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Blog

Can CBT Help Teens with ADHD? Yes

Families of adolescents with ADHD seek many resources for intervention.  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is gaining popularity. The question? What is it?

Put into a broader perspective, CBT is an evidence-based practice aimed at improving mental health.  Creativity and artistry are best implement techniques.

Students with ADHD struggle to earn higher grades.  It is often improved with improved working memory. With support, central skills can lead to increased central skills (problem solving, impulse control.

CBT treats problems and boosts positivity in many patients.  This results from modifying dysfunctional emotions and establishes positive behaviors and thoughts.

While some medical professionals are less familiar with CBT practices, it is becoming more mainstream.  A long-standing belief is that the process only treats symptoms. In fact, it treats the whole body and the emotional spectrum. Past life experiences set the foundation for further treatment.

  • Patient autonomy
  • Straight-forward case (coping, routines)
  • Lifetime changes
  • Underestimated skills
  • Exact formula of what precisely what behavior is being sought.

CBT has real-world benefits for adolescents with ADHD.   Time management improves, especially in the short term. Students become more goal oriented.  This is especially true in the school environment. Negative patterns of thinking change how they feel about themselves, ability, and the future.

Adolescents with ADHD often receive medication to reduce their symptoms.  CBT and prescriptions in combination can effectively reduce symptoms. Treatment of adolescents with ADHD is sometimes called “brain training.”

At older ages, adolescents with ADHD are more likely to report severities.  This difference allows more honest dialogue. The step in treatment/approach is determination.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Erratic emotional control
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)

Open dialogues are helpful.  Asking adolescents where they see themselves in the social hierarchy addresses self-awareness.  Daunting activities combine both risks and rewards. Skills are developed to handle more progressive challenges.  Create a strong foundation more difficulties.

People with ADHD have an interesting brain wave profile. Boosting their pathways improves focus and memory.  Talk therapy provides the foundation upon which CBT is based.

Modifications alone may not be sufficient.  Multimodal interventions are best suited for adolescents.  The benefits integrate home and school strategies.

  • Interactive Metronome:  Filters out distractions.
  • Cogmed Training:  Training at home/school.
  • Electrotherapy Stimulation.  Produce serotonin and dopamine.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy.  Structured mental health model designed to address current concerns and improve interpersonal skills.

Parents and teachers of adolescents with ADHD do not stand alone.  The common and effective practices can be provided in a variety of places.  Take time to address a role in decreasing symptoms.

  • Journaling:  Gather data about moods.
  • Cognitive Restructuring:  Move from negative/unreasonable thoughts.
  • Play the Script:  Imagine the worst-case outcome.  Discuss a positive ending.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation:  Practice mindfulness/audio guidance (state of relaxation).
  • Unraveling Cognitive Distortion:  Become aware of challenges you are likely to be vulnerable of.

CBT is a powerful tool to moderating the behavioral and emotional symptoms of ADHD.  The power of positive thinking is a good place to start. Simple, yet important skills can be done in a variety of environments.  Changes in thoughts, images, and attitudes are likely tools. Its changes in rules should address based on deeply-held beliefs.

Does the technique produce the desired or intended result?  Residual symptoms require evaluation.

Research continues…

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