Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and or impulsivity. First line treatment is medication; however, medication alone may not provide sufficient functional improvement for some patients, or be universally tolerated. A recent surge in research to treat ADHD using non-pharmacological interventions demands a comprehensive, systematic review of the literature. The aim of this review was to examine the evidence base for psychological treatments for ADHD management in adulthood. A systematic search of PsycINFO, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED, PubMed, and EMBASE was undertaken until January 2019 for peer-reviewed articles exploring psychological interventions for adults (18 years with no upper limit) diagnosed with ADHD. A total of 53 papers were identified for inclusion. Collectively, 92% of studies (employing various non-pharmacological interventions) found a variant of significant positive effect on either primary or secondary outcomes associated with ADHD. The strongest empirical support derived from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions. In addition, findings indicated support for the effectiveness of Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Neurofeedback. Other types of interventions also demonstrated effectiveness; however, support was limited due to lack of available research and methodological rigor. Psychological interventions should be considered a valid and useful addition to clinical practice. Implications and areas for future research are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Studies may be listed in more than once, if the study explored more than one intervention.

References

  • Aadil, M., Cosme, R. M., & Chernaik, J. (2017). Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy as an adjunct treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Young adults: A literature review. Cureus, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.1269.

  • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Anastopoulos, A. D., King, K. A., Besecker, L. H., O’Rourke, S. R. , Bray, A. C., & Supple, A. J. (2018). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for college students with ADHD: Temporal stability of improvements in functioning following active treatment. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/10870547177.

  • Arns, M., de Ridder, S., Strehl, U., Breteler, M., & Coenen, A. (2009). Efficacy of neurofeedback treatment in ADHD: The effects on inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity: a meta-analysis. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 40(3), 180–189. https://doi.org/10.1177/155005940904000311.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Asherson, P., Buitelaar, J., Faraone, S. V., & Rohde, L. A. (2016). Adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Key conceptual issues. Lancet Psychiatry, 3(6), 568–578. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30032-3.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bachmann, K., Lam, A. P., Sörös, P., Kanat, M., Hoxhaj, E., Matthies, S., Feige, B., Müller, H., Özyurt, J., Thiel, C. M., & Philipsen, A. (2018). Effects of mindfulness and psychoeducation on working memory in adult ADHD: a randomized, controlled fMRI study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 106, 47–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bramham, J., Susan, Y., Bickerdike, A., Spain, D., McCartan, D., & Xenitidis, K. (2009). Evaluation of group cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(5), 434–441. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054708314596.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bueno, V. F., Kozasa, E. H., da Silva, M. A., Alves, T. M., Louzã, M. R., & Pompéia, S. (2015). Mindfulness meditation improves mood, quality of life, and attention in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Biomed Research International. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/962857.

  • Cairncross, M., & Miller, C. J. (2016). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies for ADHD: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715625301.

  • Cherkasova, M. V., French, L. R., Syer, C. A., Cousins, L., Galina, H., Ahmadi-Kashani, Y., & Hechtman, L. (2016). Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy with and without medication for adults with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 108705471667119. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054716671197.

  • Cole, P., Weibel, S., Nicastro, R., Hasler, R., Dayer, A., Aubry, J.-M., et al. (2016). CBT/DBT skills training for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Psychiatria Danubina, 28(Supplement 1), 103–107 Retrieved from https://www.hdbp.org/psychiatria_danubina/pdf/dnb_vol28_sup1/dnb_vol28_sup1_102.pdf%0A. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&PAGE=reference&D=emed18&NEWS=N&AN=612523663. Accessed Jan 2019.

  • Corbisero, S., Bitto, H., Newark, P., Abt-Mörstedt, B., Elsässer, M., Buchli-Kammermann, J., et al. (2018). A comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy vs. pharmacotherapy alone in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a randomized controlled trial. Frontiers of Psychiatry, 9, 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cowley, B., Holmström, É., Juurmaa, K., Kovarskis, L., & Krause, C. M. (2016). Computer enabled neuroplasticity treatment: A clinical trial of a novel Design for Neurofeedback Therapy in adult ADHD. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10(May), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davidson, M. (2008). Literature review: ADHD in adults. Journal of Attention Disorders, 11(6), 628–641.

