What Are the Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ADHD?

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  • Written By: E. Reeder
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2020
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There are many benefits to using cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People with ADHD often have distorted and negative thinking patterns that can keep them from performing at their best. They may have problems with negative self-esteem, persistent self-doubt, and problems with setting and accomplishing goals. While traditional therapy is a time-intensive process that can take months or years to produce results, cognitive behavioral therapy can quickly — usually over the course of 10 to 15 hour-long sessions — help clients with ADHD to transform their thinking in positive ways and translate their new positive thinking into positive behavioral changes.


One main benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD is that it can help diminish the negative thinking patterns and excessive self-doubt that become habitual and debilitating in ADHD sufferers. People who have ADHD might have had years of thinking that they cannot be successful or that they will always fail at whatever they try. Even if this is not true — and it usually is not — the less successful people believe they will be, the less successful they actually will be. Instead of thinking they might as well not even try because they are sure to fail, people with ADHD might change their thought patterns after undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy, choosing instead to believe they should try to have accomplishments because their past attempts have worked out pretty well. This new and revised positive thinking should translate into perseverance and positive action, which can improve one's odds of being successful.

Another benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD is that it can help clients to set appropriate goals, because goal-setting skills often are deficient or even nonexistent in people with ADHD. One of the hallmarks of ADHD is the tendency for those who have it to be impatient and to have difficulty breaking large tasks into smaller parts. They also often have problems setting short-term and long-term goals. Cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD can help a client with ADHD take a task that might have seemed overwhelming before and allow him to see it as a series of smaller tasks. He then might be able to develop ways of thinking of tasks in smaller steps, with rewards and benchmarks to designate success in finishing steps through changed thinking and concrete steps such as keeping checklists and discussing large projects with supportive friends or relatives.


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