Harvard Mental Health Letter

Neurofeedback for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

The evidence base for this therapy is weak, although a well-designed study addresses some concerns.

Neurofeedback is an investigational therapy being tested and marketed for a variety of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Most of the research on neurofeedback has evaluated its use for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although sometimes likened to physical therapy for the brain, neurofeedback is actually a form of biofeedback. The goal is to help a patient learn how to control an unconscious physiological function — in this case, electrical activity in the brain. In psychological terms, neurofeedback attempts operant conditioning, in which a person learns to modify behavior based on rewards and other consequences.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »