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TENS therapy for ADHD – ADHD Alternatives to medication

For most of us, sitting still and concentrating on something we want to do, or need to, is a fairly simple task but for those struggling with ADHD, simple tasks can be near impossible. Although there are several medications which can be beneficial for patients with ADHD, more and more people are searching for ADHD alternatives to medication. TENS therapy for ADHD may be the alternative they are looking for. In fact, often TENS and other electrotherapies can be used along with other therapies.

TENS therapy for ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD include an inability to pay attention, making careless mistakes, not being able to listen efficiently, inability to follow through on instructions, difficulty organizing, being easily distracted, forgetful and constant fidgeting or an inability to remain seated or calm. For parents of ADHD children, these symptoms can severely impact on home and school life and for adults, these symptoms can interfere with the ability to be efficient at work and may even prevent a person from securing a job.

Therapies that can help to reduce the symptoms by improving concentration, memory and other cognitive functions, can therefore change lives.

TENS therapy, rTMS, and TDCs all use micro-current electricity to stimulate the brain to support, improve and address various cognitive functions. There are some promising research papers dealing with rTMS, tDCS and TENS therapy for ADHD and we hope to share some of those studies with you here.

Studies on rTMS, tDCS and TENS Therapy for ADHD

In the first study, researchers studied the effects of TENS therapy on 22 children who had been diagnosed with ADHD of the combined type. The children were given treatments for 6 weeks, twice a day for 30 minutes per session. The results of the study concluded that TENS therapy for ADHD in this was encouraging and further studies were recommended. The study showed that tens seemed to have a moderate beneficial influence on the cognitive functions of the children involved in the study.

In 2012, researchers studied the effects of TMS or transcranial stimulation on the treatment of ADHD. The study consisted of 9 young adults between the ages of 15 and 20. This study used 10Hz and included a sham group as part of the study. The study concluded that rTMS was safe for use in adolescents and the researchers reports an improvement in core ADHD symptoms in the active group.

In 2010, a study was conducted to asses the positive effects of rTMS on subjects with ADHD and they found that rTMS had positive effects in 13 patients involved in the study.

1Hz stimulation has also been studied in rTMS and TENS therapy for ADHD. Researchers applied 1Hz on the motor area of the scalp in patients affected with ADHD and they found significant improvement in the patients and they also reported that the improvements lasted for 4 weeks. There was no improvement in the sham group in this trial.

TDCS therapy has also been shown to improve symptoms in young adults with ADHD. 15 children aged 12 to 16, diagnosed with ADHD, were included in a random sham-controlled study where 1mA anodal TDCS was administered for 5 days each followed by a two week pause in therapy. The therapy showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of impulsivity and inattention. The results were supported by a decrease in hyperactivity and inattention in the QbTest – the standardized working memory test. The study concluded that the results provide evidence that tDCS may help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and they offer proof of improved neuropsychological functioning in young ADHD patients.

Finally, in a sham-controlled, randomized clinical trial, researchers evaluated the effects of 2mA tDCS therapy on 17 patients who had been diagnosed with ADHD. The patients received 5 days of therapy with the anode over the right prefrontal cortex. They measured ADHD symptoms using the ADHD Self report scale and they also measured impairment using the SDS scale. They found that therapy resulted in significantly lower ASRS and SDS scores when compared to the sham group. They also observed that the improved symptoms continued after the treatment.

Safety of tTMS, TDCS and TENS therapy for ADHD

In the review of non-invasive brain stimulation for ADHD, researchers made a number of remarks regarding the safety of TENS therapy for ADHD. According to the revierw, over 800 normal and 300 neurologically abnormal children had received therapy with good tolerability and safety.

Studies showed there had been no changes in auditory function, the therapy did not cause seizures in children including those with epilepsy. There was no increased risk in seizures in children with cerebral palsy. According to their research, one case of seizure in rTMS therapy was reported in the treatment of depression although that case had other risk factors present which increased seizure risk.

In 2009, a consensus conference issued recommendations for the safe use TMS in the pediatric population that single-pulse and paired-pulse TMS was safe for children two years and older.

Obviously, if you are investigating the benefits of TENS therapy for ADHD and you are considering investing in a model MA200 device, then we suggest you work with a medical practitioner both for diagnostic and prognosis of the condition.

Conclusions on TENS therapy for ADHD

Most of the studies on TENS therapy for ADHD have concluded that TENS and other therapies like tDCS and rTMS hold potential benefits for ADHD patients. The interesting thing to note is that most of these therapies, like TENS and tDCS are also often compatible with many of the medications used so these therapies can often be used in conjunction with other medication and therapies to address the symptoms of ADHD.

This means that, working with your practitioner, you can add TENS therapy to your choice of therapies without having to discontinue other therapies or medications. Since TENS therapies may be advantageous for other things like improving memory, and even improving sleep, TENS therapy may offer a comprehensive approach which can be included in ADHD therapy making TENS therapy of ADHD a viable addition to various treatment protocols.


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