It is thought that ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) did not exist a century ago in the forms we are seeing with increasing prevalence today. Hyperactivity has always existed in basic forms such as difficulty in focusing and staying still, but new symptoms are proliferating at an alarming rate and specialists are searching for novel ways of alleviating the discomfort suffered by children and adults alike. Pharmaceutical interventions are not always a preferable option or suitable for everyone, so what other treatments are lined up to become the next tool in the ADHD armoury?
Generally, it is thought that keeping a mind stimulated and productive is likely to create focus through interest in an activity. A busy mind tends to tire itself out and induce better sleep, thereby reducing the propensity for anxious thoughts to interfere with our quality of life. Specific technologies are proving to be very effective at harnessing the ‘hyper-mind’ although some critics claim that it is the digital age which has contributed to the rise in ADHD cases in the first place.
AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) Technologies are at the forefront of the diagnostic tools and potential treatments which are thought to have a significant impact on the accurate assessment of symptoms.
EndeavourRx is a mobile video game for children aged 8 to 12 years. It provides stimuli for the players that specifically target the areas of the brain associated with attention. The game is designed so that the difficulty will change in real time in response to the player’s actions and choices.
73% of children reported an improvement in their attention after playing the game five days a week for four weeks.
XRHealth developed a VR therapy app for ADHD which includes a headset to transport the user to a new world where they can be fully immersed in their surroundings.
The app tracks eye movements and sends them back to the observing therapist who can then adjust the level of difficulty to match the data received.
Not all therapies involve expensive or complicated technologies, however.
ADHD often affects people’s ability to get a restful night’s sleep and research has shown a clear correlation between neurodevelopmental disorders and sleep disturbances.
One of the most successful results in achieving better sleep and overall quality of life, according to researchers, was the use of a weighted blanket. Users reported feeling ‘happier and less tired.’ Such a simple aid as a weighted blanket may not offer a cure, but it may improve symptoms by providing a sense of safety and security, possibly similar to the sensation of protective parental arms around the body that we felt as infants.
‘When little people are overwhelmed by Big Emotions, it is our job
To share our calm, not join their chaos.’
The Gottman Institute
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