24 Healing Options for any Illness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Originally a treatment for depression, cognitive behavior therapy is often recommended to those who are taking medication or supplements for ADHD but are still showing some symptoms. It is an especially common treatment for adults suffering from the disorder, though it can be done with children as well. According to National Resource Center on ADHD, "Cognitive-behavioral therapy refers to a type of mental health treatment that focuses on the thoughts and behaviors that occur in the 'here and now'."

The therapy is short-term and oriented around clearly stated goals, with an emphasis on positive thinking. There are a variety of CBT programs out there, some of which focus on helping people with ADHD overcome everyday issues with organization, time management, short- and long-term planning, and so on, while others focus on dealing with stress and emotional and behavioral issues. Each individual has his or her own needs, and CBT can easily be personalized to suit the patient's circumstances.

Many people choose to pursue cognitive behavior therapy in addition to medication or other forms of treatment. ADHD medications often target only some of the symptoms and effects of the disorder, and CBT can help fill in the gaps. For example, medication tends to focus on things like attention span and impulsivity, while CBT is more about developing good habits and improving emotional status and interpersonal relationships. CBT does not need to be used as a complementary therapy to medication, though, and can be effective on its own or when paired other alternative treatment options.

Scientific Studies:

A 2005 study showed that adults who added cognitive behavior therapy to their treatment regimen reported a decrease in severity of symptoms, depression, and overall anxiety than those who stuck to a purely pharmacological treatment, as well as better response to treatment. A similar study conducted in 2010 reported reduced ADHD symptoms and improved treatment response as well, both during treatment process and in post-treatment follow-ups months later. Additional research found that groups of adults undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy showed greater improvement in terms of self-esteem and understanding of the disorder than control groups did.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be combined with anger management training to help children who display increased aggression as part of their ADHD symptoms. Research has shown that while cognitive behavioral therapy alone can improve ADHD symptoms for both aggressive and nonaggressive children, the addition of anger management sessions can lead to even greater improvement.

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