ADHD is a very real neurological disorder that makes paying attention and completing basic tasks difficult. For those suffering from ADHD, it may feel impossible to function as a “normal” individual. It may also seem far-fetched to treat this disorder to those who deal with it daily. This is why methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are so imperative to mental health treatment as a whole. CBT may be the solution for those looking for an answer to their search for help.

What is CBT?

cbt for adhd in Southern California

CBT, otherwise known as cognitive behavioral therapy in Southern California, is a widely recognized form of psychotherapy. It focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs. CBT is considered a “problem-focused” and “action-oriented” form of therapy, which implies that it is used to treat specific problems related to a diagnosed mental disorder.

This method of care is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all connected; if we can change one of them, we can change the others. CBT is highly regarded as an effective therapeutic intervention for many psychological issues. These may include the following:

What are the Benefits of CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy offers numerous benefits. It is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that focuses on problem-solving and teaching individuals to modify their behaviors. CBT has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of psychological disorders which include:

By helping individuals identify their negative and unhealthy thought patterns, CBT empowers them to develop healthier responses and actions. The skills people develop during CBT sessions have a long-lasting impact and help to prevent relapses after treatment concludes.

How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by helping individuals understand and alter thought patterns leading to behaviors that may be harmful or self-defeating. It aims to engender a sense of agency and empowers people to change negative thought cycles into positive ones. By recognizing and restructuring these thought processes, CBT assists in managing stress, overcoming anxiety, and fostering healthier emotional responses. The approach is collaborative, with the therapist and the individual working together actively to achieve these goals.

In the context of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), CBT provides individuals with a structured approach to handle their symptoms. For example, CBT can assist in improving attention regulation, impulse control, and organizational skills. This goes a long way in treating ADHD.

The History of CBT for Mental Health Treatment

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CBT has a rich history in the treatment of mental health disorders in Southern California. It was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck, who originally named it ‘cognitive therapy’. Initially, it was designed to treat depression and it soon extended its reach to address various mental and behavioral conditions.

With its basis in the cognitive model, which posits that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interrelated, CBT offers practical approaches to problem-solving. It empowers individuals to change destructive patterns of behavior and thinking, thereby improving their mental health. Over time, CBT has been recognized as an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health disorders. As previously mentioned, these may include the following:

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuro-developmental disorder that millions of people suffer from daily. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that interfere with daily functioning or development. Symptoms often manifest in early childhood and can continue into adulthood, potentially impacting school, work, and personal relationships. The exact cause of ADHD is currently unknown and research suggests a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors may contribute to its development.

What are the Symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD manifests through a range of symptoms that can be broadly categorized into two types – inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Inattention-related symptoms may include the following:

  • Difficulty in maintaining focus on tasks or activities
  • Effortless distractibility
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization

On the other hand, hyperactivity-impulsivity might be exhibited through behaviors that include the following:

  • Frequent fidgeting
  • Difficulty in remaining seated
  • Excessive talking
  • Impatience
  • Acting without thinking of the consequences

It’s important to note that these symptoms must be chronic and impact the individual’s functioning in multiple settings to be considered indicative of ADHD.

How Does ADHD Work?

ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults, is believed to be related to the function of the brain. This is specifically related to aspects of attention and self-control. Neuro-imaging studies have shown that people with ADHD might have differences in the parts of the brain that control attention, impulses, and planning.

Compared to those without the disorder, they cannot control their attention. Differences in the level of certain neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, have been observed in people with ADHD. This is an important observation because dopamine plays a role in reward and pleasure systems in the brain. It is important to note that the understanding of ADHD’s function in the brain is still evolving as research continues.

How Many People Suffer from ADHD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 6.1 million children aged between 2 to 17 years have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. Adults, too, grapple with ADHD, with around 4.4% of the American adult population diagnosed with this condition. That means between 8-11,000,000 American adults suffer from ADHD daily. Worldwide, it is estimated that ADHD affects about 6% of adults, which accounts for 366,000,000 people. These figures underscore the widespread prevalence of ADHD, making it a critical area of focus in global health.

Is ADHD Treatable?

ADHD is treatable. Various strategies, including medication, mental health therapy in Southern California, and lifestyle changes, can manage ADHD symptoms effectively. Medications such as stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants can help improve concentration and control impulsive behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals cope with ADHD by teaching them skills to manage their symptoms.

Lifestyle interventions like regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep can also make a significant difference. However, it’s important to note that while ADHD is treatable, there is no ‘cure’; a person’s treatment and management of their ADHD must be continuous/ongoing.

How Can CBT Help Address ADHD Symptoms?

cognitive behavioral therapy for adhd

CBT is a powerful tool for managing the symptoms of ADHD. It assists individuals in developing coping strategies for their attention difficulties and impulsivity. By teaching skills such as time management, organization, and planning, CBT helps individuals with ADHD to better manage their daily tasks and reduce procrastination. CBT can help address issues of low self-esteem and other emotional difficulties often associated with ADHD. This helps promote a healthier and more balanced life.

CBT can also provide structure, guidance, and support, enabling individuals with ADHD to more effectively manage their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, CBT helps individuals with ADHD to identify and break down complex tasks into smaller manageable chunks, setting realistic goals for completing them. This can help individuals with ADHD to stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed.

How Effective is CBT for ADHD?

CBT has proven to be an effective approach to managing ADHD symptoms among both children and adults. CBT emphasizes the development of personal coping strategies that target specific difficulties and help individuals change patterns of behaviors and thoughts. In cases of ADHD, CBT aids in improving self-control, planning, and organizational skills.

However, the effectiveness of CBT for ADHD may largely depend on individual factors. This could include the severity of symptoms and the individual’s innate ability to adapt to cognitive-behavioral techniques. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

What are Some CBT Techniques for ADHD?

CBT is often used as a tool for managing ADHD symptoms. One technique is the use of self-talk. Self-talk is when an individual talks themselves through the steps needed to accomplish a task, promoting focus and organization. Another approach is behavioral activation. Behavioral activation encourages individuals to take part in activities that are both engaging and rewarding and they do this to help manage impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Mindfulness meditation is another technique, for improving attention and reducing impulsivity. This happens by teaching individuals to center their attention on their breath or another focal point. Furthermore, problem-solving therapies can help individuals with ADHD develop a systematic approach to confronting and resolving their problems.

How to Find a Therapist Who Offers CBT for ADHD

Finding a therapist who offers CBT for ADHD requires careful research and consideration. Start by consulting your primary care physician or pediatrician for a referral, if possible. You can also leverage online resources such as the directory of the American Psychological Association or the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. These platforms allow you to filter your search based on therapy type (CBT) and area of specialization (ADHD). It is important to verify the therapist’s credentials, experience, and approach to therapy.

Adler Health Can Assist Your Mental Health Symptoms with CBT

When it comes to neurological disorders like ADHD, it is imperative to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the perfect tool to treat the symptoms of ADHD. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, you can contact us here.