What are the best treatments for ADHD in adults?
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.
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.
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
- 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.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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>.
Top What Is the Best Treatment for ADHD in Adults? Related Articles
ADHD Symptoms: What Makes Them Worse?ADHD symptoms get worse with bad habits. Watch your lifestyle so hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, fidgeting, inattention, and other symptoms associated with an attention deficit hyperactivity diagnosis do not get worse.
Adult ADHD SlideshowMost people don't associate adults with the term ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but it is a common disorder in adulthood. Learn about symptoms, tests, treatment and medications for ADHD.
What Is ADHD in Children?Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems concentrating, and difficulty controlling impulses. Stimulant medications are the most common medication used to treat ADHD.
ADHD in Women and GirlsWomen and girls have ADHD, but the signs may be more subtle. WebMD tells you how it may present itself in females.
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Treatment may involve ADHD education, attending a support group, skills training, and medication.
Adult ADHD QuizWhat are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Take this quiz to learn what it means for an adult to suffer from ADHD and what can be done about it.
Strattera (atomoxetine)Strattera (atomoxetine) is a medication prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, teens, and adults. Side effects include tiredness, mood swings, dry mouth, nausea/vomiting, and decreased appetite. Drug interactions, dosage, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Wellbutrin (bupropion)Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL) is an antidepressant medication prescribed for the treatment of depressive disorders and smoking cessation. Off-label uses for Wellbutrin include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and neuropathic pain (nerve pain). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, pregnancy information, and dosage should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Can ADHD Be Cured?ADHD cannot be cured. Early diagnosis and management with a good treatment plan can help a person manage their symptoms.
Can ADHD Cause Speech Problems?ADHD is short for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD can cause speech problems — including word pronunciation.
Concerta (methylphenidate) extended releaseConcerta (methylphenidate) extended release tablets is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence. Serious side effects include chest pain, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, hallucinations, new behavioral problems, aggression, and others.
Is ADHD Medication a Controlled Substance?A majority of the medications commonly prescribed for ADHD are controlled substances regulated by the law. This means that the drugs used for ADHD treatment have a potential for abuse and could become addictive over time.
Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant prescribed for patients with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) should not be taken with MAOIs. Common side effects include nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. Review drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information prior to taking this medication.
Living With Adult ADHDLearn daily living tips for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If you have ADHD or you just need to get yourself and your family organized, use these helpful tips to make your day flow smoothly.
methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, Daytrana)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER, Daytrana, Quillivant XR, Metadate CD, Metadate ER) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy and children with ADHD. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, patient safety information, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)Venlafaxine (venlafaxine, Effexor XR; Effexor has been discontinued in the US) is a drug in the class of drugs called SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) prescribed for the treatment of depression, depression with symptoms of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder. Effexor XR is prescribed for the treatment of and panic disorder in adults. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
What Are the Ten Symptoms of ADHD?Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a medical condition that affects a person’s behavior.
What Can Parents Do to Help Their Child With ADHD?Children who have ADHD can be hard to parent. Parents can help their child with ADHD by focusing on their child's strength, keeping their child busy, encouraging outdoor activities, helping their child get restful sleep and creating structure in the home.
What Kind of Therapy Is Best for ADHD?ADHD is a condition associated with impulsive behavior and inattention. The best kind of therapy for ADHD is cognitive behavioral therapy, although schema therapy, talk therapy and marriage and family therapy are helpful as well.
Why Is ADHD Controversial?The number of children diagnosed as having ADHD has risen from 6.1% in 1997 to 10.2% in 2016 — leading some people to believe that the condition is overdiagnosed and children are being overmedicated.