Currently available ADHD medications are typically very strong, habit forming drugs, whose side-effects can often be worse than the disorder they are intended to treat. As an ADHD patient, this editor took the liberty of testing an iPhone app designed to help ease the symptoms of the disorder, either as a supplement to medication, or as a standalone treatment option. The ADHD treatment app was designed by Mind Med, a psychiatric disorder neuro-cognitive treatment technology start-up based in Ontario, Canada. According to their website, Mind Med claims their app is based on scientific and clinical research, and is shown to improve ADHD related focus.
The premise of the app is to train the patient’s executive functions, a set of cognitive abilities related to learning, communication, behavior, decision making, working memory, motivation, and self management, which are typically inhibited by the disorder. The four intended primary functions of this app are to significantly improve concentration, work on boosting learning skills, develop self-discipline and impulse control, and to increase alertness and clarity.
Once downloaded, the app implores the user at regular intervals to improve their focus through it’s use. Subsequent deployment of the app brings forth a simple interface, and offers the user to jump straight into the game. The game itself consists of a small grid, casually changing geometric shapes, a button to be pressed when the shapes change, and a timer measuring the user’s reaction time. Specific rules are set at the beginning of every level, such as for what color/shape combination a button press is not required. This challenges the user to continuously remember the specific set of rules for that level, while attempting to be quick about capturing each shape-change. As a user completes levels, the game becomes more challenging, and according to Mind Med, the focus and control that the game requires trickles over into the user’s life and off-task habits.
In my experience with the app, it is a quick and easy way to train oneself to have more control over symptoms of ADHD. I did not see significant improvements in my attention span or working memory, however, I did notice a greater amount of control over what task I am able to focus on. Hopefully, through revisions to the game, and user feedback, this forward thinking app could become a useful, and viable, standalone treatment option for ADHD.
Read more here: http://www.adhd-app.com/