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A drug-free treatment for ADHD

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common behavioural disorders in the UK and can have a serious impact on everyday life.

Children with ADHD tend to be hyperactive and impulsive. They have short attention spans and struggle with self-control and timing. This can affect how well they do at school and their relationships with other people, and difficulties often continue into adult life. They are also prone to problems such as depression and anxiety.

Medication is a treatment option but it doesn’t always work and benefits are often only short-term. Many teenagers dislike taking it, there can be side effects and the longer-term effects of using these treatments are unknown.

With Action funding, researchers at King’s College London are investigating the potential of a new treatment which combines playing a specially designed video game with electrical brain stimulation.

Lead researcher Professor Katya Rubia says: “Brain scans show that children with ADHD typically have poor activity in a region of the brain called the right frontal cortex.

Our new approach is designed to stimulate activity in this region without using drugs. The ultimate goal is to give children with ADHD a new, drug-free treatment option.”

Around one in 40 children in the UK has ADHD.

This project has been funded by a generous donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation.