Neurofeedback vs Medication: The Astonishing Story of How Neurofeedback Cured My ADHD Without Medication
by Stefani Beckerman
Note: This piece is week 11 of a 12-week series. I shift between IG TV videos and written editorial. I am the creator of WellDone, and have never had brain training before now. In this series, I document how neurofeedback training with Peak Brain Institute feels for me and affects my life. This writing is an honest account of my personal experience and is not influenced in any way by Peak Brain. Visit www.thewelldone.com or @welldoneguide to learn more.
To read the previous installment of this series, click here.
Neurofeedback vs Medication:
When I was six, I fell off my chair during an entrance test into the rigorous college-prep school I attended for 13 years. Whatever, I was bored. I suppose that means I was a bit distracted but give a girl a break—there were live peacocks running around campus!
Before they would accept me, they required me to get tested for ADHD. The test determined I had it. The learning specialist suggested the only way to help was to medicate me.
She also diagnosed me with “Selective Listening.” Can you imagine paying someone thousands of dollars to tell you your child only listens when she wants to? My mom was definitely not happy about it. She poo-pooed the diagnoses and refused to put me on medication. I have never stopped thanking her for that.
Medication is a quick fix. Slaying our inner demons of anxiety, fear, self-loathing and doubt without it is much harder and takes a long time. But what if instead of prescribing mind-altering drugs, we could safely regulate the disrupted brainwave rhythms at the root of the problem? And then instructed them in meditation basics? This is the exact strategy of Peak Brain Institute, leading experts in neurofeedback and mindfulness.
After my 12-week experience working with them to finally get relief from a lifetime of struggles, I’m convinced: It’s time we all start integrating these science-backed and increasingly accessible solutions into our traditional healing repertoire.
To be clear: I realize there are many issues and diseases that genuinely require medication for the best chance of healing and that simply require western medicine for survival. I know there is a line and I’m not suggesting we stand on only one side of it. But in many cases, the root of a person’s problems is fundamentally ignored. With so many modern tools and technologies available that can and do start the healing there, where it can make the most difference, it’s imperative we start using them. And Peak Brain has proven to me that neurofeedback might be the most powerful of all these modern healing tools.
Recently, after 23 sessions of neurofeedback, I had a second QEEG brain scan. Among many other positive changes, the results showed that my excessive theta/beta ratio dropped more than 2 standard deviations* closer to the norm. Interpretation: My ADHD is literally gone. POOF After 33 years, it no longer exists. I asked Dr. Hill if this was true for me, wouldn’t it be easier and faster to fix it in younger kids? He said absolutely.
Next question: So why isn’t this being prescribed by all schools and learning specialists to treat the root of ADHD, (brainwave irregularities,) instead of medicating children with drugs that often times, despite soothing the symptoms of one issue, create a whole different set of problems?
It seems so logical. If QEEG can help us identify the root of the problem and then use neurofeedback to help our natural brain resources fix it, and we can support that evolution with everyday mindfulness training that requires nothing other than cultivating an inner toolkit and willingness, then why are we still relying on processed pills?
During the 12 weeks it took to complete 23 sessions of neurofeedback, I also developed a mindfulness practice with the center’s coaches. With a focus on peak brain performance, these leading neuroscientists understand that evidence-based mindfulness is a powerful tool for optimizing your cognitive function, no matter what your struggles or goals are.
Better healing without medication isn’t just wishful thinking.—The Lancet, a medical journal, recently published a study that suggests that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as antidepressants at preventing people from relapsing into bouts of depression. In their words:
“Negative thoughts and feelings will return, but people can disengage from them. Rather than worrying constantly about them, people can become aware of them, understand them and accept them, and avoid being dragged down into a spiral leading back to depression.”
At times medication is absolutely the way. Other times, medication can mask the deeper issues at hand and block us from uncovering the root of the problem. If you can’t find the problem, you can’t truly fix it.
If neurofeedback makes powerful and lasting changes to the brainwave patterns that govern cognition, using only the brain’s own natural ability to learn, change and grow; and mindfulness can do the same using nothing more than deliberate practice and willingness… then why are we still medicating ourselves and our children?
No judgment on whatever path you choose, you do you! But if you’re interested in an organic approach to healing, try neurofeedback to reset your system. And then use their mindfulness programming to support your growth! This is the protocol for real, positive, long-lasting change.
In the meantime, here are 10 tips from my own mindful awareness inner toolkit that I use every day to support my neurofeedback journey, quiet my mind, be more present, and accept what is. Maybe they’ll help you too!
1. FIGURE OUT WHAT GROUNDS YOU AND DO IT DAILY.
I wake up (most) mornings and jump into the same routine. Routine balances me, allowing me to respond to the rigors of the day with a calm, secure attitude.
2. DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
Stop saying yes when you want to say no. Figure out what makes your heart smile. Spend as much time as possible doing that. This makes uncertainty exciting because there’s a faith that every moment has the potential to bring true joy.
3. RELEASE THE EGO AND SAY GOODBYE TO SELF-DOUBT.
Judgment, comparisons, fears, insecurities, and all the guilty feelings that create pain in our lives stem from the ego. Do not them guide you. Take control of your mind; empower it. And then let yourself off the hook when you can’t, you’re working on it, that’s enough.
4. STRIVE FOR UNSHAKEABLE SELF-LOVE.
Yes, we’re all crazy. Feel better now that it’s out there? We’re also all awesome; own that, because who cares about the rest? Expand on the ways you rock and forget the rest. When you feel good about yourself, you feel good about everything else.
5. TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY.
We’re all fighting the good fight and doing it the best way we know how. Everyone handles stuff differently. Choose to let things bounce off you, and they will. It’s so much easier this way!
6. LOOK WHATEVER FEELING COMES UP STRAIGHT IN THE FACE AND BE OK WITH IT.
Part of the lesson is learning to be comfortable with discomfort. Just take a deep breath and stop trying to analyze it. It is what it is, move on.
7. SLOW DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION.
When we aren’t filling the time with minutiae there’s a lot of empty space. Which is a good thing. That allows us to tune into the detail and pay attention to the signs. This is where we get little winks from the universe that we’re heading in the right direction.
The majority of our society lives from a place of fear. Get out of your adrenals. It always works out the way it’s supposed to, and it’s always alright.
9. COME FROM A PLACE OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, give and show love every way you can. Happiness is a choice, make that perspective your priority.
10. PRACTICE PATIENCE.
Keep your eye on the prize but enjoy the journey. All good things come to those who are still.
To learn more about how neurofeedback can help you and get started on your own neurofeedback journey, click here!