When Stanley came to see us at Leigh Brain & Spine, he had neck pain, headaches, and behavior problems. He was struggling at school, at home, and with peers. That is putting it mildly, he was struggling everywhere. His behaviors were impulsive and getting him into trouble. At home, the morning and afternoon routines were filled with Stanley’s inability to get himself organized and complete his tasks without constant redirection. Inevitably, they would end in meltdowns. His parents were stressed out and argued about how to deal with it. Friendships were almost non-existent because he would not be aware of other people’s feelings so he would irritate others. They would end up letting him sit on his phone constantly because they didn’t know what else to do.
Science Shows ADHD is Made Worse by Screen Time.
In fact, a recent study shows that usage in screen-time increases is creating more diagnoses with ADHD in preschool. From what we know about how neuroplasticity, this increase at such an early age can have detrimental effects across kids’ lifespans. This is a major concern.
Anxiety increased in Kids Due to Screen Time Increase.
New studies show that anxiety is increasing for children, especially teenagers, with increased technology use. I know this is no surprise for most people but what they don’t understand is the devastating effects over time. Anxiety and depression are on the rise and it is becoming so bad that the Wolrd Health Organization just added “gaming addiction” to their classification system. It is time to offset the use of screen time on brain performance.
How Can ADHD and Anxiety Be Seen in the Brain?
Let’s talk about a real case scenario. During Stanley’s brain performance evaluation, which he enjoyed, his parents were able to see that his brain was not using the optimal performance pattern that produces calm and focused behaviors. They could literally see it with their own eyes on the color-coded map and it explained so much to them. The qEEG Brain Map showed that Stanley’s brain was operating in the modes that create symptoms of ADHD and Anxiety. That is why it is so hard for him to focus and stay calm. The irregular brain pattern that causes ADHD is one of too much slow processing speed. That is why it was almost impossible for Stanley to follow directions, get his school-work done, and remember to hand in his homework. The anxiety brain pattern kicks in to compensate for the slow processing and helps kids try to perform but ends up resulting in behavior issues, moodiness, and stress. These patterns together create incredible overwhelm for kids and some start to feel depressed.
How Does Electronic Use Impact Focus and Stress?
Electronic use has been shown to negatively affect all people with extended use, but the effects are much worse for kids with ADHD and Anxiety in the first place. What Stanley’s parents did not know is that electronic use was much worse for Stanley’s brain than other kids because of the ADHD and anxiety patterns that his brain was using. Dr. Trish Leigh teaches people that this effect is called “Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS)” and many people refer to it as “Digital Dementia”. Digital Dementia makes a child want electronic use more than other kids because it makes their brain feel good, but it is not good for them. “Electronic use wires and tires kids’ brains making them stressed, moody, and difficult to be around,” says Dr. Leigh, the mom of 5 kids that love to use their phones. This is because the brain begins to produce even more fast speed and ultimately the brain exhausts itself and begins to make even more slow speed. The cycle then becomes never-ending with repeated electronic use. Electronics continually wire the brain and then tire it, creating perpetual anxiousness, irritability, decreased ability to focus, and exhaustion.
Can Screen-Time Effects Be Reversed?
The key to helping kids reverse the effects of screen-time is to decrease the brain patterns that underly ADHD and Anxiety. Then, with new lower brain pattern baselines, the child can handle screen time without the negative effects. Neurofeedback “Brain Training” has been scientifically proven to improve the brain patterns for kids (and adults) helping them to focus, Of course, moderating screen time is very important to keep the brain in its best mode.
Stanley began Neurofeedback “Brain Training” and immediately slept better, felt calmer, and was able to regulate himself with greater ease. He could pay attention in the classroom, do his homework without freaking out, and he began to build friendships.
Stanley did not crave screen time as much as he did in the past which helped to succeed even more. He began to thrive and reach his full potential. Stanley’s mom was thrilled and commented that her relationship with her husband even improved because they no longer were arguing about Stanley all the time.
Digital Dementia is a reality in our hyper electronic use world. The best way to keep our children healthy and well is to offset the impact of their electronic use with effective treatments and then teach them to control their use after that.
If you or someone you love is struggling with ADHD or Anxiety and need help improving focus and decreasing stress, then the doctors at Leigh Brain & Spine can help. It is an easy 3 step process to get started. First, you have a qEEG Brain Map performed and have the results described in detail to you by Dr. Leigh. Next, You get started with Neurofeedback “Brain Training” and the advanced computer system does all the work while you relax. Then, you begin succeeding at new levels which re-wires in the new, better brain pattern long-term. Both Dr. Cosmas Leigh and Dr. Trish Leigh provide education and coaching along the way to give you the support you need to reach your full potential.