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Managing ADHD With CBT, Sleep Therapy and More

Managing ADHD With CBT, Sleep Therapy and More

In one episode of The Simpsons, Principle Skinner calls in Marge and Homer to discuss Bart’s disruptive behavior that, he said, was fueled by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A pretty accurate diagnosis. In fact, when Matt Groening created Bart, he made his behaviors so textbook ADHD that two University of Central Oklahoma students created a YouTube documentary about the lad to explain the condition to their psychology class.

A person with ADHD sometimes can’t concentrate long enough to complete a given task (attention deficit) and may display restlessness and compulsive behavior (hyperactivity). Medications such as Adderall (an amphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) are often helpful, especially for kids. However, many adults with ADHD look for non-pharmacological ways to control the condition. Some alternatives:

  • Research shows weekly group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions focusing on strategies for planning actions, improving time management and easing stress responses are effective. For an ADHD CBT group near you, go to www.chadd.org.
  • One study indicates changing light exposure and sleep patterns might ease ADHD symptoms: In 75 percent of ADHD patients, onset of the physiological sleep phase (in which there are changes in the level of the sleep hormone melatonin and sleep-related movements) is delayed by 90 minutes—triggering all kinds of behavioral reactions. For a sleep clinic near you, go to www.sleepeducation.org/find-a-facility.
  • One study’s preliminary findings indicate that moderate doses of commercially available whole green coffee powder can improve sustained attention and working memory for folks 18 to 25, and may be helpful for those with ADHD.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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