ADHD is commonly known as a condition found in hyperactive and disorderly children. But many adults can suffer from it too. If you’re one of them, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, almost 5% of adults are currently living with some form of ADHD. Many feel it’s not a real medical condition and they just “need to pay more attention”. Which is a bit like saying you don’t have depression, you just “need to be happier”.
ADHD is a very real medical condition and the sooner you seek treatment, the better your life will be. Fortunately, medication isn’t your only option. After countless studies proving its efficacy for mental health conditions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be your best option.
What is CBT
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on what’s happening in the present. This is different from regular forms of therapy that focus on analyzing your past.
With CBT, your therapist helps you explore habits that are holding you back and teaches you to replace them with more positive habits. Since the focus of CBT is on the present, you’ll experience improvements quicker than other forms of therapy. CBT treatment can be tailored to focus specifically on certain situations, like depression, anxiety, or, in this case, adult ADHD.
Where CBT originated
According to the National Resource Center on ADHD, “cognitive therapy” was first developed in the ’60s by Aaron Beck. Albert Ellis took the concept and made it popular in the world of psychology. The center also notes that “behavior therapy” was created by B.F. Skinner, Joseph Volpe, and other mental health professionals. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, then, is a blend of both therapy types.
Cognitive behavior, in particular, was formulated based on the notion that humans have thoughts that show up automatically in response to a situation or incident. In this view, sometimes those thoughts lead to negative coping mechanisms, and sometimes they lead to positive ones. When it comes to the negative side of things, habits can include focusing specifically on the bad, perfectionistic thinking, or perceiving yourself as the cause of a negative occurrence. With CBT, you’ll learn how to break through these habits and thoughts with the help of specific techniques.
How CBT can help adult ADHD
As an adult living with ADHD, CBT can help you to better manage your time and planning—things that can be tough when you have ADHD. CBT can also help you to manage stress and managing your emotions. According to the National Resource Center on ADHD, research has found that 51% of adults with ADHD have anxiety and 32% have depression. If you’re experiencing anxiety and/or depression in addition to your ADHD, CBT can also be helpful in managing those symptoms.
While no study has done a direct comparison of the effectiveness of CBT vs. medication for ADHD, both have distinct benefits and can work well in combination. Medication is known to help manage major symptoms like focus issues and impulsivity. While CBT can help you build positive habits to manage your life more efficiently.
If you’d like to find a cognitive-behavioral therapist that is especially proficient in ADHD, take a look at The National Resource Center on ADHD‘s directory. If you’d rather have a more private and affordable option, consider online CBT solutions. You can even talk to a cognitive-behavioral therapist over chat.
Help is out there and it’s readily available, but it’s up to you to reach out and take it.