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Trauma is often a cause of ADHD

*What is ADHD? – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Everybody can suffer from trauma at some point in their lives, whether a life changing trauma or repetitive ‘smaller’ traumas. Whatever the type, it can massively affect our bodies.

Rodger is not a great fan of labels, as no two people suffering from trauma or who have ADHD are the same – however they will be used in the following blog to avoid confusion.

In children, ADHD usually presents itself as a lack of concentration, focus and the inability to complete tasks – hence the ‘AD’ in ADHD representing attention deficit. Whereas ‘H’ for hyperactivity effects the musculoskeletal side of things, a child may constantly fidget or not be able to sit still for long periods of time.

Trauma on the other side is considered anything that overwhelms the nervous system.

Trauma doesn’t have to be anything major; it is simply an event that happens in our life that we cannot cope with. If the event is repeated, such as abuse, a patient will often become hypervigilant to the threat, ready for when it may arise again.

A child may suffer from a trauma at a young age, and if not handled in the correct way, this can cause the symptoms of ADHD.

As a child you may not have learnt how to navigate your nervous system, or your parents haven’t been able to contain their children’s space and helped them through difficult emotions or feelings post trauma. If this is the case, children can be left with unsolved feelings and emotions – making their nervous system overwhelmed whenever they face a perceived threat later in life.

A child may suffer from a trauma at a young age, and if not handled in the correct way, this can cause the symptoms of ADHD.

You may have heard of the 4F’s that we as humans are born with, in response to a threat. Freeze, fight, flee or fawn mode.

If we have not learnt which to react to different life events or traumas from a young age, it keeps our nervous system on edge – unsure how to respond.

We may become hypervigilant, alert to whatever is coming next. Of course, this leads us to not being able to pay attention to other things around us – since the nervous system is just focused on being ready to react – to inevitably keep us safe. We end up not likely to concentrate, not able to pay attention – otherwise known as common symptoms of ADHD.

30% of adolescents and children are on ritalin medication in America, an astonishing amount.

So, what are we getting wrong? Could it just be that ADHD is being diagnosed more? Have we learnt that children may not be ‘naughty’ but have ADHD?

30% of adolescents and children are on ritalin medication in America

Rodger believes that these children may be struggling with the ability to ‘switch off’ the nervous system.

Technology has a huge part to play in this day and age, especially among children and especially adolescents. The average time an 8–10-year-old spends on technology is 6 hours. This keeps them constantly stimulated, ready to react to whatever pops up on their screen.

This is just one of many reasons why we are seeing more people with ADHD.

Thankfully, there are many treatment options that can help.

Although Rodger isn’t the biggest advocate for medication only treatment, it can be beneficial alongside other treatment to help patients work through difficult emotions/feelings.

Trauma therapy can of course help. Somatic therapy falls under this bracket. This type of practise enables the patient to get back into their body and experience previous sensations/events without having to split away and dissociate. It works with the patient by helping them to be able to sit with the difficult sensations that may arise when thinking back to previous situations. Doing so may make the patient feel anxious and go into ‘flee’ mode, however through somatic therapy you can retrain the nervous system to become regulated and respond in a different way.

Talk therapy is often used as part as somatic therapy too – helping the patient to understand why the nervous system is deregulated.

It is crucial that talking therapy is used within somatic, as research has now shown that from Trauma cases, talk therapy alone can be worse for the patient than nothing. The reason being that talk therapy alone can often make the patient feel as if they are reliving the trauma.

As with any forms of treatment, there is not one root to take.

Another approach that Rodger may go down is craniosacral therapy. This is great for helping the nervous system drop down to a meditative state to experience in a different way. By retraining the nervous system, it stops it from us being hypervigilant to these ‘threats.

If the trauma is overwhelming the patient, Rodger may also opt for the use of EMDR – Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This helps the patient with talking through previous events and enables them to stay present and realise they are not currently going through trauma despite their body and nervous system behaving and experiencing as if it was.

Essentially, we are talking about PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder – but in the past people have generally associated this with singular major trauma such as atrocities in war zones or major sexual assault like rape or vehicle accidents. If we look at trauma and dysregulation, then we can see PTSD is much more prevalent for much more things.

Movement techniques can also be used where applicable, it is useful to release the trauma from the patient’s body and enables their emotions to shift. It helps to break the patterns that trauma sets up in the body – which might manifest as ADHD.

In Rodgers perpetual pursuit of understanding patient’s problems at a deep root level and working with chronic pain and health conditions he has studied extensively and is a trauma informed somatic therapist. He works with people with stress, chronic health issues like IBS, auto-immune issues, chronic pain.

If you are suffering a variety of issues with your health and or chronic pain, then consider talking with Rodger to see if he can help. He has many amazing success stories. Please don’t suffer un-necessarily and consider a fresh approach. He has also lived this practice himself and healed himself of a chronic health condition he suffered for 8 years so he knows it works and knows the struggle many people have.

We hope this provided some insight into ADHD and trauma, if you are interested to find out more, please get in touch today.

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