has anyone had success with Hypnosis as a treatment for ADHD?

I am against meds in general, and my boyfriend of 1 year has been on the  same meds since initially diagnosed at age 14.  He takes them religiously at the exact same time every single day.  I have several concerns about this:

1.  I feel that its become a security blanket for him and he's acknowledged it as well, but is too afraid/dependent to get off.  If he was initially prescribed this as a child, and he's never been off of them since, we have no clue what he's like as a 35 y.o. adult off of the meds!  Also, the amount he is on is 2-3xs the suggested level for the prescription.  We have no research to my knowledge about long term effects of these meds, especially at the levels he is taking them at.   How long is someone REALLY supposed to be on this stuff? How much do we REALLY know about long term effects on health? 

2. We discuss having a family.... I wonder what effects these meds may have on my getting pregnant and potential birth defects, especially considering the high level he is prescribed.

3.  I've read online the positive effects of hypnosis for 'curing' ADHD, and I've pleaded him to consider it as an option.  I would like to hear from others who have successfully or not successfully tried hypnosis as an alternative treatment option.


Thank you for your feedback!




Interesting question this one,    I have tried a few times  and just sat there waiting for something to happen.   Unfortunately nothing did :( 

Then I read just yesterday of a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, on why some people fail to respond to  hypnosis. Turns out that people with reduced function in  areas of the brain responsible for executive control and focused attention  (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex)  are the ones that are unable to be put into a hypnotic trance..... So  that would be the areas of the brain where ADHD plays havoc.  So there you go, another useless bit of information read in a random journal that I somehow got distracted into reading when I should have been working  :) 

Hypnosis for sleeping

I can't speak for hypnosis for ADD but I can say that for the last few months, I have been falling to sleep to a HypnosisDownloads.com download and it is rare that I ever make it to the end of the 20 minute session.  I used to have to get up and watch TV or read or lay awake for hours.  Hot Flashes were waking me hourly and some nights I was not sleeping more than 3 hours a night.  Now I push the button, forbid myself to think of anything other than the hypnotic droaning talk on the Ipod.  Pick anyone, they all put you to sleep.  I have one for each of these: "irritability" and "misophonia" and "happy days".

Hypnosis for ADD/ADHD

Although I noticed this question was posted quite some time ago, it came up in results for a google search I was doing on hypnosis and ADD/ADHD, and I feel inclined to respond.  Someone earlier posted that they had read certain people cannot be hypnotized if they have "reduced function in areas of the brain responsible for executive control and focused attention (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex) are the ones that are unable to be put into a hypnotic trance."  That was their quote. And they made the determination that that would mean people with ADD/ADHD cannot be hypnotized.  So I have been diagnosed with ADD myself, and I am also a Board Certified Hypnotist.  For the past 17+ years now, many of my colleagues have successfully hypnotized me during our various training classes and conventions together.  I have also worked with clients who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and they did very well being hypnotized and responding positively to the work we did together.  It is especially effective for reducing feelings of anxiousness and worry, and for improving sleep quality.  There are so MANY myths and misconceptions about what hypnosis is, and especially how to know you are in this "trance" state.  If the hypnotist does not properly explain hypnosis, so that all those myths are dispelled, and/or you do not feel comfortable with that hypnotist or their process, you may not allow yourself to enter into sufficient "depth" of hypnosis for it to be effective to you.  But when you understand what hypnosis really is, then you will understand that in fact everyone can experience hypnosis and benefit from it (including anyone with ADD/ADHD).

-Linda Donalds, BCH CI



I am ADHD and once participated in a group going under hypnosis back in college years ago.  Out of the group....it worked for some people and for the rest of us....we were told just to sit quietly and watch anyway. You could immediately tell the one's where it didn't work because we were all looking around the room at each other smiling and trying not to say anything.  I wondered if it had anything to do with my ADHD (assuming it did)...but from the sound of what you are saying....this is not necessarily the case.  To be sure...I do believe you and I'm not refuting what you said but now wonder about what was being told to us back then and why that is? ( That not everyone can be hypnotized and that it will work?)





Defining Hypnosis


These are great comments and questions, thank you for replying.  And I thought after 3 years since that last post, I wouldn't hear from anyone (yet had two of you reply within a could hours).  I will do my best here to explain what you might have experienced, although there is a lot to it that a live in-person discussion would probably be easier than posting on a forum.  

