Treating Your Adult ADHD: 4 Possible Treatment Options
For adults who have an ADHD diagnosis, it’s important to realize what treatment options are available. Many times, we think of children only when it comes to treatment for ADHD. But the skills taught in counseling children and teens are also useful for adults with ADHD.
Four treatment options for adult ADHD.
There are four ADHD treatment options when it comes to psychotherapy and/or counseling. These include:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
This type of therapy is often short-term and is focused on transforming a person’s mindset about how he or she views him/herself or life issues surrounding ADHD.
Some of the aspects of CBT are that it:
- Is tied to a specific goal or solving a problem related to a clear, defined way of thinking.
- Is short-term.
- Has measurable outcomes for success.
- Involves working one on one with a counselor who is trained to help the client overcome thought patterns that are detrimental to his or her lifestyle.
While ADHD in adults cannot be cured, and its symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity will always be possible, a person who undergoes CBT finds ways to cope with these tendencies to improve his or her relationships, time management skills, and communication.Examples of goals for CBT might be to eliminate or significantly decrease all-or-nothing, perfection-or-bust thinking; assuming the worst in every scenario; focusing too heavily on how things “should” be so that relationships and even employer/employee interactions can become strained; or holding to unrealistic comparisons of yourself against others.
Managing time, learning stress coping techniques, and identifying negative thought patterns help adults who have ADHD perform better at work, offer understanding and empathy in relationships, and recognize that making mistakes is normal. If you or someone you love is interested in seeking cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD-related concerns, we have several trained counselors who can help.
2. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in adults.
This type of therapy, like CBT, prioritizes social and emotional challenges that adults with ADHD face. This type of counseling, often undergone in group therapy with a trained counselor for guidance, works on four specific skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Dialectical thinking simply means balancing your thoughts, emotions, and life coping patterns. One of the central ideas behind this is validation. This means accepting a problem or a negative emotion before trying to change it.
Mindfulness focuses on doing just one thing at a time and being fully aware while doing it. Simple awareness and acceptance can bring emotional freedom when an adult with ADHD realizes that most things aren’t black and white. This acceptance often relates to distress tolerance, too, which means tolerating negative emotions instead of trying to escape them.Emotion regulation is just identifying a true emotion and recognizing it doesn’t have decision-making power; you do. This recognition can allow a person with ADHD to ask if the emotion is warranted for the situation and step outside the emotion to evaluate what steps to take next.
Interpersonal effectiveness helps a person with ADHD become aware of what he or she needs in relationships. Learning to communicate clearly based on those needs is also a key component.
3. Talk and/or schema therapy.
Many adults either were never diagnosed as children or underwent a season of being misunderstood before they were diagnosed as children. Talking through some of these emotions with a trained counselor can help an adult with ADHD uncover how he or she may still be feeling anxious, misunderstood, or incapable due to a history from childhood.
These types of therapy involve meeting with a trained counselor to discuss how these have impacted you as an adult. These can be overcome through recognizing and reframing one’s belief patterns about oneself.
4. Family therapy.
This type of therapy is designed to help you and other family members relate better. A trained counselor can help identify areas needing improvement, such as coping with stress, communication lapses, or struggles with organization, time management, or restlessness fueled by impulsivity. As a person’s loved ones gain understanding about how ADHD impacts these behaviors, the family can work as a team to identify ways to work together better.
While there are more than four ADHD treatment types for adults with ADHD, these four are the most commonly used and have the potential to really transform a person’s day-to-day life. If you or someone you love is open to exploring the best ADHD treatment for your specific situation, our trained counselors can help.
There is no reason to be afraid or ashamed of having ADHD-related patterns of struggle. Whether it’s your marriage, your work environment, relationships with friends and/or children, the impact of exploring how ADHD has affected you is crucial. It can contribute to
- Making decisions impulsively.
- Using alcohol, drugs, food, or shopping to escape negative emotions.
- Making assumptions about a person based on how you feel he or she “should” be behaving or coping.
- Missed appointments, struggle to be on time, or brain fog that causes you to forget what you were doing or lose items regularly.
- Feeling anxious or sad about why you can’t “get it together” like those around you
You do not have to suffer in silence. Our trained counselors are patient listeners who understand that it can be difficult to reach for outside help. Seeking ADHD treatment is a sign of strength, not a weakness. Find out more about how our counselors can support you and your family.
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