  • De Crescenzo, F., Cortese, S., Adamo, N., & Janiri, L. (2017). Pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of adults with ADHD: a meta-review. Evidence- Based Mental Health, 20(1), 4–11. https://doi.org/10.1136/eb-2016-102415.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dentz, A., Guay, M.-C., Parent, V., & Romo, L. (2017). Working memory training for adults with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 108705471772398. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054717723987.

  • Dittner, A. J., Hodsoll, J., Rimes, K. A., Russell, A. J., & Chalder, T. (2018). Cognitive–behavioural therapy for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a proof of concept randomized controlled trial. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 137(2), 125–137. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.12836.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Downs, S., & Black, N. (1998). The feasibility of creating a checklist for the assessment of the methodological quality both of randomized and non-randomized studies of health care interventions. Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, 52(377–384), 377–384 Retrieved from http://jech.bmj.com.oxfordbrookes.idm.oclc.org/content/jech/52/6/377.Full.Pdf. Accessed March 2018.

  • Edel, M. A., Hölter, T., Wassink, K., & Juckel, G. (2017). A comparison of mindfulness-based group training and skills group training in adults with ADHD: An open study. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(6), 533–539. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054714551635.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Emilsson, B., Gudjonsson, G., Sigurdsson, J. F., Baldursson, G., Einarsson, E., Olafsdottir, H., & Young, S. (2011). Cognitive behaviour therapy in medication-treated adults with ADHD and persistent symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 11, 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-11-116.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Fields, S. A., Johnson, W. M., & Hassig, M. B. (2017). Adult ADHD: Addressing a unique set of challenges. The Journal of Family Practice, 66(2), 68–74. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28222452.

  • Fleming, A. P., McMahon, R. J., Moran, L. R., Peterson, A. P., & Dreessen, A. (2015). Pilot randomized controlled trial of dialectical behavior therapy group skills training for ADHD among college students. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19(3), 260–271. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054714535951.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fredriksen, M., Halmøy, A., Faraone, S. V., & Haavik, J. (2013). Long-term efficacy and safety of treatment with stimulants and atomoxetine in adult ADHD: a review of controlled and naturalistic studies. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(6), 508–527. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2012.07.016.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gibbins, C., & Weiss, M. (2007). Clinical recommendations in current practice guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in adults. Current Psychiatry Report, 9, 420–426.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grazebrook, K., & Garland, A. (2005). What is CBT? British association for Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapies. Retrieved from http://www.BABCP.com. Accessed January 2019.

  • Gu, Y., Xu, G., & Zhu, Y. (2018). A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for college students with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 22(4), 388–399. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054716686183.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hepark, S., Janssen, L., de Vries, A., Schoenberg, P. L. A., Donders, R., Kan, C. C., & Speckens, A. E. M. (2015). The efficacy of adapted MBCT on Core symptoms and executive functioning in adults with ADHD: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715613587.

  • Hesslinger, B., Tebartz van Elst, L., Nyberg, E., Dykierek, P., Richter, H., Berner, M., & Ebert, D. (2002). Psychotherapy of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults - a pilot study using a structured skills training program. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 252(4), 177–184. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-002-0379-0.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hesslinger, B., Philipson, A., & Richter, H. (2004). Psychotherapie der ADHS im Erwachsenenalter: Ein Arbeitsbuch. Goettigen: Hogrefe Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hiltunen, S., Virta, M., Salakari, A., Antila, M., Chydenius, E., Kaski, M., et al. (2014). Better long-term outcome for hypnotherapy than for CBT in adults with ADHD: Results of a six-month follow-up. Contemporary Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy, 30(3), 118–134.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hirvikoski, T., Waaler, E., Alfredsson, J., Pihlgren, C., Holmström, A., Johnson, A., et al. (2011). Reduced ADHD symptoms in adults with ADHD after structured skills training group: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49(3), 175–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2011.01.001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hirvikoski, T., Waaler, E., Lindström, T., Bölte, S., & Jokinen, J. (2015). Cognitive behavior therapy-based psychoeducational groups for adults with ADHD and their significant others (PEGASUS): An open clinical feasibility trial. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 7(1), 89–99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-014-0141-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hoxhaj, E., Sadohara, C., Borel, P., D’Amelio, R., Sobanski, E., Müller, H., … Philipsen, A. (2018). Mindfulness vs psychoeducation in adult ADHD: a randomized controlled trial. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-018-0868-4.

