Brain Mapping for ADHD

Brain Mapping for ADHD

Brain Mapping for ADHD

Table of Contents

Can neurofeedback and brain mapping, or quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) which tests the electrical activity of the brain, help you or your child build stronger attention and focus? In this article, you can learn how brain mapping for ADHD can be beneficial.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a common neurodevelopmental disorder among children, but it affects adults as well.


ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, yet it often lasts into adulthood. Children who have ADHD may struggle with paying attention (inattention/inability to focus well) or controlling impulsive behaviors (often acting without thinking about consequences or results). They may also be overly active (hyperactivity that does not fit the setting). An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.1 ADHD is also more common than boys than girls.

Is ADHD the Same as ADD?

ADHD and ADD – are they the same or not? They both are and are not the same disorder. ADD is the term to define one’s inability to focus for a long time. As of 2013, however, the DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, updated the diagnostic criteria for determining whether a person has ADHD and the term ADD disappeared.

Some professionals retain that both conditions are diagnosable. ADD describes a person who struggles with focus but not hyperactivity while a person with ADHD struggles with hyperactivity.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

Many of the symptoms of ADHD2, including high levels of activity, inattentiveness, and difficulty remaining still for long periods, are common to young children. In children with ADHD, though, their levels of inattention and hyperactivity are significantly greater. Symptoms of ADHD in children can cause distress in addition to problems at school, at home, or with peers.


No lab tests exist to diagnose ADHD. The condition is diagnosed by gathering information from teachers, parents, and anyone else who is close to that person. A medical evaluation is often administered to rule out other problems.


There are three types of ADHD: hyperactive/impulsive type, inattentive type, or combined type. Diagnoses are made based on symptoms that have occurred within the past six months.

Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD Symptoms

Children who experience six of the following symptoms frequently (or five for people 17 years of age or older) are diagnosed with this type of ADHD:


  • Inability to stay seated in the classroom or workplace
  • Fidgeting with hands or feet or tapping hands/feet or squirming in seat
  • Always on the go
  • Unable to do leisurely activities, such as play, quietly
  • Running about or climbing when not appropriate
  • Talking too much
  • Difficulty waiting for his or her turn, including waiting in a line
  • Blurting out answers before questions are finished or finishing peoples sentences
  • Cutting into conversations or interrupting/intruding on others, such as using other people’s things without permission

Inattentive Type ADHD Symptoms

Children who experience six of the following symptoms frequently (or five for people 17 years of age or older) are diagnosed with this type of ADHD:


  • Does not pay close attention to detail or makes careless mistakes in school or at work
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty staying focused on tasks or during activities, such as during lectures, reading, or conversations
  • Struggles to organize work or tasks
  • Frequently loses things during daily life, including books, papers, keys, cell phone, wallet, eyeglasses
  • Is easily distracted
  • Dislikes or avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Forgets daily tasks, including running errands, doing chores, returning phone calls, paying bills, and more

If you are concerned you or your child have ADHD, the first step is to talk to a healthcare provider who can determine whether the symptoms fit the diagnosis. A mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or primary care provider can make the diagnosis.

ADHD and Addiction

ADHD can have harm someone’s school or work performance and can also inhibit social development. Many people with ADHD turn to substance abuse to cope with these effects. Approximately 15% of adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD have a substance use disorder.3


ADHD and substance use disorder have been described as disorders of disinhibition, which suggests there is a vulnerability that is shared by both. On the other hand, features of ADHD, such as making impulsive decisions, can increase substance abuse risk.

What is Brain Mapping?

Brain mapping is a tool used to measure brain wave patterns in different parts of the brain. The brain is a highly complex organ comprised of billions of neurons. Neurons communicate messages to and from all parts of the human body. These messages can be measured by electrical impulses called brain waves, which can be measured with brain mapping.

Electroencephalography (EEG) measures electrical patterns of the brain at the surface of the scalp, reflecting cortical activity. Quantitative EEG (qEEG) is the analysis of a digitized EEG, often called “brain mapping.” As such, qEEG is essentially an extension of the visual EEG interpretation, further extending the understanding of the EEG in addition to brain function.


Because the brain is an electrical system, all our thoughts are generated through a network of neurons that signal to each other by way of electrical currents. The more electrical signals, the more communication between neurons. An EEG detects electrical changes involving thousands of neurons that signal at the same time.

An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, delivers a map of the brain, sharing structural information that can determine how the sizes of specific brain areas compare.

EEG is generally more cost-effective and has also been approved by the FDA to diagnose ADHD as of 2013, by way of the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System, which is a non-invasive scan that measures slow brain waves known as theta waves in addition to fast brain waves known as beta waves.

What in the Brain Can Be Mapped?

There are several functions of the brain that can be mapped. These include the following:


Researchers have determined a way to map long-term spatial memory providing insight into how we remember experiences. Previously, scientists were unable to determine how the brain retains information over a long period. New research shows there is a pattern of brain cell activity that occurs within the retrosplenial cortex.


Now that the activity has been identified, the information may be used to determine how it can be disrupted which may be useful in preventing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues.


Brain mapping identifies the root of problems in the brain. It looks at connections between neurons to determine how humans process information. In doing so, it follows the way we learn, and it can pinpoint learning disabilities. It can also highlight areas of slow activity, identify problems with brain timing, and examines why certain treatments are not working.


Brain mapping is now being used on older adults to reveal how dysfunctions in neural networks can lead to degenerative diseases. Researchers have been able to focus on three regions of the brain, the default mode network (DMN) which is responsible for thoughts and memory, the executive central network (ECN) which supports working memory, and the salience network that helps individuals transition between cognitive activities.

These regions have shown to be the most vulnerable to aging. It is believed that with more research, scientists will determine the cause of diseases to treat them at their root.

Drug Effects

Brain mapping can identify changes in the structure and performance of the brain that occur due to drug use. It has been shown that substance abuse can have detrimental effects on concentration and decision-making. Mapping has also found that cravings start in the upper region of the brain and move to the middle layer after drugs are taken.5

Brain Mapping’s Importance in Finding Disorders

Brain mapping can play a key role in finding various types of disorders in the brain including the following:

Physical Disorders

Brain mapping can be used to determine physical changes that occur in the brain due to aging alongside what might go physically wrong with the brain during brain disease and mental illness.

Emotional Disorders

Brain mapping can be effective in discovering emotional disorders like depression and anxiety in the brain. Brain mapping for ADHD is also effective. Imaging can be used to determine parts of the brain with brainwave activity typical of these conditions and to accurately diagnose an emotional disorder.

Cognitive Disorders

Neuroimaging techniques like brain mapping have made it possible for researchers to better understand brain function in people with cognitive disorders. This research could lead to a better understanding of cognitive conditions and provide more effective treatment methods.

Brain Mapping at J. Flowers

Brain mapping is a useful tool in treating ADHD and many other cognitive disorders. At J. Flowers Health Institute, we have found brain mapping to be effective in treating patients who wish to improve their mental health, increase their wellness, and leave addiction behind.

J. Flowers is a live-in mental and rehab facility. We offer a variety of programs including detox, therapies, continuing care, and treatments for adolescents, young adults, and business executives. Our evaluation systems include brain mapping and other science-based diagnostics that have proven to be effective. We focus on getting to the root of the problem and providing every one of our clients with coping methods that will allow them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Do not let mental health get in the way of enjoying the things you love. Reach out to J. Flowers today. We will help you discover the path to healing and a life of fulfillment.