6 Therapy Options for ADHD

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Chris Illiades, MD on November 9, 2020
  • smiling woman in office
    Finding the Right Therapy for You
    If you or your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there are several effective ways to treat it. Getting a diagnosis and starting treatment early is always best. Treatment is available for children, teens and adults. The best treatment varies from person to person. Also, a person's treatment might change with age. But most children and adults can find a treatment that works well for them. Here are six options you should know about.
  • Boy playing with toys in therapy
    Behavioral Therapy for Children
    Behavioral therapy is training that teaches a child to replace or reduce disruptive behaviors. These behaviors affect children, their families and their playmates. This treatment involves a trained ADHD therapist working with a child. It is the first therapy used for children younger than 6. The therapy works best when started as early as possible. 
  • Doctor and patient in consultation at laptop
    Behavior Management for Parents
    A therapist can also work with the parents of a child with ADHD. It helps parents learn skills to help their child manage symptoms of ADHD. This is especially helpful when children are 4 to 5 years old. The same therapy can help teachers and child care providers. They, too, can learn how to help children manage ADHD symptoms. 
  • parent talking to doctor
    Behavior Therapy and Medication
    Combining behavior therapy with medication may be the best treatment for school-age children and adolescents. Behavior therapy can include classroom behavior management and organizational skills training. Medications are usually stimulants. These drugs help most children and adolescents with ADHD. Non-stimulant drugs also are an option. They do not work as quickly, but they do help some people. 
  • student reading in class
    Treatment of Other Conditions in Children and Adolescents
    Many other health conditions often occur along with ADHD in children and adolescents. These conditions also need treatment. The exact type of treatment will depend on the condition. These conditions include anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, and conduct disorders. Teens with ADHD are at increased risk for problems with alcohol, drugs and smoking. There are therapy options for all of these conditions. 
  • Female doctor talking with patient
    Medications With Psychological Therapies
    In adults with ADHD, medications are the most important therapy. As with younger people, most medications are stimulants. However, many adults with ADHD also suffer from anxiety. Sometimes, stimulant drugs do not help anxiety. A type of psychological therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful for adults with ADHD and anxiety. During CBT, a therapist teaches you how to replace negative thoughts and actions with positive ones. 
  • African American woman on computer at home
    ADHD Coaching
    Coaching is one of the newest therapies for ADHD. An ADHD coach is a mental health provider trained to help a person with ADHD stay organized and focused. ADHD coaching includes time management and goal setting. Coaching can be in person or online. A session often lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Coaching is most often an option for teens and adults. It also can be used along with medications and other therapies. Search Healthgrades.com for help finding an ADHD specialist.
6 Therapy Options for ADHD

About The Author

  1. Adult ADHD. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/adult-adhd
  2. ADHD Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html
  3. ADHD Other Concerns & Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/conditions.html
  4. Coaching. Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/Treatment-of-ADHD/Complementary-and-Other-Interve...

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 9
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.