  • In de Braek, D. M. J. M., Dijkstra, J. B., Ponds, R. W., & Jolles, J. (2017). Goal management training in adults with ADHD: An Intervention Study. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054712468052.

  • Jacob, C. P., Romanos, J., Dempfle, A., Heine, M., Windemuth-Kieselbach, C., Kruse, A., et al. (2007). Co-morbidity of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with focus on personality traits and related disorders in a tertiary referral center. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 257(6), 309–317. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-007-0722-6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jadad, A. R., Boyle, M., Cunningham, C., Kim, M., & Schachar, R. (1999). Treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Evid Rep Technol Assess, 1–341. https://www.ahcpr.gov.

  • Janssen, L., Kan, C. C., Carpentier, P. J., Sizoo, B., Hepark, S., Schellekens, M. P. J., Donders, R. T., Buitelaar, J. K., & Speckens, A. E. M. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy v. treatment as usual in adults with ADHD: a multicentre, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 49, 55–65. https://doi.org/10.1017/50033291718000429.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jarrett, M. A., & Ollendick, T. H. (2008). A conceptual review of the comorbidity of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety: Implications for future research and practice. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(7), 1266–1280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2008.05.004.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jensen, P. S., Martin, D., & Cantwell, D. P. (1997). Comorbidity in ADHD: Implications for research, practice, and DSM-V. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(8), 1065–1079. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-199708000-00014.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jensen, P. S., Hinshaw, S. P., Kraemer, H. C., Lenora, N., Newcorn, J. H., Abikoff, H. B., et al. (2001). ADHD comorbidity findings from the MTA study: Comparing comorbid subgroups. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(2), 147–158. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-200102000-00009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jensen, C. M., Amdisen, B. L., Jørgensen, K. J., & Arnfred, S. M. (2016). Cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD in adults: Systematic review and meta-analyses. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, 8(1), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-016-0188-3.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living : Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delacorte Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knouse, L. E., & Safren, S. A. (2011). Current status of cognitive behavioral therapy for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 33(3), 497–509. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.001.

  • Knouse, L. E., Teller, J., & Brooks, M. A. (2017). Meta-analysis of cognitive-behavioral treatments for adult ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85(7), 737–750. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000216.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kolar, D., Keller, A., Golfinopoulos, M., Cumyn, L., Syer, C., & Hechtman, L. (2008). Treatment of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4(1), 107–121. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18728812. Accessed Jan 2019.

  • Kühberger, A., Fritz, A., & Scherndl, T. (2014). Publication bias in psychology: a diagnosis based on the correlation between effect size and sample size. PLoS One, 9(9), e105825. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105825.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • LaCount, P. A., Hartung, C. M., Shelton, C. R., Clapp, J. D., & Clapp, T. K. W. (2015). Preliminary evaluation of a combined group and individual treatment for college students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 22(2), 152–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2014.07.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Langer, S., Greiner, A., Koydemir, S., & Schutz, A. (2013). Evaluation of a stress management training program for adults with ADHD--A pilot study. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 27(2), 96–110. https://doi.org/10.1891/0889-8391.27.2.96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, C. S. C., Ma, M. Ting, Ho, H. Yui, Tsang, K. Kei., Zheng, Y. Yi, & Wu, Z. Yi . (2017). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based intervention in attention of individuals with ADHD: A systematic review. Hong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hkjot.2017.05.001.

  • Linehan, M. M. (1993). Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder. Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder. New York: The Guildford Press Retrieved from http://proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=1995-98090-000&site=ehost-live. Accessed Jan 2019.

  • Lopez, P. L., Torrente, F. M., Ciapponi, A., Lischinsky, A. G., Cetkovich-Bakmas, M., Rojas, J. I., et al. (2018). Cognitive-behavioural interventions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3, CD010840. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010840.pub2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mawjee, K., Woltering, S., & Tannock, R. (2015). Working memory training in post-secondary students with ADHD: A randomized controlled study. PLoS One, 10(9), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, K., Wyckoff, S. N., Schulz, U., & Strehl, U. (2012). Neurofeedback for adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Investigation of slow cortical potential neurofeedback-preliminary results. Journal of Neurotherapy, 16(1), 37–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/10874208.2012.650113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, K., Blume, F., Wyckoff, S. N., Brokmeier, L. L., & Strehl, U. (2016). Neurofeedback of slow cortical potentials as a treatment for adults with attention deficit-/hyperactivity disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology, 127(2), 1374–1386. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2015.11.013.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McGough, J. J., Smalley, S. L., McCracken, J. T., Yang, M., Del’Homme, M., Lynn, D. E., & Loo, S. (2005). Psychiatric comorbidity in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Findings from multiplex families. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162(9), 1621–1627. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.162.9.1621.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mészáros, A., Czobor, P., Bálint, S., Komlósi, S., Simon, V., & Bitter, I. (2009). Pharmacotherapy of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a meta-analysis. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 12(8), 1137–1147. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1461145709990198.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • MIND. (2018). Mindfulness. Retrieved from: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/how-to-learn-mindfulness/#.XDSiUlX7TIU. Accessed 8 Jan 2019.

