What Is the Best Treatment for ADHD in Adults?

Medically Reviewed on 6/3/2021

What are the best treatments for ADHD in adults?

ADHD treatment
Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involves a mix of education, skills training, psychological counseling, and medication.

The best treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involves a combination of medication, education, skills training, and psychological counseling. A single treatment isn’t as effective in treating ADHD compared with combination therapy.

1. Medications

Medications commonly used to treat children are usually effective for most adults. However, doctors should adjust the dosage and frequency of medications early during the course of treatment. Major classes of drug used to treat ADHD include the following:

  • Psychostimulants: These are medications of choice in treating ADHD. Three types of psychostimulants are used.
  • Antidepressants: Drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors increase norepinephrine levels in the brain. Doctors may prescribe drugs such as bupuprion (Wellbutrin) and venlafaxine (Effexor), although their use for adults with ADHD is not approved.
  • Non-stimulants: If a person fails to respond or has an adverse reaction to stimulant drugs, the physician may prescribe non-stimulants. Physicians usually prescribe these to people with coexisting psychiatric conditions. Atomoxetine (Strattera) is a selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) medication that may be used in adults. It increases the amount of a brain chemical called noradrenaline and helps control impulsive behavior.

2. Psychological counseling

Counseling for adults with ADHD usually includes psychological counseling (psychotherapy), awareness about the disorder, and learning skills to help you overcome this disorder. Psychotherapy may help you

  • improve your time management and organizational skills;
  • learn how to manage your impulsive behavior;
  • develop problem-solving skills;
  • deal with past academic, work, or social failures;
  • boost your self-esteem;
  • learn ways to enhance relationships with your family, coworkers, and friends; and
  • cultivate strategies for managing your temper.

Some types of psychotherapy for ADHD include

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This type of counseling teaches specific skills to control your behavior. Moreover, it helps
    • change negative thinking patterns into positive ones,
    • deal with life challenges, and
    • address other mental conditions such as depression or substance misuse.
  • Marital counseling and family therapy: In this therapy, the counselor counsels loved ones to cope with their stress of living with people with ADHD. This therapy can improve communication and problem-solving skills.

3. Coaching

It is relatively a new approach where coaches help people with ADHD to

  • handle challenges of daily life by providing feedback, recommendations, and encouragement;
  • find solutions to their problem; and
  • achieve their goals.

Additionally, coaches may offer practical solutions to address issues such as time management and organization.

Some other ways to treat ADHD are as follows.

4. Relaxation techniques

Most symptoms of ADHD can be alleviated by relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Mindfulness meditation focuses on

  • relaxing mind and body and
  • centering thoughts.

In the long run, meditation may help reduce ADHD symptoms and give you better control over your emotions. It improves attention span, which in turn helps you understand and work out problems.

Yoga and tai chi combine the benefits of exercise and meditation. This form of a relaxation technique is helpful if you are too hyperactive to meditate. Moreover, they help maintain balance and stillness.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/3/2021
References
"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Inattentive Type in Adults." Cleveland Clinic. Sept. 25, 2019. <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15253-attention-deficit-disorder-without-hyperactivity-add-in-adults>.

Segal, Robert, and Melinda Smith. "Treatment for Adult ADHD." HelpGuide.org. September 2020. <https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/treatment-for-adult-adhd-attention-deficit-disorder.htm>.