A scientist at the University of Liverpool has found that hypnosis can slow down the impacts of dementia and improve quality of life for Alzheimer patients in seven main areas:
- Concentration on daily tasks thus retaining valued independence
- Relaxation thereby reducing anxiety which is a common feature
- Motivation, which helps to avoid depressive states
- Undertaking daily activities and keeping active
- Short term memory retention
- Memory for significant life events
- Socialization, thereby avoiding the tendency for self-isolation and depression.
Forensic psychologist, Dr. Simon Duff, Department of Clinical Psychology at Liverpool University, investigated the effects of hypnosis on people living with dementia. His study compared the treatment to mainstream health-care methods and to a type of group therapy which encourages participants to discuss news and current affairs.
The study found that people living with dementia who had received hypnotherapy showed an improvement in concentration, memory and socialization compared to the other treatment groups. Relaxation, motivation and daily living activities also improved with the use of hypnosis.
Dr Duff said: "Over a nine month period of weekly sessions, it became clear that the participants attending the discussion group remained the same throughout. The group who received 'treatment as usual' showed a small decline over the assessment period, yet those having regular hypnosis sessions showed real improvement across all of the areas that we looked at.
"Participants who are aware of the onset of dementia may become depressed and anxious at their gradual loss of cognitive ability and so hypnosis – which is a tool for relaxation – can really help the mind concentrate on positive activity like socialization."