Psychotherapy for ADHD
There are a number of types of therapy that have proven useful for treating ADHD symptoms.
Mindfulness (also called meta-cognitive therapies.) This therapy teaches people how to be aware of what and how they are thinking. Patients often fail to realize they are day-dreaming or procrastinating until they have already wasted a good deal of time. Similarly, they often engage in self-defeating behaviors, such as arriving late, without understanding why they keep repeating these maladaptive patterns.
Mindfulness allows people to maintain awareness of their thought process in the moment of action. They are then able to recognize their patterns and catch themselves early, before they have traveled too far down the wrong path. Even more impressive is that there is evidence that mindfulness practice actually leads to neurological changes in the brain. It alters the way people are wired, so that their brains are essentially rebuilt to perform better without such active effort. (There is an excellent book available on this topic.)
Behavioral/Coaching. These therapies examine what people do and helps them behave in a way that will better meet their goals. For example, if someone routinely studies at home at a desk surrounded by magazines with the television close by, reorganizing their work-space to remove distractions might help them finish with fewer interruptions. If another person spends hours surfing the net rather than using their computer to write a report for work, installing software that limits the amount of time they can spend online will keep them on track.
Treating co-morbid disorders. Because anxiety and depression can make ADHD symptoms worse, any effective therapy that treats these is likely to be beneficial in ADHD patients who have such disorders. However, it is important that these patients be seen by a clinician experienced in both types of disorders who can distinguish between the primary attention symptoms and those caused by either depression or anxiety.
Neurofeedback. This treatment uses brainwave monitoring to help people alter their brain function. Most of the research on this therapy has been performed in children. The studies so far seems to support its efficacy and there appear to be few, if any, side-effects. However, because of differences in brain anatomy, function, growth, etc., it is unclear whether the benefits seen in children would necessarily translate to an adult population.
Last updated 12/2/17