Has research shown whether behavioral therapy helps children with ADHD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
One of the most influential studies on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatments found that behavioral therapy helped children with ADHD and was most beneficial when combined with ADHD medication treatment.

The Multimodal Treatment Study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA study) compared various treatments for ADHD. The treatments studied included:

- intensive medication therapy
- intensive behavioral therapy
- combination of intensive medication therapy and intensive behavioral therapy
- regular standard of care treatment

At the end of the study, the researchers noticed that two treatments were superior to the others: intensive medication therapy and combined medication and behavior therapy treatments. However, all participants experienced improvements in their ADHD symptoms by the end of the study, indicating that all treatments were helpful, including behavior therapy alone.P61
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

You bet! Research has definitely shown that behavioral therapy helps children with ADHD. However, it’s even more effective when combined with medications. The key to ensuring that behavioral therapy remains effective long term is to regularly assess whether adjustments in approach or goals of behavioral therapy need to be made.

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