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ADD Medication versus EEG Neurofeedback

Medication versus EEG Neurofeedback for the treatment of ADD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is an inherited disorder based primarily on frontal lobe dysfunction, usually caused by a lack of normal blood flow and metabolism. The frontal lobes are responsible for attention, so it is difficult to sustain focused attention, particularly on boring tasks, for children and adults with ADD.

There are two research proven interventions to correct this dysfunction: medication like Ritalin, and EEG Neurofeedback or Biofeedback. Both have many peer-reviewed journal research studies to demonstrate their effectiveness.

What are the pros and cons of Medication and EEG Neurofeedback for the treatment of ADD


Stimulant medications were discovered in 1937 to be an effective treatment for ADD and they have proven the test of time. They kick in immediately, are well tolerated, and approximately 80% to 90% will respond to at least one of the several available. However, there may be side-effects in some cases; they may need to be taken for the rest of the persons life (which is very expensive); they do not cover the disorder for 24 hours; and it is difficult to obtain new insurance or enter the military. The biggest disadvantage is that many adolescents and young adults stop taking them, perhaps when they need them most.

EEG Neurofeedback

EEG Neurofeedback is more expensive initially because a QEEG Topographic Brainmap ($495) is important, and 30-50 sessions are necessary on average to remediate the frontal lobe dysfunction – usually excessively elevated slow brain wave activity. Eighty to 90% respond well, as measure by computerized tests, rating scales, and grades. The improvements appear to be permanent. There are rarely any side effects, IQ increases 9 – 15 points and often other disorders improve simultaneously such as depression, anxiety, head injuries, and learning disabilities, to name only a few. In the long run, it is much less expensive. In severe cases, both interventions might be necessary for optimal improvements.

Either intervention should be combined with a multi-modality approach: behavior modification, study skills, attention training exercizes, frustration coping skills, positive self-talk etc. The Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute lets parents and adults choose from all the available treatment options, including medication and EEG Neurofeedback, and with computerized testing we can usually determine the optimal medication dose within 2.5mgs.

Our Director

Robert Gurnee, MSW, DCSW, Director

Past president of the International Society of Neurofeedback & Research

Past president of the Neurofeedback Division of the Association of Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback

Our Location

Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute
8114 E. Cactus Road - Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday 8.30am to 6pm

Phone: (480) 625-4123
Fax: (480) 424-7800