Brain Training for ADHD

If you do not have ADHD or do not have anyone close to you with ADHD, you will never fully understand how much of a challenge it can be to get through a regular day. Paying attention is difficult and for many with ADHD it is an impossible challenge, whether they are at work, sitting in a classroom, or just taking part in an everyday conversation. Staying on track can be quite impossible for someone with ADHD, and scientists have been working on treatments that will help. Yes, there are medications people can take, but there are other alternatives, and they don’t involve drugs.

Brain Training is an Alternative to Meds

We can all use a bit of brain training from time to time, even those of us who do not have ADHD. So, just imagine what it could do for someone who has ADHD. There are many different types of brain training, including memory training exercises to improve attention spans and meditation to help people learn how to relax.

Studies show that computer-based brain training can have a very positive effect on children with ADHD. One study suggests that these types of brain training exercises that work with short-term memory can help children to be able to stay on track for longer periods of time. In these studies, it has been shown that it only takes a few days for this type of brain training to begin working.

Even though there is also research that suggests that the benefits are only short term, many schools all over the United States are using attention training exercises as part of the curriculum. Let’s take a look at working memory training and meditation, two of the exercises that are being used to help students who have ADHD, and how these exercises can benefit all students.

Working Memory Training

Working memory training is something that is used to build up parts of the brain that retain information long enough to complete certain actions. For instance, if you need to remember a telephone number long enough to make the call you keep that number in your mind until the task is completed, and then you likely forget about it. Basically, working memory training helps people with ADHD be able to solve problems and adapt to new situations when they happen.

Types of Working Memory Training Exercises

There are different types of working memory software programs that can be used which involves completing a specific amount of exercises that can be as simple as remembering numbers in reverse order and shooting asteroids like you would in a regular video game. These programs are always one step ahead of what the patient is capable of, so they are always encouraged to work on things. The more they work, the more they learn and retain.

The Benefits of Working Memory Training

Children with ADHD tend to be hyperactive and aren’t able to pay attention. Kids who take part in working memory training tend to show a vast improvement in their attention spans and they are less hyper. Parents report that their children begin to act more mature and they are able to take more responsibility, such as doing chores without being nagged about it and taking care of their personal hygiene.

Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of subjects who have done working memory training exercises showed a marked improvement in their attention span. Even after six month and one year follow-ups, they were able to show that they continued to maintain and even improve their working memory.

The Downside of Working Memory Training

One of the bad things about working memory training is that it is not really designed for younger children. It is quite difficult, so it is not the ideal thing for children who have just been recently diagnosed with ADHD in its normal form. It is best to have a handle on the medication first before beginning this type of training.

Meditation

Meditation is a great tool that involves no medication or serious thinking. It simply involves being, and relaxing the brain so one can pay better attention to their thoughts and feelings. Basically, it is used to create better self-awareness.

Not only can meditation be used to help those who suffer from ADHD, it is also a great tool for helping to lower blood pressure, manage chronic pain, and even manage certain forms of mental illness, including anxiety and depression. Meditation helps people to have better control over their attention spans, so anyone with ADHD can benefit. It can help to foster a greater awareness of one’s own self.

How Does Meditation Work?

When you are working with meditation, you are basically learning to pay attention to how you pay attention. This is going to increase mindful awareness, which is a benefit to people with ADHD because they are able to better understand their own emotional states and learn how to control their impulses.

The basic concept of meditation is pretty simple. Find a comfortable place to sit and spend a few minutes focusing on breathing in and out. If the mind wanders, refocus attention and once again concentrate on breathing. This is something that should be done daily, and every two or three weeks patients should increase the time they spend on meditation.

The Benefits of Meditation for ADHD

There are studies that show very positive results, with patients showing significant improvements with both hyperactivity and inattention. Participants in many cognitive tests found that they were able to stay focused more, even when there were many things vying for their attention. Many of the participants also said they had less anxiety and depression.

The Downside of Meditation

Many people think that mindful awareness is about staying with the breathing, when in actuality it is more about getting back to the breathing if the mind strays. Basically, breathing is just something to concentrate on. There is a long history of using meditation to treat a number of psychological issues, but there is little scientific data to back up the usage. More research is necessary.

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