Children and adults with ADHD can benefit from various types of therapy to manage symptoms and improve interpersonal relationships. While symptoms are often controlled with medication, therapy can change behavior and address the emotional component of this difficult condition.
ADHD Therapy: Who is Involved?
ADHD therapy is typically designed for the individual, but family members may be involved. Adults and children with ADHD may participate in group therapy, in which a therapist mediates discussion among several people with the condition.
- Individual therapy: Individual sessions allow people with ADHD to learn specific behavioral techniques that can reduce stress and ADHD symptoms. Individual therapy gives patients an opportunity to discuss their concerns in a non-judgemental context.
- Group therapy: Therapy groups composed of children, teens or adults with ADHD can help affected individuals to identify with their peers and discuss methods of coping.
- Family therapy: ADHD behaviors can cause problems at home, placing a strain on relationships with parents and siblings. Individuals with ADHD and parents, siblings or spouses can benefit from learning about ADHD and methods for creating a supportive and structured home environment.
Therapy can be effective for both children and adults with ADHD.
Types of ADHD Therapy
Some types of therapy focus on behavior, while other types focus on emotions. Common therapeutic ADHD treatments include:
- Behavior therapy: Patients learn to modify their behavior to reduce symptoms of ADHD. Behavioral therapy focuses on reinforcing desirable behaviors and extinguishing undesirable behaviors. Behavioral therapy succeeds when parents and teachers follow through with the behavior plan.
- Meta-cognitive therapy: This treatment focuses on improving organizational and time-management skills. It has been effective for adults with ADHD, and may help teenagers too.
- Psychotherapy: This individualized treatment allows ADHD patients to discuss worries, fears and problems one-on-one with a therapist. This type of treatment also teaches ADHD patients ways to deal with symptoms.
- Social skills training: Individualized sessions teach people with ADHD social behaviors to help improve peer and social interactions. This can include practice with taking turns, coping skills for school or home and help with interpreting facial expressions.
Often, the best method of treatment for ADHD seems to be combination therapy, involving some mix of medications and therapeutic techniques. In combination therapy, medication changes neurotransmitter activity (the biological component of ADHD), while therapy can help modify behavior or improve a person’s emotional state or self-concept. Individual needs and symptoms should be considered when choosing an ADHD treatment plan.
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