Whilst ADHD hypnotherapy may not be the first therapy you think about for helping you recover from ADHD, nonetheless there are many good reasons why you might want to consider it.

An increasing body of research is backing up the possibility that alternative/complementay therapies like CBT, coaching, and hypnotherapy, can indeed help children and adults suffering from ADHD.

Whilst we might assume that people with ADHD cannot be hypnotised because we think it requires a lot of focus, in fact research has shown that people with ADHD can indeed be hypnotised, with or without medication, and thus experience its benefits. [1,2,3,4,5,6]

There are also surprising studies, like those conducted by Dr. Lydia Zylowska, author of "The Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD", showing that we can also benefit from hypnotherapy's “cousin” - mindfulness – which shares many similarities to the hypnotic state, although hypnosis tends to be easier and more fun.[7,8] Hypnotherapy can also be combined with mindfulness, into what may be called "mindfulness based hypnotherapy". 

In this blog, I'm going to share with you 7 benefits hypnosis provides that can help you or your child recover from ADHD.

 

1). Hypnotherapy Can help You to Focus

That's right, medication isn't the only thing that can help you to focus. Hypnosis can too! Hypnosis can do this in various ways, by for example increasing your motivation to do something you normally find “boring,” or merely through suggestion that you are able to focus better.

If you find that hard to believe, why not check out a peer-reviewed study from 2015 that found that hypnotic suggestion could increase focus in those with ADHD https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0126497

I often work with children or young adults at university who have ADHD, and by combining hypnotherapy with practical study and revision strategies ADHD students are often able to make good improvements in this area.

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2). Hypnotherapy Can Help You Relax and De-Stress

Unlike other therapies which are based more in conscious processing or talking, hypnotherapy is unique in that the client is assisted to enter a deep state of calm and relaxed focus that they may have never experienced before, especially if they have ADHD! And that's why it may be so helpful.

People with ADHD normally report poor sleep, a racing mind, hyperactivity, and an inability to relax. This increases stress hormones and literally damages the brain. But hypnosis has the ability to help a person finally relax, and the brain can enter the parasympathetic state where the body and brain can relax, enter a state called “neuroplasticity” (the ability of the brain to make new neural connections), and improve neuronal and cellular repair processes within the body and brain itself.

3). Hypnotherapy Can Help You Sleep

This is a biggie, because even if you don't have ADHD and you have a few night's poor sleep, you will begin to perform like someone with ADHD. But what happens to people with ADHD when they have poor sleep? It's double-whammy!

In fact, sleep problems are so common in those with ADHD (67% versus 10% in the general population), that some researchers have begun to consider the possibility that ADHD might in fact be a “sleep disorder.”[9]

Whatever the truth may be, hypnotherapy is well known for improving sleep, because it teaches you how to relax. We also give clients a bedtime hypnosis track to listen to which helps falling asleep. There are compelling research studies backing up hypnosis as a natural, safe, sleep aid, which works for many people, giving 81% more deep sleep, and 67% less time being awake.[10,11]

4). Hypnotherapy Can Help You Achieve Goals

People with ADHD struggle to set goals and achieve them, and often procrastinate. Did you know that neuroscientists generally agree that the subconscious mind (the part which controls automatic processes like breathing and stores all your memories) constitutes between 90-99% of your brain.

Many people with ADHD report “The harder I try the worse it seems to get.” This is because there is reason to believe that people with ADHD are in a “hyper suggestible” state, and that just like the person who tries to stop biting their nails using sheer will power alone, this is in fact futile because the subconscious is more powerful. When there is a disagreement between the conscious (10%) and subconscious (90%) the subconscious always wins!

Hypnosis, however, helps someone with ADHD get clear about what they want, why they want it, and then communicate that clearly with their subconscious, and then achieving goals becomes much easier as the conscious and subconscious come into alignment with each other.

5). ADHD Hypnosis Can Help You Organise

The part of your brain responsible for organisation (sometimes referred to as Executive Function) is called “The Prefrontal Cortex” (PFC) at the front of the brain. It's like the CEO or Boss of the brain, which organises the other “parts” of the brain. However, this Inner Organiser is often failing to do it's job very well in people with ADHD. But hypnotherapy has the ability to switch that part of the brain back on.

Brain scanning during coaching and therapy has observed that when logical questions are asked, such as, “What can you do to improve your organisation?”, the front of the brain momentarily lights up. Modern cognitive hypnotherapy (such as the type which I practise, called Solution Focused Hypnotherapy) takes advantage of this by only asking questions which exercise your Inner Organiser.

This, followed by asking you to set yourself a goal before being hypnotised, exercises the very part of your brain which is lagging behind, and over time your Inner Organiser, responsible for executive functions such as sequencing and forward planning, begins to come back online.

This is further amplified by the fact that the relaxation of hypnosis it's self puts the brain into a state of neuroplasticity, which means that this new habit can eventually be “hard wired” into your brain.

6). Hypnosis Can Help Calm Your Emotions

People with ADHD often suffer from “emotional dysregulation”, whereby their emotions are like a roller coaster of highs and lows, and under or over react to situations and social environments. This can cause a lot of pain and distress. The reason for Emotional Dysregulation in ADHD, includes the fact that people with ADHD tend to be sensitive, have low frustration tolerance, often have low self awareness, and also struggle with social interactions.

