Use of Biofeedback in the Treatment of ADHD-Related Anxiety

OverviewThe neurodevelopmental illness known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity illness (ADHD) is typified by recurrent patterns of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It impacts individuals at...
HomeHealth NewsUse of Biofeedback in the Treatment of ADHD-Related Anxiety

Use of Biofeedback in the Treatment of ADHD-Related Anxiety


The neurodevelopmental illness known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity illness (ADHD) is typified by recurrent patterns of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It impacts individuals at all ages and frequently poses difficulties in a variety of spheres of life. The frequency of anxiety, which commonly coexists with ADHD, is one aspect of the illness that is frequently disregarded. This paper explores the complex connection between anxiety and ADHD, concentrating on the therapeutic potential of biofeedback in reducing anxiety symptoms linked to ADHD.

Recognizing the Comorbidity of Anxiety and ADHD

ADHD is a complex illness that goes beyond hyperactivity and attention problems. Anxiety disorders are among the most common comorbid conditions experienced by individuals with ADHD. In the context of ADHD, anxiety can take many different forms, such as performance anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety. The interaction between these two disorders has the potential to worsen symptoms and have a major negative effect on a person’s general health.

The Connection Between Anxiety and ADHD

It is critical to investigate the underlying brain mechanisms in order to fully understand the connection between anxiety and ADHD. It is believed that both disorders are caused by dysregulation of neurotransmitter systems, including those involved in dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitter abnormalities are frequently seen in ADHD patients, which adds to their distinctive symptoms. Conversely, a heightened state of alertness when the brain finds it difficult to appropriately manage stress responses may give birth to anxiety.

There is a complicated reciprocal relationship between anxiety and ADHD. One way that ADHD’s impulsivity and inattention might exacerbate anxiety is by making people more stressed and anxious. However, long-term anxiety can worsen attention deficit disorder and concentration problems, aggravating symptoms of ADHD. This complex interaction calls for a multimodal strategy to treatment that takes care of both issues at once.

The Function of Biofeedback in the Treatment of ADHD and Anxiety

Through real-time monitoring and feedback, biofeedback is an innovative treatment strategy that enables people to take voluntary control over physiological processes. It has become well-known as a non-invasive, drug-free treatment for a range of mental health issues, such as ADHD and anxiety disorders. The theory behind using biofeedback to treat anxiety associated with ADHD is that people can learn to self-regulate their physiological responses, which will enhance their emotional and cognitive functioning.

Neurofeedback and Managing Symptoms of ADHD

Neurofeedback, often called EEG biofeedback, is one type of biofeedback that is becoming more and more popular in the treatment of anxiety associated with ADHD. Neurofeedback is a technique that measures brainwave activity and gives people immediate feedback so they can deliberately alter their brainwave patterns. By teaching people to manage particular brainwave frequencies, neurofeedback primarily aims to improve attention and impulsive control in the context of ADHD.

Studies have revealed encouraging findings on how well neurofeedback works to lessen ADHD symptoms. According to a meta-analysis of research that was published in the journal “Clinical EEG and Neuroscience” (Arns et al., 2009), neurofeedback significantly improved the attention and impulsive control of people with ADHD. These results imply that neurofeedback may help reduce anxiety related to ADHD indirectly by addressing the disorder’s primary symptoms.

Biofeedback on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) for the Reduction of Anxiety

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback is another aspect of biofeedback that shows promise in the treatment of anxiety associated with ADHD. HRV, or heart rate variability, is a measurement of the difference in time between subsequent heartbeats and an indicator of the autonomic nervous system’s adaptability to changing circumstances. While high HRV is connected to improved emotional regulation and resilience, low HRV is linked to greater stress and anxiety.

The goal of HRV biofeedback is to teach people how to deliberately alter their heart rate rhythms. HRV biofeedback attempts to lower physiological arousal and improve emotional well-being by encouraging a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. Considering the reciprocal relationship between anxiety and ADHD, enhancing emotional regulation using HRV biofeedback may have a beneficial effect on both sets of symptoms.

Galvanic skin response and skin conductance biofeedback

Changes in skin conductance, which are a sign of activity in the sympathetic nervous system, are the main focus of skin conductance and galvanic skin response (GSR) biofeedback. These measurements reveal information about a person’s emotional arousal and stress levels. People can take charge of their stress and anxiety levels by mastering these physiological reactions.

An investigation into the application of GSR biofeedback in children with ADHD was conducted and published in the “Journal of Attention Disorders” (Sherlin et al., 2010). The findings showed improvements in hyperactivity and attention, indicating that biofeedback treatments aimed at physiologic arousal might be beneficial in reducing symptoms of ADHD.

Obstacles and Things to Think About

Although biofeedback shows promise in treating anxiety connected to ADHD, it is important to recognize the difficulties and factors involved in using this therapeutic approach. The feasibility and accessibility of biofeedback interventions may be impacted by factors such as individual variability in treatment response, the requirement for ongoing sessions, and the availability of qualified biofeedback practitioners.


Furthermore, incorporating biofeedback into an all-encompassing treatment strategy for anxiety and ADHD requires a customized, interdisciplinary approach. When paired with other evidence-based interventions including behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and, in certain situations, medication, biofeedback may be most beneficial.

In summary

Utilizing biofeedback as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety associated with ADHD is a novel and exciting approach. Through the targeting of physiological processes and the promotion of self-regulation, biofeedback enables people to take charge of their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. The new methods of neurofeedback, HRV biofeedback, and GSR biofeedback are effective in lowering anxiety and relieving symptoms of ADHD.

Biofeedback may play a crucial role in a comprehensive and customized treatment plan for people with ADHD and concomitant anxiety as this area of study advances. Technology, neurology, and clinical practice working together could revolutionize the treatment of anxiety and ADHD and give patients afflicted with these difficult disorders new hope and opportunities.