Help For ADHD Beyond Drugs

Have you ever had a conversation with someone when all of a sudden they interjected with a comment or story that was completely unrelated to what you were talking about? That person may be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or what is better known as adult ADHD.

Most of the 4.4% of the adults in the United States who suffer from ADHD use medication to help them get by, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adding cognitive behavior therapy may reap more benefits. This study shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can greatly enhance the general quality of life for those who take medication but continue suffering with residual ADHD symptoms.  Given the fact that many people are not consistent with their medication or refuse to take them at all, cognitive behavioral therapy offers an alternative way to help control these residual symptoms.

The study used two different methods of controlling these residual ADHD symptoms. The first method used relaxation techniques with educational support, and the second method use cognitive behavioral therapy.  Both methods used a random sampling of 86 volunteers who were already on medication and spread the methods out over twelve 50 minute sessions.  While both methods did show an improvement over time in reducing the residual symptoms of ADHD, the cognitive behavioral therapy method showed greater improvement. The cognitive behavior therapy techniques taught patients concrete ways to deal with various situations including:

  • how to organize and plan, problem solve and breaking down over-whelming tasks into smaller subtasks
  • how to reduce their distractibility by writing down what distracted them and how long their attention span lasted over any particular task
  • how to be more adaptive to distressing situations
  • how to include their family members for support
  • how to handle procrastination

Medication is the primary tool used to control adult ADHD but sometimes it isn’t enough. If you or someone you know continues to suffer from residual ADHD symptoms even after taking medication, perhaps the next step would be trying cognitive behavioral therapy. This study shows that cognitive behavioral therapy can help you reduce residual ADHD symptoms, which, in turn, can bring you to a better quality of life.


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