Is Behavior Therapy an Effective Treatment for ADHD?


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect behavior. Behavioral therapy can help manage ADHD symptoms by promoting helpful change and improving self-control and self-esteem.

Treatments for ADHD usually include Medication and psychotherapy. Behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help a person with ADHD develop or improve a variety of skills to deal with behavioral challenges. It can also help parents and other caregivers develop constructive ways to respond to children with ADHD.

The effectiveness of therapy varies from person to person, and a doctor may also recommend medications to get the best results.

In this article, we will describe what behavior therapy is, how effective it is for ADHD, and what techniques different types of behavior therapy use.

Behavioral therapy is an umbrella term for various forms of therapy that focus on a person’s behavior.

The aim is to help a person to recognize unhealthy or harmful behavior and change this by adopting helpful behaviors instead. It is based on the idea that a person learns behavior patterns and therefore can learn new ones, although learning and reinforcing these behaviors can take time.

Common forms of behavior therapy can include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Certain behaviors related to ADHD can be disruptive and challenging. medication can help Control the core symptoms during behavior therapy aims teach or improve helpful coping skills and strategies.

Different forms of behavior therapy can help a person:

  • stay focused longer
  • Organize thoughts and tasks
  • Reduce procrastination
  • Avoid hyperactivity when it is inappropriate
  • Recognize and correct impulsive actions

While research is often in the early stages, there is growing evidence that behavior therapy is an effective part of ADHD treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) For example, note that parenting and behavioral training in young children with ADHD can help with symptoms. This may require caregivers, teachers, and therapists to work together to establish rules and define positive behaviors.

A Study 2016, meanwhile, found that CBT was an effective treatment for adolescents with ADHD who did not respond well to medication. A similar Study 2018 concluded that college students with ADHD will benefit from CBT. The researchers reported that participants had less severe symptoms and improved “leadership,” a wide range of skills that help people complete tasks, manage time, and control emotions and behavior.

Adults with ADHD can too respond well to CBT. A Review 2016For example, there was growing evidence that CBT can relieve symptoms in adults.

In addition, there are adults with ADHD more likely Experiencing anxiety and depression that can be addressed with CBT.

Learn more about ADHD and relationships here.

As the research cited above suggests, some form of behavior therapy can benefit a person of any age with ADHD – and it can help caregivers, too.

For example, the CDC reports that basic behavioral therapy training can be useful for caregivers of children under the age of 12 with ADHD. Training can teach parents and other caregivers to provide the structure and support the child needs, as well as teaching the child helpful behavior.

The age at which a child is ready for their own therapist can vary, but the average age is around 8-10 years old. From that point on into adulthood, a person can work directly with a therapist to help them achieve their behavioral goals.

There are many forms of behavior therapy, and the most effective will depend on each person’s specific factors. Someone with ADHD might consider:


This focuses on a person’s thoughts and behaviors. It can activate a person to change negative thought patterns into positive ones by changing the way they see challenges. It can help people with ADHD find more effective approaches to time management, organization, planning, and impulse control. CBT can also help a person find more useful ways to deal with emotions and stress.


This helps people tolerate and regulate their emotions. The goal of DBT is to teach people techniques that will help them understand their emotions, as well as applicable ways to manage emotions and change their behavior. That can help prevent impulsive or self-destructive behavior patterns.


This is a hands-on intervention that specifically targets areas of difficulty for a person with ADHD – areas such as planning, time management, goal setting, organization, and problem solving. Coaches impart practical skills to teach People with ADHD how to overcome these challenges.


This involves measuring brain activity and trying to change it to reduce symptoms of ADHD. People with ADHD usually show less activity in areas of the brain associated with personality, behavior, and learning. Neurofeedback aims to change behavior by increasing activity in these areas of the brain.

Learn more about neurofeedback in ADHD.

Although each method of behavior therapy is different, they overlap in the use of operant and classical conditioning techniques.

Operant conditioning is based on reinforcement. It aims to teach positive behaviors and reward for doing them more likely happen. Classical conditioning is a learning process in which people associate two stimuli in order to achieve a certain effect. For example, associate a certain sound with sleep can help a person feels sleepy after hearing this sound.

After identifying problematic behavior, a person and their therapist can develop a plan to address it and replace positive behavior. This could include a reward for switching to the more helpful behavior and consequences for continuing the problematic behavior.

A child with ADHD can benefit from a goal chart. Showing positive behavior brings the child one step closer to a reward on the chart, while problematic behavior sets them back. Seeing your progress can give a child a sense of accomplishment as they work toward their goal.

Behavioral therapy for ADHD isn’t a quick fix; It takes time and discipline to see results.

Changing thoughts and behavior patterns takes regular effort, and while setting time limits on certain milestones can be helpful, the pace of progress will depend on factors specific to each person and how effective the treatment is for them is.

By working closely with a therapist, people with ADHD can see improvements in symptoms and feel more in control. Even after improvements have been seen, it is important to stay consistent with the reward and consequence system to avoid relapses.

doctors often recommend Behavioral therapy for ADHD alongside other treatments, such as B. Medicines. Drugs, whether stimulating or not, can target the neurological component of the disease, for example by increasing levels of important neurotransmitters in the brain.

Behavioral therapy can work well as a complement to medication, especially if medication alone is ineffective.

Behavioral therapy for ADHD involves identifying problem behaviors and working to replace positive behaviors. Research suggests behavior therapy is an effective way to manage symptoms of ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults.

A doctor may suggest that a person with ADHD also take medication for the most effective results.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.