The best new way to treat ADHD symptoms? Play a video game.

Hi. My name is Thom, and I have ADHD.

And not in the way that people mean when they say, "I have ADHD!" because we live in a world of flashy glass pocket-computers, instant gratification, and a constant bombardment of information overload.

I mean that I am diagnosed with ADHD. My brain functions differently than most people's, and I employ a combination of medication and rigorous behavioral discipline to help me thrive in a world that runs counter to my way of thinking.


There are lots of different theories about the causes of ADHD, but one thing is certain: I don't really care that much for video games.

But scientists in Durham, North Carolina, might just change my mind. They've found a way to use video games to treat the symptoms of ADHD.

NEURO+ was created by Jake Stauch, a cognitive neuroscience student and researcher at Duke University, in collaboration with the nearby Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill.

The idea for an ADHD video came came to Stauch while he was working on a project that used electroencephalogram (EEG) readings to measure people's subconscious responses to television advertisements. As he explained in an interview with Houston's ABC13 News, he started to wonder if the technology could be used to help kids with attention problems.

GIFset via ABC13 Eyewitness News.

Here's what one NEURO+ gamer had to say about his experience using the brain-controlled video game:


GIFset via Jake Stauch.

You know what's cooler than video games? Using your telekinetic ADHD superpowers to control dragons.

Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely no evidence for a correlation between video games and ADHD (or sugary drinks, for that matter). But ADHDers do have much higher thresholds for keeping our attention — one of our little quirks is that our brains don't reward us with the same chemical highs as neurotypical people, which is part of why mundane tasks get away from us so easily.

That being said, the kinetic energy of video games does tend to itch that little pleasure center in the brain. The aim of NEURO+ is to help us use that to our advantage.

A screenshot from "Axon," one of the NEURO+ games, via ABC13 Eyewitness News. #TelekineticADHDdragons

To maximize that brain control, the NEURO+ system relies on a kind of behavioral therapy called Neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback helps you work together with your brain to train yourself in better habits. The game itself essentially rewards you for focusing and sitting still, with the eventual goal of conditioning your mind to associate the excitement of telekinetically controlling a dragon with, say, combing through a spreadsheet at work (which, if you're anything like me, is pretty much the worst thing ever).

While neurofeedback has been clinically classified as a "Level 1 Best Support" intervention for ADHD, it's still not an FDA-approved treatment for the condition. It certainly helps some people, particularly when used in conjunction with therapy and medication. But don't expect to play some NEURO+ video games and then wake up one day completely ADHD-free. That's not how it works (nor should it).

I don't know. I just found this in a quick search and really wanted a picture here. Photo by Amen Clinic via Flickr.

Life with ADHD isn't all just fun and games and "ooh, look, shiny objects." It's a struggle and a superpower all at once.

Like many neurological or behavioral conditions, ADHD is egregiously misunderstood. Most of the time when I see ADHD in the news, it's someone decrying the overdiagnosis of the condition, particularly among children. And while this might be a valid complaint, it also sends a message that ADHD isn't real, that "boys will boys," or that the condition is somehow the fault of the child or the parent.

Here's the thing: ADHD is precisely what enables me to do all the things I do. Sure, it could take me one full work day to comprehend a single spreadsheet in Excel. But I also taught myself how to play Irish DADGAD-style guitar in a single weekend. I redid our entire guest room in one afternoon this summer while also neglecting to take out the trash for a week and a half. I had an easier time reading "Infinite Jest" than I do with any urgent one-page letter from my health care provider. Even with the medicine and behavioral systems that I have in place, I still struggle every single day to keep my head on straight.

But you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world.

And that's exactly what I find so refreshing about NEURO+.

It doesn't pretend to be a catchall cure for a brain functionality that doesn't need curing (but could use a little help sometimes). It's just one possible tool to help people cope with ADHD, while still being the flying telekinetic dragons that we all were born to be.

NEURO+ is available for a subscription of $100 a month, which includes the headset and games. They recommend playing about three times a week (although the game only allows you to play for one hour every 10 hours), and they suggest that you'll start seeing improvements in attentive behaviors after about a month.

(Also, just to prove a point about attention: If you read this far, please include a "!" at the end of your comment. Thanks!)

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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