Stimulant drugs like Ritalin should be used judiciously in hyperactive children because, say experts, they can have unpleasant side effects. These can range from depression and memory problems to anxiety, insomnia and growth suppression.
Nearly a million ADHD prescriptions were handed out last year in England – a figure that has more than doubled in the last decade, NHS figures show. And, according to a BBC report on a Cochrane Group study into the use of Ritalin, it is associated with an increased risk of non-serious harms such as sleeping problems and decreased appetite.
Common symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Symptoms tend to be first noticed at an early age and it is normally diagnosed between the ages of three and seven.
It is estimated that the condition affects 2-5% of school children and young people although less than half of those have the severe form that requires medication.
However, it can be a lifelong condition and many people continue to show symptoms in adulthood.
The Care Quality Commission has also warned health workers to monitor their use as they have the potential to be ‘abused’. The drugs are one of a number linked to the ‘smart-drug’ craze, where students take medication to help them focus.
Dr Tony Lloyd, from the charity ADHD Foundation, said drug treatment should be used only as an adjunct to behavioural therapies, as recommended by NHS guidelines. But he said this was not happening.
“The fact of the matter is that in the UK medication is the first line of treatment and pretty much the only line of treatment. That needs to change.”
However, hypnotherapy can help and offers a variety of therapies which can address the side-effects of Ritalin. But, says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), there should be should be a proper psychiatric diagnosis of the problem and a clear pathway for treatment.
ADDitude, which offers strategies and support for ADHD and Learning Disabilities, says some alternative therapies which involve diet and lifestyle changes can help as do others which train the brain to be more focused and less impulsive.
Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes and by working with the sub conscious mind, it can establish lasting habits for diet, insomnia, anxiety, depression, self esteem and several behavioural problems.
Research has been conducted using alternative therapies including hypnotherapy for ADHD and hypnosis has been found to help people with ADHD focus, concentrate, and control stressful situations.
Other forms of treatment that contain no side effects include psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy. These, along with hypnotherapy, can help children change their behaviour and help them realise that they can be in control of their actions.
But such therapy requires a network of support from therapists, parents, and teachers.
If you are interested in hypnotherapy to help with ADHD problems, contact a NCH therapist near you by using the NCH directory. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.