The terms CBT and ADHD go together these days in healthcare. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be caused by stress, which CBT alleviates.
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Here are the reasons ADHD patients are increasingly choosing CBT as a therapy.
But First, What Is CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy encompasses a group of treatments for ailments such as:
Treatment is based on the individual, as not all anxiety patients need the same exact therapy. This process encourages patients to focus on positive thoughts and behaviors. CBT has come a long way since its 1960s introduction.
Is ADHD Cognitive or Behavioral?
Traditionally, ADHD has been considered a behavioral disorder by the medical industry. When individuals get sidetracked by negative thoughts, it can induce self-destructive behavior.
But emerging theories suggest ADHD may also be a cognitive disorder because most cases don’t involve behavioral issues.
Clinical professor of Psychiatry Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. of Yale School of Medicine, has authored a book on the topic called Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults (Yale, 2006).
How Does CBT Help People With ADHD?
Many ADHD patients are given meds, which don’t always help, so they turn to CBT. Applying talk therapy helps patients overcome negative thoughts and identify where obstacles to happiness began.
Replacing negativity with positive thoughts has been a key to overcoming anxiety and depression.
How Long Does CBT Take?
According to Harvard researchers, CBT often requires half-hour to one-hour sessions for up to about six months. A more accelerated version is known as intensive CBT or i-CBT.
This faster method involves longer sessions over shorter time frames, even over a weekend up to a month.
CBT Vs. Meds
The most common treatment for social anxiety disorder has been antidepressants, but new evidence suggests CBT methods work better.
Over 100 clinical trials during a 15-year study period (1988-2013) with over 13,000 patients helped pave the way for CBT as a treatment.
CBT has been shown to be more effective plus it has fewer side effects.
For patients who don’t choose talk therapy, antidepressants appear to work the best.
One issue to consider is that CBT usually has longer-lasting effects at overcoming negative feelings that manifest into:
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CBT and Daily Life With ADHD
A major reason why CBT is moving to the forefront of ADHD treatment is that it’s the only treatment beyond prescription drugs shown to work with empirical evidence in randomized controlled trials.
Compared with traditional treatment, CBT correlates with a significant reduction in ADHD symptoms, according to studies published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The three recommended approaches by the NIH for CBT are:
- Psychoeducation and organizing/planning
- Coping with distractibility
- Adaptive thinking
Two additional options include addressing procrastination and communicating with a partner or spouse.
Changing Behaviors With CBT
One CBT technique that helps guide patients is to create a calendar with a task list. The therapist instructs the patient to set goals with priority ratings for achieving these tasks.
The therapist can further assist the patient with the following four steps:
- Discuss the problem
- Make a list of potential solutions
- Rate solutions
- Select the best solution
When patient has difficulty articulating their problems, the therapist can help them refocus on core issues. Getting the patient to think objectively in terms of problems and solutions is an important key.
The more the patient moves toward objective adaptive thinking, the more they can overcome the self-doubt that triggers self-destructive behavior.
Once the patient becomes more aware of the root of their self-doubt, they can begin setting more realistic goals that guide them toward more positive activities.
How Effective Is CBD for ADHD?
Cannabidiol is an emerging medicine that helps people manage a variety of health problems such as stress and anxiety.
As a medical solution, CBD comes in the form of oil extracted from a cannabis plant. It does not create intoxicating effects and has little to no side effects.
While CBD has helped many cancer patients deal with pain management, only limited evidence has shown it to be an effective solution for ADHD.
CBD oil, however, can help people with anxiety. Since the product has only recently emerged as a new medical solution, much more research is needed to draw conclusions on its effectiveness and reliability.
Other Methods for ADHD
There are various options to CBT that may treat ADHD. In terms of behavioral therapy, one of the key alternative solutions involves shifting to a healthier diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids.
Combined with exercise, meditation, and memory training, this solution can help improve an ADHD patient’s cognitive abilities that affect behavior.
How can an ADHD patient’s cognitive abilities be improved? Click below to schedule your appointment with an ADHD expert and leave the rest to him.
The rise of ADHD in society is a reflection of multiple negative stimuli and responses generated by a detached individual.
CBT involving cognitive and behavioral interventions has been proven to be effective when applied consistently.