Cognitive Behavioral Therapy –CBT—and Adult ADD

I get asked every day what kind of “natural” therapies are available to improve ADD, from herbal plant products to psychological interventions. People seem to want “natural”. Natural does not necessarily mean safer or more effective. Most safe and most effective are the goals—always.

Natural or psychological interventions are helpful and should always be considered but I do not want to blur the issue that ADD is a psychological issue. It is a brain dysfunction issue or neurologic, just like epilepsy is a neurologic issue. Parts of the ADD brain are under functioning, mal-functioning, or overactive in some cases. There are many things that can calm the brain and reduce epileptic seizures, but no experienced epilepsy physician would ever use “natural” as a primary treatment—it would be malpractice.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is skill training, similar to training in the martial arts. First, you become aware of your limitations or disabilities. Then you are taught simple skills to practice: over and over and over again until your brain is “trained” to act and behave a certain way under certain circumstances (like combat in martial arts). You challenge those skills to improve over time under the supervision of a coach. For CBT in ADD it is usually a psychologist, speech therapist, or social worker trained specifically for ADD. Professionals with those credentials are not common, expensive, and must work with the patient for years to gain maximum improvement.

CBT can greatly enhance effectiveness of medications but, in my experience, does not or will not replace medications with the same effectiveness. It can improve confidence, chances of success or a good outcome, and will produce insight or “wisdom” about one’s self. That is usually gained the “hard way” in life. CBT shows you an easier way and a more effective way.

A good place to start in locating someone experienced with counseling or CBT in Adult ADD is to ask a local psychiatrist or psychologist. They often have a list of therapists they can count on for various issues within their specialty.

Stanford A Owen MD Certified,

American Board of Internal Medicine Certified,

American Board of Physician Specialists Certified,

NEI Master Psychopharmacologit

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