  • Mitchell, J. T., McIntyre, E. M., English, J. S., Dennis, M. F., Beckham, J. C., & Kollins, S. H. (2017). A pilot trial of mindfulness meditation training for ADHD in adulthood: Impact on Core symptoms, executive functioning, and emotion dysregulation. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(13), 1105–1120. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054713513328.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & Group, P. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. PLoS Medicine, 6(7), e1000097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Morgensterns, E., Alfredsson, J., & Hirvikoski, T. (2016). Structured skills training for adults with ADHD in an outpatient psychiatric context: An open feasibility trial. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 8(2), 101–111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-015-0182-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Moriyama, T. S., Polanczyk, G., Caye, A., Banaschewski, T., Brandeis, D., & Rohde, L. A. (2012). Evidence-based information on the clinical use of neurofeedback for ADHD. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 588–598. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-012-0136-7.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Nasri, B., Castenfors, M., Fredlund, P., Ginsberg, Y., Lindefors, N., & Kaldo, V. (2017). Group Treatment for Adults With ADHD Based on a Novel Combination of Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Interventions. Journal of Attention Disorders, 108705471769023. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054717690231.

  • NICE. (2018). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Diagnosis and management, Retrieved from http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87. 2 Feb 2018

  • Nigg, J. T. (2006). What causes ADHD? Understanding what goes wrong and why. New York: The Guildford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pettersson, R., Söderström, S., Edlund-Söderström, K., & Nilsson, K. W. (2017). Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with ADHD in outpatient psychiatric care: A randomized trial. Journal of Attention Disorders, 21(6), 508–521. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054714539998.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Philipsen, A., Richter, H., Peters, J., Alm, B., Sobanski, E., Colla, M., et al. (2007). Structured group psychotherapy in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Results of an open multicentre study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(12), 1013–1019. https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0b013e31815c088b.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ramsay, J. R., & Rostain, A. L. (2011). CBT without medications for adult ADHD: An open pilot study of five patients. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 25(4), 277–286. https://doi.org/10.1891/0889-8391.25.4.277.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ranganathan, P., Pramesh, C. S., & Buyse, M. (2015). Common pitfalls in statistical analysis: Clinical versus statistical significance. Perspectives in Clinical Research, 6(3), 169–170. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-3485.159943.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Ravishankar, V., Chowdappa, S. V., Benegal, V., & Muralidharan, K. (2016). The efficacy of atomoxetine in treating adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A meta-analysis of controlled trials. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 24, 53–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2016.08.017.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rosenthal, R. (1979). The file drawer problem and tolerance for null results. Psychological Bulletin, 86(3), 638–641. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.86.3.638.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rostain, A. L., & Ramsay, J. R. (2006). A combined treatment approach for adults with ADHD—Results of an open study of 43 patients. Journal of Attention Disorders, 10(2), 150–159. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054706288110.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rucklidge, J., Brown, D., Crawford, S., & Kaplan, B. (2007). Attributional styles and psychosocial functioning of adults with ADHD: practice issues and gender differences. Journal of Attention Disorders, 10(3), 288–298. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054706289942.

