If you’re looking for an alternative way to treat ADHD symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, and sleeplessness, hypnotherapy could be the answer.
When a child is diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), parents often have concerns about which treatment is right for their child. ADHD can be managed with the right treatment. There are many treatment options, and what works best can depend on the individual child and family. To find the best options, it is recommended that parents work closely with others involved in their child’s life—healthcare providers, therapists, teachers, coaches, and other family members.
Types of treatment for ADHD include:
- Behavior therapy, including training for parents; and
Behavior Therapy, Including Training for Parents
ADHD affects not only a child’s ability to pay attention or sit still at school, it also affects relationships with family and other children. Children with ADHD often show behaviors that can be very disruptive to others. Behavior therapy is a treatment option that can help reduce these behaviors; it is often helpful to start behavior therapy as soon as a diagnosis is made.
The goals of behavior therapy are to learn or strengthen positive behaviors and eliminate unwanted or problem behaviors. Behavior therapy for ADHD can include:
- Parent training in behavior management;
- Behavior therapy with children; and
- Behavioral interventions in the classroom.
These approaches can also be used together. For children who attend early childhood programs, it is usually most effective if parents and educators work together to help the child.
Children younger than 6 years of age
For young children with ADHD, behavior therapy is an important first step before trying medication because:
- Parent training in behavior management gives parents the skills and strategies to help their child.
- Parent training in behavior management has been shown to work as well as medication for ADHD in young children.
- Young children have more side effects from ADHD medications than older children.
- The long-term effects of ADHD medications on young children have not been well-studied.
School-age children and adolescents
For children ages 6 years and older, AAP recommends combining medication treatment with behavior therapy. Several types of behavior therapies are effective, including:
- Parent training in behavior management;
- Behavioral interventions in the classroom;
- Peer interventions that focus on behavior; and
- Organizational skills training.
These approaches are often most effective if they are used together, depending on the needs of the individual child and the family.
Tips for Parents
The following are suggestions that may help with your child’s behavior:
- Create a routine. Try to follow the same schedule every day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
- Get organizedexternal icon. Encourage your child to put schoolbags, clothing, and toys in the same place every day so that they will be less likely to lose them.
- Manage distractions. Turn off the TV, limit noise, and provide a clean workspace when your child is doing homework. Some children with ADHD learn well if they are moving or listening to background music. Watch your child and see what works.
- Limit choices. To help your child not feel overwhelmed or overstimulated, offer choices with only a few options. For example, have them choose between this outfit or that one, this meal or that one, or this toy or that one.
- Be clear and specific when you talk with your child. Let your child know you are listening by describing what you heard them say. Use clear, brief directions when they need to do something.
- Help your child plan. Break down complicated tasks into simpler, shorter steps. For long tasks, starting early and taking breaks may help limit stress.
- Use goals and praise or other rewards. Use a chart to list goals and track positive behaviors, then let your child know they have done well by telling them or by rewarding their efforts in other ways. Be sure the goals are realistic – small steps are important!
- Discipline effectively. Instead of scolding, yelling, or spanking, use effective directions, time-outs or removal of privileges as consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Create positive opportunities. Children with ADHD may find certain situations stressful. Finding out and encouraging what your child does well – whether it’s school, sports, art, music, or play – can help create positive experiences.
- Provide a healthy lifestyle. Nutritious food, lots of physical activity, and sufficient sleep are important; they can help keep ADHD symptoms from getting worse.
Hypnosis is a treatment strategies, especially if you experience anxiety and sleep problems, as many others with ADHD do.
Hypnosis produces a relaxed state of heightened focus that increases receptivity to suggestions.