Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy for Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

As with so many of the childhood problems we have already discussed, ADD or ADHD symptoms often appear early but continue into adulthood.  For the purposes of this section, our references to ADD will include the sub-type ADHD, as well as the less common sub-type Attention Deficit Inattentive Disorder, a form characterized by “spacing out” or daydreaming.

ADD is not a problem that can be cured.  Thus, the goal of all treatment is to control the symptoms.  As a result, hypnotherapy is a most successful tool in the battle.  We will first look at the causes of the symptoms, the nature of the symptoms, and the effects not only on children, but also on adults.  We will follow that with a review of treatments and, ultimately, the goals of hypnotherapy for children or adults with ADD.

The problems with ADD originate in the brain.  Brain scans show that the cortex of the brain, where thinking takes place, is asleep in those with ADD symptoms.  More specifically, the pre-cortex, the very front of the cortex, is not functioning.  This part of the brain filters all the stimuli that a person encounters.  For those with ADD, the brain is simply overwhelmed.  [For those who have read the explanations about the Middle Mind under Hypnosis Explained, you can immediately see why hypnotherapy may be a serious option for treating ADD.  For those who question, if the thinking, conscious mind is asleep, what part of the brain is calling the shots?  The only reasonable conclusion is that the subconscious or Middle Mind is in charge.  Since hypnosis is key to accessing the Middle Mind, it is clear how important hypnotherapy can be in the treatment of ADD.]  ADD is more common in males and is typically diagnosed when a child begins school.

What causes the differences of the brains of those with ADD?  It may be heredity, or it may be an innate genetic issue.  Brain diseases or injuries may contribute to it.  Activities of the mother during pregnancy, such as drinking alcohol, using drugs, or smoking, may be a factor.  Toxins or other chemical exposures may be catalysts, as well.  Finding a simple cause such as a chemical imbalance or determining the exact nature of the onset of ADD is actually a rare occurrence, so finding a cure for these symptoms may be impossible. 

All of the symptoms of ADD are behavioral, once again pointing to the value of hypnotherapy as a highly effective treatment.  Characteristics of ADD include short attention span, forgetfulness, distractibility, impulsiveness, procrastination, disorganization, poor planning, and failure to complete tasks.  ADHD adds the additional symptom of hyperactivity and is probably by far the most commonly diagnosed.

For children, ADD impacts almost every aspect of their lives.  They experience problems with nearly all learning activities related to school work.  They have trouble reading books or focusing on anything that requires concentration.  Many times, discipline issues arise, and in later years these issues can grow into criminal behaviors.  Of course, with all these problems, children face stunted social development, poor relationships with peers or family, and low self-esteem.  Ultimately depression and anxiety can overwhelm them.

In adults, ADD manifests itself in a variety of ways.  Those with ADD are often chronically late and suffer with low self-esteem and anxiety.  Some struggle to manage their frustrations and anger, while others turn to alcohol or drugs to cope.

The most common form of medical treatment is the use of pharmaceuticals, primarily stimulants.  Obviously, the goal of the physician is to activate the part of the brain that is typically asleep, particularly that part of the brain which is failing to filter the overwhelming stimuli.  Since some of these drugs work really well at activating the brain, the behaviors can change dramatically and quickly.  A single dose can completely change a client’s demeanor, behavior, and even his handwriting.

In a world interested in organic foods and all natural products, the problems with the standard medical treatments are obvious.  With these chemicals, what are the long-term consequences?  Short term side effects for stimulant-based medication includes nervousness and irritability, sleep problems, decreased appetite and weight loss, increased blood pressure, dizziness, moodiness, headaches, and stomach aches.  Less common side effects include increased behavioral tics and personality changes.  Non-stimulant medication actually causes many of the same side effects with the addition of fatigue, drowsiness, and mood swings.

Hypnotherapy offers either an alternative or a complementary tool to medication.  Since hypnotherapy is all about changing behaviors, and since ADD treatment is all about controlling behaviors, applying hypnosis-based techniques to ADD symptoms proves quite successful.

The objective of therapy is to use hypnosis to empower the client and the Middle Mind to make the changes.  The first goal is to relax and quiet the mind so that the behaviors can be modified.  The client needs to be able to focus, concentrate, retain, and recall.  Young clients will develop the skills needed to control behaviors such as fidgeting and impulsiveness.  They will learn to adjust behaviors in social situations and in educational settings.  Older more mature clients may work to address planning, procrastination, and follow-through behaviors.

The length of the therapy will vary depending upon the number and seriousness of behavioral problems, but we are not talking about years of treatment like that found in psychotherapy.  Hypnotherapists pride themselves on the speed in which clients can change their behaviors.  For the person or family impacted by ADD, hypnotherapy offers safe and rapid results.