Is neurofeedback effective for treating ADHD?
Does neurofeedback work for ADHD?
Does neurofeedback help with attention and impulsivity, or is this a placebo effect?
There have been mixed findings about the effectiveness of neurofeedback for ADHD.
In 2009, researchers published a meta-analysisthat looked at the impact of neurofeedback on the disorder’s symptoms. They concluded that neurofeedback may lead to:
- large-scale improvements in impulsivity and inattention
- medium-scale improvements in hyperactivity
The authors suggested that neurofeedback might be “efficacious and specific” treatment for symptoms of ADHD.
In 2011, researchers suggested that neurofeedback may have a placebo effect.
They conducted a study in which eight young participants aged 8–15 years underwent 30 sessions of neurofeedback, while six others received fake neurofeedback. Both groups experienced similar changes.
A 2013 review of studies included neurofeedback in a list of interventions that may produce “statistically significant” improvements in symptoms of ADHD.
In a pilot study, also from 2013, researchers compared the effects of neurofeedback with those of stimulants, a widely accepted treatment for ADHD.
Sixteen participants aged 7–16 years took the stimulant drugs, and 16 underwent 30 sessions of neurofeedback over a period of 7–11 months. Participants who took the drugs experienced a reduction in ADHD symptoms, while those who underwent neurofeedback did not.
In 2014, researchers published a meta-analysis of results of five previous studies on neurofeedback and ADHD.
They took into account parent and teacher assessments of children who had undergone the treatment. Overall, parents had reported improvements in impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity, but teachers saw improvement only in inattention.
The researchers concluded that neurofeedback might be useful for children with ADHD.
In 2016, authors of a meta-analysis found that well-controlled trials had not provided enough evidence to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD. The authors called for further research.