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CBT For Adults With ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be treated with medication such as stimulants.  However, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can also be treated with therapy, as well.  This article will describe one type of therapy that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be treated with.  It is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  This article will focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specifically geared toward adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  It will describe what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is, as well as describe some strategies to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

According to, the following information can be noted about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Blends these 2 therapeutic approaches based on 3 core beliefs2:

  • Cognitive activity affects behavior.
  • Cognitive activity can be monitored and modified.
  • Cognitive change can result in behavioral change.

Cognitive Therapy

Centers on the premise that how a person interprets an event is more important than the actual event. Treatment focuses on thoughts rather than overt behaviors, with the goal of reducing dysfunctional thoughts as a means to improve adjustment.

Behavioral Therapy

Emphasizes the role of basic learning principles (eg, observational learning) in developing and maintaining behavior, both adaptive and maladaptive. Focuses on the stimuli and conditions that maintain maladaptive behaviors, rather than the thoughts driving these behaviors.

What Are Some Strategies For Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

A study was conducted where patients received Cognitive Behavioral treatment and demonstrated a reduction in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms.  According to, the following information can be noted about the study:

In a study involving patients with ADHD already receiving ADHD medication treatment, those individuals randomly assigned to also receive cognitive behavioral therapy reported reductions in the core symptoms of ADHD (ie, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity) both at the end of treatment and at the end of follow-up 3 months later. The cognitive behavioral therapy program applied in this study included the following 5 components:

  • Neurocognitive skills: for example, learning strategies to improve attention control, memory, impulse control, and planning
  • Problem solving: for example, developing skilled thinking, problem identification, consequential thinking, managing conflict, and making choices
  • Emotional control: for example, managing feelings of anger and anxiety
  • Social skills: for example, recognizing the thoughts and feelings of others, empathy, negotiation skills, and conflict resolution
  • Critical reasoning: for example, evaluating options and developing effective behavioral skills


This article has described what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is.  In addition, it has also applied the theory of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to a study examining the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatment to patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.



CBT For Adults With ADHD

Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!

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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2016). CBT For Adults With ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Nov 2016
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