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Neurostimulation Therapy for ADHD

For 40 years, the Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine has been a pioneer in non-drug, non-invasive treatment protocols for a variety of disorders, including ADHD, Autism, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and many others.

To advance our clinical care programs for patients with ADHD, the Drake Institute began implementing a cutting-edge technology known as neurostimulation, which has proven to be so effective for treatment for ADHD that we’ve fully integrated it into our standard treatment protocols for all ADHD patients in 2020.

With the help of neurostimulation, patients can receive therapeutic relief from their ADHD symptoms much faster than ever before. Furthermore, by utilizing alternatives to stimulant medications, this therapeutic benefit can be obtained without the risks of significant side effects, and in contrast to medications, the improvements obtained through neurostimulation are typically long-lasting.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by an inability to focus, pay attention, sit still, control impulses, and self-regulate.

However, it should be noted that individuals with ADHD can vary tremendously in their clinical symptoms or presentations. While some may be very hyperactive and exhibit significant behavioral problems, others may show no signs of hyperactivity at all and struggle solely with the attentional deficits associated with ADHD.  

Patients with ADHD are identified as fitting into one of 4 distinct subtypes of the disorder: Predominantly Inattentive presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive presentation, Combined presentation, and Unspecified ADHD. Each of these subtypes has a very specific presentation that will create unique concerns and challenges for both the patients, and their families.  

ADHD – Inattentive Presentation

Symptoms of ADHD – Inattentive Presentation include:

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

ADHD – Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

Symptoms of ADHD – Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation include:

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

ADHD – Combined Presentation

Symptoms of ADHD – Combined Presentation include

  • The presence of both inattentive symptoms along with significant hyperactivity/impulsivity

ADHD – Unspecified ADHD

  • Significant clinical impairment but does not meet full criteria for the other subtypes of ADHD

What is Neurostimulation & Neuromodulation?

Neurostimulation techniques were first used to facilitate neuroplasticity and recovery from brain injuries like strokes; however, research has shown transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has positive effects on treatment for a variety of conditions including not only ADHD, but also Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

In fact, neurostimulation and neuromodulation technology are so powerful and effective that they are now used around the globe in many world-renowned medical centers, including Harvard University School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and UCLA School of Medicine—just to name a few.

How Is Neurostimulation Used to Treat ADHD?

Despite weighing only about 2lbs., the human brain still uses about half of the body’s blood glucose to create electrochemical energy (electricity) to carry out important functions like:

  • Attention & Concentration
  • Self-monitoring
  • Learning
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Behavioral Control
  • Problem Solving
  • Executive Functioning
  • Spatial Perception
  • Language Processing
  • Sleep & Wake Cycles

That said, in order for the brain to efficiently carry out these functions, it must possess the optimal balance of brainwaves.

Brainwaves are defined by their frequencies (i.e., the rate at which the neurons fire). For example, Delta and Theta waves are categorized as slow brainwaves, while Beta waves are much faster.

Delta and Theta waves are predominant at times when the brain is under-aroused or functioning at a reduced capacity, like when a patient is sleeping or daydreaming. While this pattern may be necessary when it is time to sleep, possessing too many slow waves during hours of wakefulness may result in difficulties with focus and learning.

Faster Beta waves, however, occur when networks of neurons in the brain are more engaged. This increased speed or activation is necessary in order to adequately utilize regions of the brain involved in different cognitive functions.

Through qEEG brain mapping, we can determine if the patient’s brain is producing the optimal amount of slow and fast brainwaves. If an imbalance in brainwaves is occurring, the patient’s brain will be operating at a reduced capacity, which can result in hyperactivity, inattentiveness, or in some cases, both.

Once the dysregulation is identified, neuromodulation can then be used to stimulate a healthier brainwave pattern. This process guides the brain to mimic the stimulated brainwave patterns. Through repetition, neurostimulation “retrains” the brain to fire in more optimal patterns, resulting in healthier brain functioning and reduced ADHD symptoms.

A simple analogy to neurostimulation and neuromodulation would be learning how to hit a forehand stroke in tennis. When learning this specific technique, an instructor may hold your wrist and move your arm through the correct motion as you hit the tennis ball. And every time you hit the tennis ball with the correct motion, guided by your instructor, your brain and body are forming new connections in the brain to learn the proper motion.

After many repetitions, you can then replicate the correct tennis swing without the help of the instructor because the motion has been wired into your nervous system.

Benefits of Neuromodulation Therapy

Neuromodulation therapy for ADHD not only trains the neurons of the brain to fire at a more optimal healthier pattern, but it can also improve the connectivity of different networks or regions of the brain to increase the speed and efficiency of information processing.

All of our treatment protocols are derived from the existing scientific literature. In fact, over the last several decades, numerous clinical studies in electromagnetic therapy (pEMF) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have been published in scientific research journals reporting positive clinical improvements.

In addition to treating ADHD, neurostimulation and neuromodulation have also been shown to be clinically effective in treating:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (Post Concussive Syndrome)
  • Stroke
  • Back Pain
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Stimulant ADHD Medications

In many cases, ADHD is treated with stimulant medications. These drugs can provide temporary symptom relief for some patients, but they also carry several potentially significant side effects, including:

  • Nervousness
  • Change in personality
  • Loss of appetite
  • Suppressing growth rate
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Psychotic reactions
  • Insomnia
  • increase in blood pressure and palpitations
  • Risk of substance abuse

But that’s not all: individuals taking these medications can develop a tolerance over time and may require a higher dosage to maintain the same level of symptom reduction. Unfortunately, as the dosage of these medications increases, so does the likelihood of the patient experiencing one or more of the negative side-effects listed above.

However, with the help of neuromodulation for ADHD, in conjunction with brain-map guided neurofeedback, many patients can be successfully treated without medications.

Furthermore, ADHD medications also don’t treat the root cause of the patient’s problems, which is brain dysregulation. Because pharmaceutical treatments only treat symptoms of ADHD, rather than the underlying dysregulation that causes the disorder, patients choosing to discontinue their ADHD medications will likely see their ADHD symptoms return.

Visit the Drake Institute in Orange County Today

If you or someone you know is suffering from ADHD or from any of the disorders listed above, please don’t hesitate to contact the Drake Institute at 800-700-4233 to schedule a no-cost preliminary consultation.

The Drake Institute has 40 years of experience helping patients achieve symptom reduction, and all of our treatment programs are non-drug, non-invasive, and can provide long-term life improvements.

Contact Us Today

To get the help you or a loved one needs, call now to schedule your no-cost screening consultation.

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 Behavioral Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Behavioral 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 Behavioral 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 Behavioral Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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