First, I like to give a simple description of hypnosis that most people can relate to easily, and often discover familiarity with it.  Once you know what hypnosis is, you will understand that everyone can be hypnotized, because hypnosis is a natural state that everyone experiences all on their own.  It is not some weird "trance" state where you are unconscious.  You are still quite well aware adn remain in control.  The hypnotic state is occurring when (3) characteristics are present together.  1) First is that you have a focused concentration on something in particular, often to the point where, although you do know where you are, you have become so absorbed that you have tuned out your surroundings. 2) Second is that the more you become focused on some particular thing, the more your sense of imagination becomes activitated. You can begin to use your imagination to think about things that are not actually present in your current environment, using all of your senses -- visual, sound, touch, taste and smell -- and your emotions can respond to what you are thinking about.  The more absorbed you become, the greater the sense of heightened imagination.  And 3) Thirdly you lose your ability to accurate judge the passing of time.  As your focus is absorbed in something, and the imagination is activated, you often stop thinking about time altogether.  An actual hour passing could feel like just 10 minutes -- or the reverse, where 10 minutes feels like an hour.  In hypnosis, we call this time distortion.  So, those are the 3 characteristics of hypnosis, and when all of them are occurring together, you are naturally more receptive to suggestions that are given to you.  Now, that said, not everyone who experiences hypnosis will go into the profound states that are often observed in stage shows or public demonstrations where people do amazing and funny things.  Some enter into lighter states, and yet can benefit just as much as those who are in the deeper states.

But lets go back to those 3 characteristics for a moment, because I'm guessing they seem familiar to you in other ways.  And perhaps especially to someone with ADHD, because even though we are considered "distractible" and have a "lack of attention", we are also noted for our great imaginations, trouble keeping tract of time to the point of repeated tardiness, and for occasionally become so over-focused on something that we won't let it go (or as my husband will say, he could bomb the place and I'd ask what that noise was).  Many people will also reflect on times when they were driving their car, or reading a good book, or watching a good movie or tv show, or even when sitting on their computer.  I especially like the example of the good book, because you can be sitting there reading the book in your living room or bedroom, so absorbed that you can see and hear the people and situations in the book just as if watching a movie in your mind, activating your emotional response to laugh out loud or to cry or get angry about what happens-- and as that happens, you will even tune out someone trying to get your attention (or the phone ringing).  Hours will pass as you read that book, but you don't think of that.  But what is a book really -- a bunch of black letters printed on white paper bound together.  It is your imagination that makes it so good, which comes with focused attention and loss of time awareness.  The state of hypnosis!

So here's the thing about what happened for you years ago.  Instead of keeping your eyes closed, and thus staying focused on your inner awareness, you became curious about the other people and shifted your focus onto them.  Some respond to hypnosis very quickly even when general approaches to inducing the state are used.  Other people need a bit longer for the deeper effects to occur, or perhaps even an entirely different approach.  ADHD people need methods that use a lot of imagination and are not slow paced (or we're apt to get bored).  And I've no idea what the person/people conducting your group back then did to explain hypnosis, or the methods and suggestions used, or even if they build good rapport with you personally before your group experience.  Those are all factors in achieving success.  One-on-one hypnosis usually produces better results than group hypnosis for some of these reasons.

I hope my explanation helps?  Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Linda Donalds, BCH CI


PS> In a little while I will respond to the other person who also posted a reply -- I have to go attend to other things at the moment, but I will be back later!


Wow......Thanks For Explaining This


My head is reeling now!  I have to ask......Since you have ADHD, I have to assume you are aware of hyper focus? Dumb question I know....but what's the difference in what you just described and hyper focus?  I couldn't have given a better description of HF myself and all the things that go with it.  Exactly!  Especially time distortion.  That is the number one problem that I face and have to deal with having ADHD.

