There is considerable discourse in the media these days about ADHD treatment. Some are for medication management and some are against. Unfortunately, very little is being said about combining treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) alongside stimulant medication.
At our clinic we are dedicated to not only providing the most effective treatment, we are also dedicated to educating the community. During our presentations we often field questions about providing comprehensive treatment by combining CBT and skills training with medication. So let’s take a look at what the research says about combining CBT with medication in the treatment of Adult ADHD.
In 2001 Brynjar Emilsson found that combining CBT with ADHD medication provided significantly better results over time than medication alone and treatment as usual. Take a look at the graph above and you can clearly see the continued reduction in symptoms when combined treatments are used.
Similar results were found in another popular study years earlier by Steven A. Safren in 2005:
Across all of the primary outcome measures, those who were randomized to CBT showed significantly better ratings than those randomized to psychopharmacology alone.
He goes on to make this salient point in the support of skills training and CBT:
Although medicines are thought to help with the core neurobiological impairments, they do not ensure that patients will adopt compensatory strategies.
The results that Emilsson and Safren found are not only consistent with other academic research, they are consistent with the results we see at our clinic. Whether you are being treated in our clinic or by your own MD or clinician, we encourage you to explore the benefits of comprehensive combined treatment options.