  • Safren, S. A., Otto, M. W., Sprich, S., Winett, C. L., Wilens, T. E., & Biederman, J. (2005a). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for ADHD in medication-treated adults with continued symptoms. Behavoiur Research and Therapy, 43(7), 831–842. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2004.07.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Safren, S. A., Sprich, S., Perlman, C. A., & Otto, M. W. (2005b). Mastering your adult ADHD: a cognitive-behavioral treatment program. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Safren, S. A., Sprich, S., Mimiaga, M. J., Surman, C., Knouse, L., Groves, M., & Otto, M. W. (2010). Cognitive behavioral therapy vs relaxation with educational support for medication-treated adults with ADHD and persistent symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 304(8), 875–880. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2010.1192.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Salakari, A., Virta, M., Grönroos, N., Chydenius, E., Partinen, M., Vataja, R., et al. (2010). Cognitive-behaviorally-oriented group rehabilitation of adults with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13(5), 516–523. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054709332069.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Salomone, S., Fleming, G. R., Shanahan, J. M., Castorina, M., Bramham, J., O'Connell, R. G., & Robertson, I. H. (2015). The effects of a self-alert training (SAT) program in adults with ADHD. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00045.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schoenberg, P. L., Hepark, S., Kan, C. C., Barendregt, H. P., Buitelaar, J. K., & Speckens, A. E. (2014). Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on neurophysiological correlates of performance monitoring in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology, 125(7), 1407–1416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2013.11.031.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schönenberg, M., Wiedemann, E., Schneidt, A., Scheeff, J., Logemann, A., Keune, P. M., & Hautzinger, M. (2017). Neurofeedback, sham neurofeedback, and cognitive-behavioural group therapy in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a triple-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Lancet Psychiatry, 4(9), 673–684. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30291-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: The Guildford Press. https://doi.org/10.1080/713869628.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Solanto, M. V., Marks, D. J., Mitchell, K. J., Wasserstein, J., & Kofman, M. D. (2008). Development of a new psychosocial treatment for adult ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 11(6), 728–736. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054707305100.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Solanto, M. V., Marks, D. J., Wasserstein, J., Mitchell, K., Abikoff, H., Alvir, J. M., & Kofman, M. D. (2010). Efficacy of meta-cognitive therapy for adult ADHD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(8), 958–968. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09081123.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, T., Biederman, J., Wilens, T., Faraone, S., Prince, J., Gerard, K., et al. (2001). Efficacy of a mixed amphetamine salts compound in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(8), 775–782 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11483144. Accessed January 2019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sprich, S. E., Knouse, L. E., Cooper-Vince, C., Burbridge, J., & Safren, S. A. (2012). Description and demonstration of CBT for ADHD in adults. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2009.09.002.

  • Stern, A., Malik, E., Pollak, Y., Bonne, O., & Maeir, A. (2014). The efficacy of computerized cognitive training in adults with ADHD: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Attention Disorders, 20(12), 991–1003. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054714529815.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stevenson, C. S., Whitmont, S., Bornholt, L., Livesey, D., & Stevenson, R. J. (2002). A cognitive remediation programmer for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 36(5), 610–616. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1614.2002.01052.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stevenson, C. S., Stevenson, R. J., & Whitmont, S. (2003). A self-directed psychosocial intervention with minimal therapist contact for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 10(2), 93–101. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thapar, A., & Cooper, M. (2016). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Lancet, 387(10024), 1240–1250. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00238-X.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vidal-Estrada, R., Bosch-Munso, R., Nogueira-Morais, M., Casas-Brugue, M., & Ramos-Quiroga, J. A. (2012). Psychological treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: a systematic review. Actas Esp Psiquiatr, 40, 147–154.

  • Vidal, R., Bosch, R., Nogueira, M., Gómez-Barros, N., Valero, S., Palomar, G., et al. (2013). Psychoeducation for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder vs. cognitive behavioral group therapy. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201(10), 894–900. https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182a5c2c5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Virta, M., Vedenpää, A., Gronroos, N., Chydenius, E., Partinen, M., Vataja, R., et al. (2008). Adults with ADHD benefit from cognitive–behaviorally oriented group rehabilitation. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(3), 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054707311657.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Virta, M., Hiltunen, S., Mattsson, M., & Kallio, S. (2015). The impact of hypnotic suggestions on reaction times in continuous performance test in adults with ADHD and healthy controls. PLoS One, 10(5), e0126497. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126497.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Weiss, M., Hechtman Trokenberg, L., & Weiss, G. (1999). ADHD in adulthood: A guide to current theory, diagnosis, and treatment. In ADHD in adulthood: A guide to current theory, diagnosis, and treatment. London: The John Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weiss, M., Murray, C., Wasdell, M., Greenfield, B., Giles, L., & Hechtman, L. (2012). A randomized controlled trial of CBT therapy for adults with ADHD with and without medication. BMC Psychiatry, 12(30), 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilens, T. E., Spencer, T. J., & Biederman, J. (2001). A review of the pharmacotherapy of adults with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 5(4), 189–202. https://doi.org/10.1177/108705470100500401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Young, S., & Bramham, J. (2012). Cognitive-behavioural therapy for ADHD in adolescents and adults: a psychological guide to practice. West Sussex: Wiley.

