Boys with ADHD Calm Down with Dance Therapy

Curing hyperactivity with activity
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This has been shown in a research project at Karlstad University and the University College of Dance in Stockholm, Sweden. Depressed and self-destructive teenage girls were better at setting limits, and their depression was alleviated.

A research project in the province of Värmland, Sweden, shows that dance therapy is a form of treatment that can work when other more traditional treatments fail or are insufficient. “We are the first in the world to try and scientifically assess dance therapy as a form of treatment for boys with ADHD,” says Professor Erna Grönlund of the University College of Dance in Stockholm.

It may seem strange to prescribe movement and stepped up activity for boys whose problem is basically that they can’t stop moving or calm down. But it works. The exercises start at full throttle and then move on to components where you need to listen and mimic, play to music, play roles, and then perform slower and slower moves.

“It can be hard to use conversational therapy for silent teenagers who neither wish nor dare to speak about what bothers them. It turns out that dance is a good way to crank up the energy and joy of living in depressed girls. An exercise with flamenco, for instance, can also be about feeling pride and self-esteem and about setting limits and saying no,” says Erna Grönlund.

As the study group of children and adolescents – six boys and eleven girls – was very small the scientists state an urge for more follow-up studies. However, the researchers regret that this form of therapy is not used in child and youth psychiatry today, but they hope that the government authorities will actively recommend that counties introduce dance therapy as a complement. Above all in regard to boys with ADHD it seems as if the treatment needs to be repeated for the positive effects to be lasting, the authors conclude.

MEDICA.de; Source: Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)