There are believed to be over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and 1 in 6 people over 80yrs have dementia, and still this figure is set to rise. There are also many younger people living with dementia too, who often get forgotten. There are over a hundred different types of dementia which affect people of all ages, but mostly adults. It is common for people to experience increased anxiety and depression after their diagnosis, which hypnotherapy helps. It can also help long term functioning and slow the rate of deterioration from dementia, according to research. People I work with feedback that it lifts the mood and improves the quality of life for a number of days following each treatment too.
A comprehensive piece of UK research compared three groups of people with dementia over nine months and then a year later. One group had weekly hypnotherapy sessions, the second group attended weekly discussion groups and the third group followed the usual dementia treatment. The study tested six areas, including; immediate memory, motivation and improving activities of daily living – and found that all six areas were positively improved in the hypnotherapy group, compared to the other two groups. One year after treatment the hypnotherapy group were still better functioning than the other groups. The simple results graphs are very impressive! Here is the research – Alternative Approaches to Supporting Individuals with Dementia – which gives the full information.
People often feel very alone and isolated when they get their diagnosis of dementia. Dementia affects almost every area of your life, and affects every individual differently. People often become very focused on what they have lost and the negative changes in their life. You may like to check out The Alzheimer’s Society website from this link, as they have a wealth of experience and information around dementia. Getting a diagnosis of dementia is a very stressful experience for the whole family, and hypnotherapy can help support people to cope with that stress and the difficult emotions it raises.
Hypnotherapy can help people to deal with some of their immediate symptoms, like anger, frustration and sleepless nights. The research clearly indicates it helps longer term cognitive functioning in all areas too. The treatment is individually tailored to help with the persons specific issues. Carers are welcome to attend the session for the comfort of the person with dementia and their own peace of mind. Some carers also choose to have their own treatment, tailored to their specific needs, during this stressful and often difficult time. This can help them cope with their stress better and therefore enhance their caring ability, enabling them to cope better and for longer.
Having worked as a social worker for over 20 years with families living with dementia, I have a good understanding of the impact it has on people’s lives and approach every person and their situation sensitively and with respect. The impact is different for each person, but it always presents challenges, sadness and a need to adapt. Hypnotherapy can support you both to adapt and adjust to your new situation and most importantly, to find some joy in life. This is vital to enable you both to enjoy your time as much as possible, rather than being overwhelmed by the condition and prognosis.
Research has found that some people have sufficient damage to the brain to get a diagnosis of dementia but were still functioning well and never diagnosed (1). This is believed to be caused by the brain realising it is becoming impaired and finding alternative ways of functioning to avoid the damaged areas. It has long been known that the brain constantly prunes and updates itself throughout our lives. Hypnotherapy can be used to make subtle suggestions to the subconscious that there is a need for it to re-route which may also have a positive impact, although this has not been proven through research at this time.
“This treatment has made such a difference to my husband. He is calmer and happier following the treatment for five or six days. It’s like he can have a break from the dementia for a while, we both can. He really enjoys it too, so he is happy to have a session, and is even happier afterwards. He’s so relaxed in the session he sometimes falls asleep!” Joan
(1) Reference from book – A Users Guide to the Brain by Jon Ratey.