  • Young, S., & Ross, R. R. (2007). R&R2 ADHD for youths and adults: A prosocial training program. Ottawa: Cognitive Centre of Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, S., Khondoker, M., Emilsson, B., Sigurdsson, J. F., Philipp-Wiegmann, F., Baldursson, G., et al. (2015). Cognitive-behavioural therapy in medication-treated adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and co-morbid psychopathology: a randomized controlled trial using multi-level analysis. Psychological Medicine, 45, 2793–2804.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Young, S., Emilsson, B., Sigurdsson, J. F., Khondoker, M., Philipp-Wiegmann, F., Baldursson, G., et al. (2017). A randomized controlled trial reporting functional outcomes of cognitive–behavioural therapy in medication-treated adults with ADHD and comorbid psychopathology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 267(3), 267–276. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-016-0735-0.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Young, Z., Moghaddam, N. & Tickle, A. (2016). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Attention Disorders, https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054716664413

  • Zilverstand, A., Sorger, B., Slaats-Willemse, D., Kan, C. C., Goebel, R., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2017). fMRI neurofeedback training for increasing anterior cingulate cortex activation in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. An exploratory randomized, single-blinded study. PLoS One, 12(1), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170795.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zylowska, L. (2012). The mindfulness prescription for adult ADHD: An 8-step program for strengthening attention, managing emotions, and achieving your goals. USA: Shambhala.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah L Jones.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Tim Fullen, Sarah L Jones, Lisa Marie Emerson and Marios Adamou declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Statement of Human Rights

The nature of this review is retrospective. Informed consent was not necessary, in line with our institution. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Statement on the Welfare of Animals

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

(Boolean search, truncation or wildcards were adapted to each database)

(attention deficit OR ADD OR adhd OR addh OR adhs OR AD/HD OR HKD OR hyperkin* OR hyper-kin* OR hyperactiv* OR hyper-activ* OR inattent* OR impuls*)

1. AND (psycho* AND (treatment$ OR therapy OR training OR approach OR program* OR technique OR intervention).

2. AND “psycho* treatment$” OR “psycho* therapy” OR “psycho* training” OR “psycho* approach” OR “psycho* program*” OR “psycho* technique” OR “psycho* intervention”.

3. AND (psychoeducation OR psycho-education).

4. AND “social skills”.

5. AND “behavio*r modification”.

6. AND (“cognitive behavio*r*” OR cognitive-behavio*r*).

7. AND (cognitive (treatment$ OR therapy OR training OR approach OR program* OR technique OR intervention)).

8. AND “cognitive restructuring”.

9. AND (attention training OR ATT).

10. AND “working memory training”.

11. AND “cognitive remediation”.

12. AND “executive function training”.

13. AND (neurofeedback OR neuro-feedback).

14. AND (behavio*r training OR behavio*r therapy OR behavio*r treatment OR behavio*r intervention).

15. AND (MBCT OR MBSR OR mindfulness OR meditat* OR relaxation).

16. AND (“acceptance and commitment therapy” OR ACT).

17. AND ((“compassion focused” OR compassion-focused) therapy OR CFT).

18. AND ((“compassionate mind” OR compassionate-mind) training CMT).

19. AND (metacognitive OR meta-cognitive).

20. AND counsel*ing.

21. AND (((“dialectical behavio*r”) AND (treatment$ OR therapy OR training OR approach OR program* OR technique OR intervention)) OR DBT).

22. AND (family AND (treatment$ OR therapy OR training OR approach OR program* OR technique OR intervention).

23. AND (systemic AND (treatment$ OR therapy OR training OR approach OR program* OR technique OR intervention).

24. AND (self management OR self-management OR self-help OR self help).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fullen, T., Jones, S.L., Emerson, L.M. et al. Psychological Treatments in Adult ADHD: A Systematic Review. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 42, 500–518 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-020-09794-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-020-09794-8

Keywords

Navigation