ADHD Therapy for Adults: MBCT, CBT, and More

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Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be challenging to manage, but did you know that a wide range of therapies is available to help individuals lead fulfilling lives?

This blog post will explore various approaches to adult ADHD therapy, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to alternative treatments and lifestyle changes.

Short Summary

  • Understanding Adult ADHD and its treatment is vital in managing symptoms.

  • A holistic approach combining medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) & occupational therapies can benefit adults with ADHD.

  • Lifestyle changes alongside family/couples counseling & coaching are also important in finding the right mental health professional for personalized support.

Understanding Adult ADHD

Therapy for ADHD adults

Adult ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects task management, self-regulation, and functional actions, with symptoms and severity levels varying among individuals.

The core symptoms of ADHD commence in early life, before age 12, and persist into adulthood, causing significant issues.

Behavioral therapy plays a crucial role in providing instruction in coping skills and facilitating the alteration of behaviors that can be problematic for adults with ADHD.

There are several types of adult ADHD therapy, including:

ADHD therapy can assist in strategies to manage life more effectively.

Additionally, it offers the opportunity to acquire behavioral, social, and academic skills that may assist in managing ADHD symptoms throughout one’s life.

Therapy is integral in treating adult ADHD, as it can help individuals construct effective strategies for addressing their symptoms and lead more contented and successful lives.

Each type of therapy offers unique benefits, and finding the right combination of treatments tailored to an individual’s needs is the key to successfully managing ADHD.

The Role of Medication in Treating Adult ADHD

ADHD Therapy for adults

Medication is often used in treating Adult ADHD, but it may not address all aspects of the condition, such as disorganization, poor time management, and forgetfulness.

Integrating medication with additional treatments like Cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Occupational therapy, and ADHD coaching is often more effective.

It is important to closely observe ADHD medication and work with your physician to monitor side effects, assess your feelings, and adjust the dosage as necessary.

However, the possible side effects of ADHD medication vary from individual to individual, and for some, the drawbacks may exceed the advantages.

In such cases, it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable therapist who can address both ADHD and any co-occurring conditions, such as borderline personality disorder.

By combining medication with other treatments, adults with ADHD can experience improved attention and concentration while also addressing other areas of their lives that may be affected by the disorder.

This holistic approach to treatment can lead to a more balanced and well-rounded management of ADHD symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Adult ADHD

Therapy for ADHD adults

CBT is a prevalent non-pharmaceutical intervention for adults with ADHD, emphasizing confronting daily struggles, emotional self-regulation, and accompanying anxiety and depressive disorders.

Studies indicate that CBT can be beneficial in mitigating the life impairments experienced by individuals with ADHD, including procrastination and time management issues.

CBT is effective in addressing the following:

  • Daily challenges

  • Emotional self-regulation

  • Coexisting anxiety and depressive disorders

  • Time management and procrastination

  • Impulse control

  • Stress management

The combination of drug therapy and CBT is more effective in controlling ADHD symptoms than drug therapy alone.

Through CBT, adults with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms better and improve their quality of life.

As they develop coping strategies and skills to handle the challenges of daily life, their overall well-being improves, and their relationships with others strengthen

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Counseling for ADHD

MBCT combines cognitive behavior therapy interventions and mindfulness meditation to enhance ADHD symptoms by increasing present-moment awareness, improving attention control, and regulating emotion.

Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that may aid in the enhancement of mood and attention in adults with ADHD.

It has been demonstrated to enhance certain cognitive functions pertinent to ADHD, such as attention control and emotion regulation.

By incorporating mindfulness meditation into their daily lives, adults with ADHD can experience significant improvements in their symptoms and overall well-being.

This practice can provide a valuable addition to other therapies and treatments, further supporting the management of ADHD symptoms.

Occupational Therapy for Adults with ADHD

ADHD in adults therapies

Occupational therapy assists individuals in developing the skills necessary to participate in daily life activities, including self-care, work, and leisure.

For adults with ADHD, occupational therapy can enhance their organizational abilities, time management, executive functions, and social skills.

Furthermore, it can help them monitor and regulate the amount and type of sensory stimulation entering their nervous system at any time.

Occupational therapy is a promising intervention for improving daily functioning in adults with ADHD.

By focusing on developing practical skills and strategies for managing everyday life, occupational therapy can provide significant support to those living with ADHD.

Family Therapy and Couples Counseling

ADHD in adults therapies

Couples counseling and family therapy can benefit those with ADHD and their entire family unit. These therapies promote understanding and help build communication skills.

These types of therapy can focus on communication skills and problem-solving techniques, which can provide great assistance to those living with ADHD, as well as those closest to them.

Adults with ADHD may display forgetfulness, impulsivity, distraction, or irrationality, leading to tension in even the most loving relationships.

Therapy that concentrates on problems associated with unpredictability, forgetfulness, impulsivity, and irrational choices can be helpful.

Marriage and family therapy for adult ADHD addresses the issues that can arise in relationships and family life due to ADHD, such as:

  • Conflicts related to finances

  • Neglected commitments

  • Responsibilities in the home

  • Impulsive decisions

By engaging in family therapy, all family members can learn to identify the specific sources of strain and respond in healthy, constructive ways, leading to a more harmonious and unified family life.

ADHD Coaching

Adult ADHD specialist

ADHD coaching is behavioral coaching that assists adults in developing practical solutions to challenges encountered in daily life through comprehensive meetings and regular sessions.