I'm smiling now thinking......is there a hypnosis treatment for reverse hypnosis for people like me who do this on there own without any help? LOL

I am being factitious to a point....and to a point I'm not.  I have wondered about something for a very long time and still don't have an exact explanation for it.  In my past, when I use to compete in swimming...our coach trained us to visualize the race ahead of time....to focus only on that and nothing else.  To picture every stroke to the point of having them counted ahead of time to the very number.  By doing this...you have already done the event in your mind.  It took years to develop this skill but to say....when the time came to do the event....you WERE literally in a trance.  As if you were out of your own body and experiencing the past in a sense (very De ja Vou).....  It became a very surreal experience where you were disconnected to your body and you could barely feel any pain or discomfort...as if you were not actually there in reality and some place else, watching your body from above and yet you were still physically connected. 

During this experience....other people, noise and even sight was narrowed to a tunnel of sensation or tiny window of perception except for your internal workings of your body, as if you just retreated inside yourself and then transcended back outside in your mind....a self imposed sensory deprivation if you will?

I just did my best to describe this in my own words but I have never had anyone truly explain this phenomenon to me.  What you just described sounded similar which is why I brought this up.

Any thoughts here....I'd love to hear your insight into this?

Thanks for the input already....I appreciate it.



Using Your Imagination to Focus on the Outcome = Hypnosis


Yes, yes - what you described in your swimming visualization is hypnosis.  It was a wonderful description too!  Some folks will get into this state quickly, being able to step into their imagery quite vividly - but for others, it takes much more practice to achieve.  But all can do it.  The technique your coach used is often referred to as the "Theater of the Mind" (and some other similar variations on the name).  He may have learned it, and knew how effective it was, but without ever knowing anything about hypnosis.  When you visualize anything frequently as if the future was happening right now, it is as if you create a blueprint for the subconscious mind to act upon to create your reality.  Of course it is always better to visualize what you do want to happen, and avoid thinking about what you don't want.  (Too many people spend their time think about what they don't want, and sending the wrong impressions to the subconscious mind.)

And yes, that hyper-focus state associated with ADHD is very much similar to the focused state of hypnosis.  And who decided to call this condition ADD and make it stand "attention deficit"?  We actually don't lack in our ability to maintain attention.  Rather than "attention" deficit, it seems to have more to do with shifting our attention, making a smooth transition from one task to another. (And some other challenges too, but that one is key.)

-Linda Donalds, BCH CI


H & I would LOVE for him to try hypnosis!

A year ago, H selected a therapist (PhD clinical psychologist) partly due to the fact that she said that she did hypnosis.  We were excited by that aspect.


For the first several weeks, the subject of hypnosis would come up, and she'd say, "next time, next time"....and then forget each time.  She was older, but still in practice.


Finally after being "put off" so many times, H stopped asking, so it was never tried.   She "fired" H as a client about 6 months ago for various reasons....continued drinking, lack of honesty, etc.  

I would still like to find a therapist who did hypnosis.

Linda...what positive results do you see with ADHD or other mentally ill patients...like OCD, anxiety, depression, etc?

When Hypnosis is Not Recommended...


I can totally hear your frustration.  There are at least two reasons why this therapist chose not to utilize hypnosis with H.  

First, it is possible that although she had taken some hypnosis training, she only knew the basic techniques and was not yet comfortable using it with her clients/patients.  Therapists are also often concerned about the client/patient having a very strong emotional response during hypnosis (called an "abreaction"), and do not fully understand how to handle such a situation.  They also worry that it could be re-traumatizing.  Which it can be, if it is not handled properly.  You have to have had good training AND gained good experience with hypnosis in order to effectively help someone who is experiencing an abreaction.  Because licensed therapists use a lot of different tools -- most of which are designed to involve talking with someone not in hypnosis -- they are far less likely to have a lot of realtime hands-on practice hypnotizing people than would a certified professional hypnotist who specializes in using hypnotism with all their clients.

Second, you mentioned that this therapist discontinued sessions with H because he was having issues with "continued drinking, lack of honesty, etc".  Hypnosis is contra-indicated in therapeutic situations when someone is under the influence of a mind-altering substance, like alcohol and drugs.  These are common struggles for someone with poorly managed ADHD, and H needs to be working with someone who specifically specializes in addictions and substance abuse.  This is important.

Yes, hypnosis can be quite helpful for people with issues like OCD, anxiety, and depression.  When ever I work with someone who has these issues, I do so under the written referral/approval of the medical doctor or therapist who is treating my client for these conditions.

I hope this information helps you.

-Linda Donalds, BCH CI