Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is essentially brain training for ADHD. It is a short-term, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that aims to change negative thinking patterns and reformulate the way the patient feels about herself and her ADHD symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is generally considered the gold standard for psychotherapy for ADHD. While “regular CBT” can be helpful for ADHD, there are also specific types of CBT for ADHD.
Experts agree that ADHD medications are the most effective treatment for ADHD. There are different types of therapy that can help people manage ADHD. Medications can affect children differently and may have side effects, such as decreased appetite or trouble sleeping. A child may respond well to one medication but not to another.
Healthcare providers who prescribe medications may need to try different medications and doses. The AAP recommends that healthcare providers observe and adjust the dose of the medication to find the right balance between benefits and side effects. It's important for parents to work with their child's healthcare providers to find the medication that works best for their child. While there are therapists who specialize in CBT for adults with ADHD, Mitchell admits that it can be difficult to find one.
For children age 6 and older, recommendations include medication and behavioral therapy together, parent training on behavior management for children up to 12 years old, and other types of behavioral therapy and training for teens. With the right therapist and the right therapeutic approach, you can develop the skills you need to thrive with ADHD. Group therapy can be a useful way for people with ADHD to learn from others who face similar types of challenges and how they have faced or overcome them. Although there is no standardized protocol, this type of training usually includes setting goals and tasks, analyzing successes and obstacles, and solving problems.
This type of therapy is largely patient-based, focuses on symptoms and is measurable, such as planning to control anxiety or managing courses. A key feature of this type of therapy is that the therapist can use it to help the client see the difference between their inner experience and the way their behaviors affect others. Research has shown that this type of therapy can be useful because of the way meditation and mindfulness affect the brain and neuropsychiatry. Whether you're looking for concrete steps to take and skills to learn, or a more insight-oriented therapy to learn how some of your habits are affecting your life and relationships, there's a type of therapy for you.
However, the right therapist will create a space where you can feel safe managing your symptoms and learning to live with ADHD. This type of therapy can also address personal problems, such as a sense of failure or low self-esteem, which relate to the person's ability to cope with the symptoms of ADHD. A specific type of group therapy for ADHD (type of inattention), called CBT for ADHD, teaches group members how to plan, how to start and end activities, change lifestyles, and how to solve problems in these areas when they have problems. ADHD coaches aren't licensed mental health professionals, but Ramsay says training can be useful and suggests it as a complement to working with a therapist.
The types of therapy used to treat ADHD range from dialectical behavioral therapy to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. If symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsiveness, lack of attention, and failure to keep promises, cause problems in your relationships, consider having sessions with a marriage and family therapist. By Theodora Blanchfield, AMFT Theodora Blanchfield is an associate marriage and family therapist and mental health writer.