ADHD/ADD? Attention Problems?
How qEEG Brain Mapping Can Help Identify What’s Really Going On
There are several types of tests commonly used by healthcare professionals to evaluate children and adults for ADHD.
The most popular are written questionnaires with rating scales that depend on someone’s opinion of what’s going on.
There are also “continuous performance tests” (CPT) administered on a computer, which challenge the client to sustain attention. Many experts believe that these tests are better at identifying impulsive symptoms than flagging symptoms of inattention.
Why a brain map is better
While those tests can be one piece of the puzzle, none provides a detailed look at how the brain is actually operating and what else might be going on.
That’s why at the Center for Brain Training we evaluate attention and concentration deficits with a qEEG brain map (quantitative EEG analysis), which does reveal how the brain is operating and what the real reason is for an attention challenge.
Advantages of a brain map
- One advantage of a qEEG is that it can help identify whether there truly is an attention/ADHD problem or another reason or contributor to what only appears to be an attention problem.For instance, certain brain patterns correlate with learning disabilities, undiagnosed auditory or visual processing issues, or struggles with math or language. Any one of these factors can result in behaviors which can look deceptively like ADHD—acting frustrated, anxious, uninterested, or distracted—but are not an attention deficit.
- Another advantage is that the information in a brain map can signal whether stimulant medication can help or not. If there is no attention problem but is, instead, a learning disability or processing issue, medication won’t be indicated. Having this information to guide a medication decision is far better than the typical “try it and see” medical approach which puts some kids and adults on high-powered psychoactive drugs that not only don’t help but can make their problem worse and cause undesirable side effects.
Technical note: Excessive slow wave activity (called the theta/beta ratio) correlates with patterns that respond well to stimulants and support their use. However, when excessive beta spindles (fast activity) exist in the EEG, it can be a contraindication for stimulants even when it’s a mixed ADD pattern. The fast patterns get speeded up with the stimulant causing more side effects from the stimulant.
How qEEG results are determined
Results of the qEEG are interpreted based on age-related, normative databases. In other words, the report details how your brain compares to the “average” brain and whether your brain deviates from the norm.
When a brain map cannot be used
If testing is required for a child’s IEP, 504’s or academic accommodations, you are likely to need the services of a psychologist to administer tests acceptable for these purposes. We may be able to refer you to a local psychologist.
Is a brain map right for you?
If you’re wondering if a brain map might be right for you, contact our office to set up a consultation with Mike Cohen to discuss your options.
Click here to learn more about brain mapping at the Center for Brain Training.