disorders such as autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, insomnia, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and hypertension reduce or resolve their symptoms and thereby achieve a better quality of life. Call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form to get started.









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“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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