An ADHD coach helps the individual acquire practical abilities and initiate modifications in their regular life, such as:

  • Emotional/intellectual growth

  • Strong social skills

  • Effective learning strategies

  • Compelling career and business exploration

  • Thoughtful financial planning

professional organizer can guide memory and planning aids, filing methods and also assist with time management, including tasks, to-do lists, and calendars.

This form of behavioral coaching offers practical and tailored solutions that can lead to lasting, positive change for those with ADHD.

Alternative Therapies for Adult ADHD

Alternative therapies, such as art therapy, music therapy, and equine therapy, can provide additional support for adults with ADHD.

Art therapy, for example, is a form of psychotherapy that uses visual art media as its primary mode of communication.

It can be especially beneficial for those with ADHD and other neuropsychological disorders, allowing them to express their thoughts and emotions more effectively than traditional talk therapy.

Music therapy has been proven effective in improving attention and focus, reducing hyperactivity, and strengthening social skills in adults with ADHD.

It is essential to consult with a doctor regarding alternative therapies’ potential risks and benefits before incorporating them into an ADHD treatment plan.

By exploring these options alongside more traditional therapies, individuals can create a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan to treat adult ADHD that best suits their needs.

Lifestyle Changes to Support ADHD Treatment

Implementing lifestyle changes can help regulate ADHD symptoms and support overall treatment.

Some recommended changes include:

Regular ExerciseProper SleepHealthy Diet
Exercise increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain.Establishing a consistent bedtime, ensuring the bedroom is free of light and electronic devices, avoiding caffeine consumption close to bedtime, and having a period of silence before going to sleep may be beneficial.Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support brain health and improve ADHD symptoms.
It is recommended that adults with ADHD engage in 30 minutes of activity daily.Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.Scheduling regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart.
Can improve concentration and attention.Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can substantially affect one’s concentration, attention, and disposition.Ensuring an adequate intake of zinc, iron, and magnesium
Including a little protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal.

Finding the Right Mental Health Professional

Best therapy for ADHD

Finding a skilled therapist experienced in treating ADHD is crucial for adults to learn coping mechanisms and strategies to navigate an ADHD diagnosis successfully.

Resources such as the CHADD directory and the ADHD Coaches Organization can help search for the right mental health professional.

When attending an appointment with a doctor for ADHD, it is important to bring previous evaluations and outcomes of formal examinations.

Inquiries to make of your doctor regarding ADHD may include:

  1. What type of ADHD do I have?

  2. What are the most suitable treatment options for me?

  3. What lifestyle modifications may I make to assist in managing my symptoms?

  4. How can I optimally manage my medication?

By finding the right mental health professional, adults with ADHD can ensure they receive the personalized support and guidance necessary to manage their condition and lead fulfilling lives successfully.

Online Platforms Offering ADHD Therapy

Several online therapy platforms offer ADHD therapy.

Some of these platforms include:

Online ProviderDescription
BetterHelpBetterHelp provides online counseling services, including therapy for ADHD.

They have licensed therapists specializing in ADHD treatment and can provide support, strategies, and guidance for managing ADHD symptoms.

Read our BetterHelp review here.
AmwellAmwell is a telehealth platform that offers virtual psychiatry services, including treatment for ADHD.

They have psychiatrists who can conduct assessments, manage medication, and offer therapy sessions for individuals with ADHD.

Read our Amwell review here.
Doctor On DemandDoctor On Demand offers online psychiatric services, including therapy for ADHD.

They have psychiatrists who can diagnose and provide personalized treatment plans, including therapy and medication management for ADHD.

Read our Doctor on Demand review here.


In conclusion, a comprehensive approach to adult ADHD therapy is essential for successfully managing the condition.

From cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to alternative therapies and lifestyle changes, numerous options are available for adults with ADHD to lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

By exploring various therapies and treatments, individuals can create a tailored plan that addresses their unique needs and challenges, providing them with the tools and support to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective treatment for ADHD in adults?

The most effective treatment for ADHD in adults is a combination of medication, education, skills training, and psychological counseling.

This approach helps to manage symptoms and improve overall functioning, enabling individuals with ADHD to lead successful lives.

What are the therapy goals for ADHD adults?

The overall goal for therapy in ADHD adults is to help them reduce their impulsivity and increase focus on tasks, improve daily functioning, and manage stress better.

Through metacognitive therapy, they will be better able to change their lifestyle, behaviors, and thought patterns.

What does untreated ADHD look like in adults?

Left untreated, ADHD can cause adults to struggle with maintaining focus and concentration.

In some cases, this can lead to poor academic or work performance and the development of other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Consequently, untreated adult ADHD can seriously impact one’s ability to live and function successfully.

What are the best coping skills for ADHD?

Developing healthy coping skills is key for people living with ADHD.

These coping skills include creating routines and structure, developing healthy relationships with family and friends, managing emotions, learning self-advocacy and problem-solving, and finding purpose and meaning.

What types of therapy are commonly used to treat adult ADHD?

The most popular forms of therapy for adult ADHD include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), occupational therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, ADHD coaching, and alternative therapies.

These treatments help individuals with ADHD learn coping strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Additional Resources

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About the author

Ruth Holla, MPH
Ruth Holla is a dedicated Malawian Public Health Specialist with extensive experience in nursing, research, and public health. Her career revolves around improving well-being, particularly through mental health advocacy.

As a Nursing Officer, Ruth provides compassionate patient care, implementing evidence-based practices and emphasizing a holistic approach.

As a Research Registered Nurse, she conducts groundbreaking studies on mental health and social determinants, addressing community stigma. As a Public Health Specialist, she coordinates HIV and mental health programs, targeting vulnerable populations and forging partnerships to reduce disparities.

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