Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Treating ADHD

Michele Dadson, PhD; Adelaide S. Robb, MD


July 31, 2006

In This Article

Behavioral vs Other Nonpharmacologic Interventions

Behavioral interventions have received more attention in the research literature than other, nonpharmacologic approaches to treating ADHD. In their review of the literature, Pelham and colleagues[8] found 25 studies demonstrating the effectiveness of behavior therapy with ADHD children. By contrast, they found no studies demonstrating effectiveness of individual or play therapy. According to Barkley,[7] other treatments with little or no evidence of effectiveness in treating ADHD include long-term psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and sensory-integration training. Cognitive behavioral (CB) interventions can be distinguished from behavioral approaches in that CB interventions are typically conducted with the child, and include training in self-instruction, problem solving, self-reinforcement, and error coping.[10] Despite early promising results, CB interventions have been found to be largely ineffective for treating children diagnosed with ADHD.[10] Thus, the current emphasis on behavioral treatments appears reasonable.


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