In recent years, much attention has been placed on the alarming increase of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in children. This condition is characterized by impulsive behavior, inattention, and trouble focusing, and affects more than five million American children between the ages of three and seventeen.
Some of the most common treatments include ADHD coaching, counseling for ADHD, and medication. One of the most effective treatments is cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD. This therapy focuses on re-training the mind, urging patients to think using newer, more positive thoughts.
Here are some of the techniques therapists that employ cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD use to help their patients.
- Redirection. Children with ADHD can be disruptive in class, as they are prone to yelling out answers, or interrupting their friends. Therapists can sometimes enter the classroom as part of what is called a “push-in” service, helping children with impulsive behavior redirect their focus. For example, if a child with ADHD suddenly shouts out that he or she wants to play a game in the middle of a math lesson, the therapist can quickly offer a different solution, asking the child to participate in the lesson for another 10 minutes, then play a game related to the math skill.
- Positive Reinforcement. Depression is a common side effect of ADHD, as children feel that they are unable to keep up with their peers on learning goals. One CNN report shows that children with ADHD are four times more likely to develop depression than their peers. Their inattention often delays turning in homework, and makes it harder to retain the information taught in class. Therapists help these children plant new, positive thoughts into their mind, helping them understand that their condition is treatable, and does not dictate who they are.
- Exercise. The impulsive aspect of ADHD can often be reduced with exercise. Studies show that children can bring their behavior under control with the help of exercise, as it releases tension and extra energy. Sports can give these children an active outlet as well, and also teach them important social skills that often hinder their relationships with peers. Therapists can suggest different exercises are useful for each individual patient.
In the treatment of ADHD, cognitive behavioral therapy has proven highly effective. This does not mean that medication won’t be necessary, but rather than parents shouldn’t solely rely on mediation. Instead, a combination of treatments would work best.