March 26, 2021
Relationship-strengthening therapies, such as parent training and social skills training, effectively treat the emotional symptoms of ADHD in children, while cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) mitigates common emotional symptoms in adults with ADHD, according to a new meta-analysis published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.1
The study, which aimed to evaluate the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions on comorbid emotional symptoms of ADHD in adults and children, included 44 randomized control trials of studies. These studies reported on common emotional symptoms — such as those associated with mood disorder, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation — which were evaluated by each participant, or the participant’s caregiver or an independent observer. Participants below the age of 18 were classified as children; older than 18 were classified as adults.
CBT demonstrated efficacy in the improvement of emotional symptoms in adults with ADHD at post-intervention and follow-ups. It specifically helped in alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation. Therapies targeting the relationship between children and others (such as parenting training and social skills training) were shown to effectively mitigate emotional symptoms in children, specifically those associated with depression and emotional dysregulation. Participation in sports was also found to improve depression in children at post-intervention.
Researchers concluded that “while adults might benefit from more complex forms such as CBT, children with ADHD will benefit from more intuitive non-pharmacological interventions involving social relationships and interaction skills.”
1 Guo C, Assumpcao L, Hu Z. Efficacy of Non-pharmacological Treatments on Emotional Symptoms of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Attention Disorders. March 2021. doi:10.1177/10870547211001953
Updated on March 26, 2021