The most commonly known cause of attention problems is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Persons with this disorder struggle with attention whether they are diagnosed with the predominately Inattentive Presentation or with the Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Presentation or both. A multidisciplinary approach can be helpful at substantially improving attention and concentration.
In addition to ADHD, people with depression, anxiety, head injury, and other disorders may struggle with attention. In these cases, many individual experience improvements in attention and concentration as well. Interventions would include ensuring diagnostic clarity, coordination with your physician, psychotherapy, in addition to neurofeedback.
The choices of assesment measures is typically decided in an initial diagnostic interview. The assessment of attention typically includes a continuous performance test. This gives us an idea of how well an individual does when conducting sustained attention tasks when compared to others of the same age. Rating scales may be given to the person struggling, family members, and other observers such as teachers. Personality tests may be used as well to aid in the identification possible causes of attention difficulties. Lastly, a quantitative electro-encephlagram (qEEG) is given.
If the severity of attention difficulty meets the level that qualifies for a disorder, you will receive a referral to a physician. Regardless of severity, the qEEG can be used to identify areas of the brain that can be a target of neurotherapy. With your agreement, the physician may receive a copy of the qEEG and psychological testing report as well.
Once the planning stage is complete, biofeedback, neurofeedback/neurotherapy and psychotherapy will commence. Often this will begin with breath and heart rate training known as HRV. Another training is also common among individuals with attention problems is Sensory Motor Rhythm (SMR) training. Other forms of neurofeedback may be used to improve regional and network neurological functioning. Lastly, more traditional forms of psychotherapy may be provided to address emotional and behavioral challenges experienced by those with attention problems.