Psychological treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: A systematic review

Raquel Vidal-Estrada, Rosa Bosch-Munso, Mariana Nogueira-Morais, Miquel Casas-Brugue, Josep A. Ramos-Quiroga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood onset. The disorder persists into adulthood in most cases, significantly affecting patient function. Although the first-line choice of treatment for ADHD is pharmacological, drug treatments are not always sufficient. All the published studies on the psychological treatment of ADHD were systematically reviewed for the present article. Method: The MEDLINE and PsychlNFO electronic databases were searched using the terms psychological treatment OR psychotherapy OR psychosocial treatment AND ADHD. Patient age was restricted to adults (all adult:19+ years). Results: Eighteen published studies met inclusion criteria forthe review. Fifteen efficacy studies of psychological treatment were selected (cognitive behavioral therapy, metacognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, coaching, cognitive remediation) and three previous reviews. Conclusions: The results indicate that cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective psychological treatment for ADHD symptoms in adults and the comorbid symptoms of anxiety and depression, which have an important functional impact on the daily life of patients. However, more research is needed to know the differential effects of each psychological approach in relation to improved ADHD symptoms in adults. Finally, future directions for the psychosocial treatment of ADHD problems of adults are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
JournalActas Espanolas de Psiquiatria
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychological treatment
  • Psychosocial treatments


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