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3 Reasons Therapy Should Be Part of ADHD Treatment

For many, the first ADHD treatment that comes to mind is medication. After all, ADHD is a condition rooted in the way the brain works, and ADHD meds seem to be the most effective technique we have for altering people’s brain chemistry in a way that reduces ADHD symptoms.

But ADHD meds by themselves aren’t a complete ADHD treatment program. Whether you’re currently on an ADHD medication that works for you or not, you’re missing out if you haven’t considered psychotherapy as part of your ADHD treatment. By the same token, if you haven’t yet started any ADHD treatment, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you find a good therapist as part of the process of addressing your ADHD symptoms.

TherapyThere are at least three fundamental reasons that therapy is an important part of treating ADHD. Namely, therapy helps with all of the following:

1. Creating effective coping mechanisms

An essential part of managing ADHD symptoms is learning to structure your life in a way that’s congruent with how your brain works. Doing so means finding tools and techniques that help you minimize the negative impact your symptoms have on your life, and strategically planning your life in a way that doesn’t clash with your symptoms.

Medication alone won’t give you effective coping mechanisms. When they work, meds make it possible for your brain to do things it couldn’t before, but turning those new capabilities into concrete habits that make a difference in your life requires awareness and reflection.

2. Addressing the psychological effects of living with ADHD

Going through life with ADHD leads to a whole range of secondary psychological consequences, even more so if that ADHD is undiagnosed. Your self-esteem takes a beating as you wonder why you can’t do things that other people seem to take for granted. You might start to feel that everything you do is bound to fail. Besides giving you a chronic sense of underachievement, ADHD can also wreak havoc in your relationships. As a disorder that influences every aspect of life, ADHD can lead to complex feelings that, even once you’re diagnosed, take time to untangle.

3. Developing insight into your ADHD symptoms

If you have ADHD, having ADHD is all you know. Without experiencing what it’s like to go through life not having ADHD, it’s hard to appreciate the full extent of how ADHD affects your life. Once again, this isn’t a situation where simply getting diagnosed will solve the problem. A diagnosis is a breakthrough first step, but building a comprehensive understanding of what ADHD means in your everyday life is a gradual process.

The tricky part of this is that to experience these benefits of therapy, you have to actually have a therapist who’s capable of helping you with these topics. Not all therapists are created equal, and not all therapists have a thorough understanding of ADHD. But taking the time to find a therapist who does have the necessary experience is absolutely worth the effort because making psychotherapy part of your ADHD treatment is one of the best ways there is to truly grow in your ability to manage the effect that ADHD symptoms have on your life.

Image: Flickr/Penn State

3 Reasons Therapy Should Be Part of ADHD Treatment

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2018). 3 Reasons Therapy Should Be Part of ADHD Treatment. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Sep 2018
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