Home Health ADHD and DBT: A Match Made in Heaven

ADHD and DBT: A Match Made in Heaven

ADHD and DBT: A Match Made in Heaven
Back view of woman opens the curtain and sees the light. A girl with psychological problems looking for their solution. Mental health, vision concept, future planning.

The four-step program you’ll learn about in this article, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), has proven to be an effective treatment method for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). First developed in the 1970s, DBT can be applied to many different mental health problems and disorders. It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but it has since proven to be an effective treatment method for substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and even PTSD.

1) DBT is not just therapy

It’s a systematic way of living with mental illness. While DBT has traditionally been used to treat people with borderline personality disorder, evidence suggests that it can be just as effective at treating other conditions—including ADHD. More than half of all adults diagnosed with ADHD don’t have another psychiatric condition, according to Dr. Surman. And those who do often still benefit from additional treatment. Here’s how cognitive behavioral therapy can make your life better if you suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

2) Limitations of Standard Psychotherapy

When it comes to treating mental illness, psychotherapy has its limitations. It can be time-consuming, expensive, inconvenient (many people don’t like having their personal problems discussed with strangers), and some patients may not be receptive to or open about their problems. Traditional counseling also doesn’t work for everyone; some patients feel comfortable sharing their issues with friends or family but are uncomfortable opening up to a professional.

3) What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a cognitive-behavioral treatment developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan. The goal of DBT is to help patients become more aware of their emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and interactions with others, as well as teach them strategies for better coping with them.

4) An Overview of Acceptance Strategies for ADHD

Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot, but it can mean different things to different people. It’s used in various settings—therapy, medicine, fitness—and comes from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In recent years, studies have shown that applying mindfulness techniques to certain mental disorders can be beneficial. In particular, several studies have been conducted on how mindfulness techniques may help treat ADHD.

5) An Overview of Mindfulness Strategies for ADHD

Since ADHD is a predominantly a disorder of attention, it makes sense that improving our ability to direct our attention is an important tool for managing ADHD symptoms. Some strategies—like making to-do lists or focusing on one task at a time—are often recommended to adults with ADHD. But there are also some approaches that are specifically geared toward people with ADD/ADHD.

6) An Overview of Emotion Regulation Strategies for ADHD

For many individuals with ADHD, regulating emotions can be extremely difficult. One of their main challenges is learning how to calm themselves down after an emotionally charged event. As a result, they may turn to addictive behaviors to help regulate their emotions instead of healthy ones. Individuals with ADHD have been shown to have an increased risk for addiction compared to those without it. One study found that 50% of adults with ADHD had a co-occurring disorder, such as a substance use disorder or a mood disorder.

7) Integrating Self-Care Into Everyday Life

Individuals with ADHD often struggle to follow through on tasks. This is especially true when it comes to taking care of oneself, like following a daily medication regimen. Fortunately, however, there are several ways you can integrate self-care into your everyday life with even minimal planning.  The key is learning how to adopt small behaviors that naturally fit into your day—and building them up over time. Even just one healthy activity added per week adds up quickly.