Hypnotherapy can help someone with ADHD learn to relax, calm themselves, mitigate their sensitivity, learn about interpersonal boundaries, and even improve self awareness and social skills. Generally speaking, as hypnotherapy lowers one's stress response, activates the parasympathetic nervous system again, and stimulates the polyvagal nerve, the child or adult with ADHD will find their ability to remain calm and react appropriately increasing over time.[12]

boy with low self esteem

7). Hypnotherapy Can Improve Self Esteem

Children and adults with ADHD often report low self-esteem. This may be related to their self-identity as someone diagnosed with ADHD, and also feeling like they are not living up to their full potential because of their condition. When I work with ADHD clients, what I do is take a “strengths based” perspective, focusing primarily on their strengths (versus weaknesses) which can help them to not only make improvements, but feel better about themselves.

Another aspect that we tend to help with, is changing one's perception about ADHD, in terms of “what is ADHD” and what it means to have it. Research in the Journal of Learning Disabilities in 1992, found that the number one predictor of this outcome in those with ADHD, was their perception of ADHD being more of a “difference” than a mere brain “disorder.”

Furthermore, I have observed that many people with ADHD are very harsh on themselves and forget to positively reward themselves (psychologically and emotionally), which further lowers their positive brain chemicals. Part of the process of improving one's self esteem with ADHD, is learning to form a healthier relationship with one's self again.

 

So there you have it. Seven ways that hypnotherapy could help you, or your child, with ADHD. And to be honest, this list is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If you're wondering whether you can be hypnotised and what the research says about ADHD hypnotherapy, then why not check out this article I wrote here: Can People With ADHD be Hypnotised

If you're interested in finding out more about how ADHD hypnotherapy might be able to help you, why not sign up to my mailing list https://addvantagehypnotherapy.activehosted.com/f/3

Or why not book a Free Discovery Call with me to discuss how hypnotherapy may be able to help you or your child learn to manage or even master ADHD. I offer Remote Hypnosis (online hypnosis) using a telemedicine program called Doxy.me to clients worldwide. Click here to contact me: Contact

 


Have You Ever Considered Training to Become an ADHD Hypnotherapist? Then why not check out: Hypnosis Training & Hypnotherapy Certification – Learn Hypnosis Today!

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References

[1] HYPNOTHERAPY FOR ADULTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER: A RANDOMIZED CONTROL TRIAL, MAARIT VIRTA ET AL. CONTEMPORARY HYPNOSIS 27(1):5-18 (2010) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264382233_Hypnotherapy_for_adults_with_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_a_randomized_controlled_study

[2] Better Long Term Outcome for Hypnotherapy than CBT in Adults with ADHD: Results of 6 Month Follow Up, in Contemporary Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy, 30(3):118-134, January 2014, Maarit Et. Al: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264382321_Better_long-term_outcome_for_hypnotherapy_than_for_CBT_in_adults_with_ADHD_Results_of_a_six-month_follow-up

[3] “ADHD Medication May Improve Hypnotisability”, Psychology Today, Traci Stein, Phd: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-integrationist/201508/adhd-medication-may-enhance-hypnotizability

[4] The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestions on Reaction Times in Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls, Maarita Virta, et. al, in Plos One  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0126497

[5] Treating ADHD with Hypnosis and Neurotherapy, Annual Convention of the
American Psychological Association, Barabasz, Arreed; Barabasz, Marianne, 1991, https://archive.org/stream/ERIC_ED435076/ERIC_ED435076_djvu.txt

[6] ADHD Treatment Can be Helped with Hypnotherapy, National Council of Hypnotherapy, 2015. https://www.hypnotherapists.org.uk/5950/adhd-treatment-can-be-helped-with-hypnotherapy/

[7] MINDFULNESS MEDITATION TRAINING IN ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS WITH ADHD, LIDIA ZYLOWSKA ET AL. JORNAL OF ATTENTION DISORDERS NOVEMBER 19, 2007 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025249

[8] JOHN MITCHEL ET AL. A PILOT TRIAL OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION TRAINING FOR ADHD IN ADULTHOOD: IMPACT ON CORE SYMPTOMS, EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING AND EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION. JOURNAL OF ATTENTION DISORDERS DECEMBER 4 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24305060

[9] Is ADHD Really A Sleep Problem? in Science Daily, 2017 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170904093443.htm

[10] Maren J. Cordi, et al., Deepening Sleep By Hypnotic Suggestion, Sleep Research Society,  2014 Jun 1; 37(6): 1143–1152. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/37/6/1143/2416924

[11] Irina Chamine, PhD, Rachel Atchley, PhD, Barry S. Oken, MD, PhD, Hypnosis Intervention Effects on Sleep: A Systematic Review, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15 Feb 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786848/ 

[12] Using Hypnosis in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Pros and Cons By Catherine Fredette, Ghassan El-Baalbaki, Sylvain Neron and Veronique Palarde, March 20th 2013; https://www.intechopen.com/books/new-insights-into-anxiety-disorders/using-hypnosis-in-the-treatment-of-anxiety-disorders-pros-and-cons

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