Hypnosis and ADHD

Author – Richard Ingate, PHN Research Officer

I came across a newspaper article in which a sufferer of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had gone to a hypnotherapist for help with the condition and been so inspired that they trained as a hypnotherapist and now specialise in helping other people with ADHD.

Here is the article.

It is not very specific about what aspect of hypnotherapy helped Jamie the most effectively but we can applaud that he was helped and has gone on to train himself and help others.
I was stimulated to find some more in depth research on the use of hypnosis with ADHD and came across The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestions on Reaction Times in Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls

What I particularly like about this study is that it gives some details about what hypnosis techniques and suggestions were actually used.

“The hypnotic induction was carried out in a structured way, whilst allowing for some personal modification (time to close eyes). This induction consisted of eye fixation, relaxation and deepening of hypnosis by counting numbers, and took around 8 minutes to carry out… The suggestions (translated from Finnish) were: After a while, when the task begins, you are very attentive and quick. You hear the letters easily. You are focused and specifically hear the target letter. The target letter is A/I/U/Y. When the task begins you hear the target letter accurately and react quickly. Other sounds or things do not disrupt your concentration and you do not at all care about the other letters. You are very attentive and focused, and you react to the target letter by pressing the button very quickly. The impulse from your mind to your finger is instantaneous and you react very quickly and accurately. All your attention is focused on the target letter and you react very quickly and accurately.”

The results of the study were mildly positive for improving reaction times during a task requiring sustained attention, not especially earth shattering, however the paper also devotes a section to the positive clinical implications of using hypnotherapy for ADHD and even cites a study where hypnotherapy had a better long-term outcome than CBT (Hiltunen S et al. 2014).

So all in all, a positive picture for hypnotherapists wanting to work with helping people to overcome ADHD. I confess to not being greatly knowledgeable in this area, so if you are and you know of more relevant research please comment on this article and make that knowledge available to all the members.

References

Hiltunen S, Virta M Salakari A, Antila M, Chydenius E, Kaski M, et al. (2014) Better long-term outcome for hypnotherapy than for CBT in adults with ADHD: results of a six-month follow-up. Contemp Hypn Integr Ther 30: 118-134

Virta M, Hiltunen S, Mattsson M, Kallio S (2015) The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestions on Reaction Times in Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126497. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126497