Treatment Modalities for ADHD

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When it comes to treating ADHD, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. For the best outcomes, most treatment plans combine several different methods.

Here are some of the most common treatments.

ADHD Treatment Medications


These are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. They boost and balance neurotransmitters in the brain to help with inattention and hyperactivity. They’re often effective in just a short period of time. However, it can take time to find the right dosage and they do carry the risk of side effects.

Common stimulants for ADHD include:

  • Amphetamines like Dexedrine, Adderall, and Vyvanse
  • Methylphenidates like Concerta, Ritalin, and Focalin

Other medications

These can include antidepressants like bupropion (Wellbutrin) or other medications like Strattera and Intuniv.

Non-stimulants tend to work slower than stimulants do; it may take several weeks for them to take full effect. However, they can be an effective option if stimulants aren’t a viable treatment due to health problems or if stimulants aren’t effective or cause severe side effects. 

Some doctors might also prescribe non-prescription supplements or natural remedies to help as well.

ADHD Therapy

ADHD can affect your ability to pay attention and complete tasks in work or school and can take a toll on your personal relationships. This, in turn, can impact your self-esteem and can feel isolating. Therapy can help you recognize and address behaviors that make your ADHD symptoms worse. There are several types of therapy depending on your needs and situation.


Psychotherapy can help you cope with your feelings about having ADHD. It can provide a safe space to explore your behavior patterns and learn how to make healthy life choices.

Behavior therapy

The goal of behavior therapy is to teach patients how to monitor and change their behaviors appropriately. This can help them behave in response to certain situations where their ADHD symptoms may create difficulties.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This short-term, goal-focused form of therapy aims to change your negative thought patterns by reframing them to feel differently about yourself and your ADHD symptoms. CBT can help you tackle time management, procrastination, and more. It can also help you manage irrational thought patterns that might be preventing you from staying on task, like “This project has to be perfect, otherwise it’s no good!”

Training for ADHD

Social skills training

Social skills training can be useful for people who struggle in social settings. The goal is to learn new, appropriate behaviors to help you work and socialize better with others. Children and adults can both benefit from this type of treatment to help reduce impulsive behavior, manage anger, and interact with people more successfully.

Social skills training sessions often include exercises like:

  • Role-playing
  • Watching videos modeling positive behavior
  • Practicing conflict resolution skills
  • Learning techniques to enter unfamiliar social situations, listen and engage in conversations, receive praise and criticism, and cope with frustration

Parenting skills training

This is a form of therapy for parents of children with ADHD. It equips them with tools and techniques to understand and help their children manage their ADHD.

Techniques taught in parenting skills training can include:

  • Immediate rewards
  • Time-outs
  • Bonding activities
  • Structuring activities to help your child succeed
  • Stress management

Support groups

Support groups generally meet on a schedule to help build support networks among people struggling with ADHD. This can provide a setting to connect with people who have similar experiences and concerns and to share coping strategies. Knowing you’re not alone in dealing with ADHD can be a big help and relief, as well as helping with feelings of isolation.

This is far from a comprehensive list of all the ways ADHD can be treated and managed. But knowing some of the more common methods can help you find the right treatment plan for you.

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