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How is ADHD treated in adults? 


Are you looking for more information on how ADHD is treated in adults? If you have recently been diagnosed with ADHD, or you’re looking for more information as to whether you potentially have ADHD, you might be wondering exactly how ADHD is treated, and whether this differs from children. 

In this article, you can find the information you need regarding ADHD, the causes, types, processes for diagnosis and also potential treatment options for ADHD


What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a condition that affects people’s ability to concentrate, along with other symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness to name a few. 

A common misconception about ADHD is that it only occurs in children, however, diagnosis often occurs in adulthood as well. The symptoms often improve with age, however many adults who were diagnosed at a young age still continue to experience problems. 


What are the causes of ADHD in adults?

Scientific research is still yet to prove the exact causes of ADHD, but research so far concludes  that there are certain key factors which influence the development of the disorder in children, which can then be carried on to adulthood, including:

  • Genetics – Studies show that a family member having ADHD or a similar mental health condition can increase the chance of other people within the family developing it. 
  • Exposure to substances – There is a higher risk of developing the condition if the mother smokes, drinks or uses drugs when pregnant. 
  • Being born prematurely – There is a higher risk of premature babies developing ADHD. 
  • Problems during development – If a baby experiences problems during certain stages of their development it can increase the risk of them getting ADHD. 


Types of Adult ADHD

ADHD often coexists with other mental health conditions such as:

  • Anxiety disorders – These occur fairly often in adults with ADHD, with symptoms of extreme worrying and fear of future events. Anxiety often increases when ADHD causes setbacks, e.g. being made redundant from a job or a relationship breakdown.
  • Mood disorders – Many adults with ADHD also have depression, bipolar disorder or other mood conditions. These conditions are not caused by ADHD itself but can be intensified by the difficulties the condition causes in the person’s life.


How is ADHD diagnosed in adults?

Adult ADHD is diagnosed by carrying out an ADHD assessment for adults, in which a psychiatrist will carry out a series of interviews with you and one of your loved ones or someone close to you. They may ask about symptoms & your lifestyle along with other things. 

You can find out more about ADHD diagnosis, or alternatively, you can check out our ADHD assessments page. 


Treating adult ADHD

Once you have been diagnosed with ADHD, you can begin treatment. Treatment for ADHD comes in many different forms, and they all help relieve the symptoms and make day-to-day life easier. 

Adult ADHD can be treated using therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or Psychoeducation, or medicine, however, combining the two often gives the best results.    

It’s important to know that medicines are not a permanent cure for ADHD, but can help people with the disorder concentrate, feel calmer and less impulsive. 


How does treatment for adult ADHD differ from children?

When looking at adult treatment options for ADHD, treatment will not differ too greatly between adults and children. 

However, if behavioural changes need to be made to improve ADHD symptoms for children, the parents and teachers would aid in implementing the changes. For Adults with ADHD, a spouse, or therapist can be their aid, and this can also include the individual themselves.


Types of therapy for adult ADHD


When looking at how to treat ADHD in adults, psychoeducation is regularly implemented.

The process of psychoeducation involves learning and understanding mental health and well-being. Learning about how the mind works can help you better handle your ADHD symptoms as you will have an understanding of how your brain functions in relation to ADHD.

One of the reasons why psychoeducation is used to treat ADHD symptoms is because it provides an individual with knowledge of dealing with their ADHD in a healthy manner.


Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of psychological treatment that is designed to help an individual solve their problems by changing the way they think and behave.

Cognitive behavioural therapy can help treat ADHD by providing methods and techniques for handling daily struggles such as time management and procrastination. CBT also helps individuals realise that ADHD is not a character flaw, but rather a neurological wiring of the brain.



Talking with a therapist about your ADHD can help alleviate any negative emotions you may feel due to your condition. Therapy provides a different perspective that can enable you to view your condition differently. Having a neutral perspective (from your therapist) to discuss your ADHD with can guide you toward taking actions that improve life without ADHD holding you back.

Therapy helps you deal with feelings of low self-esteem, embarrassment and shame. If you’re new to therapy and do not yet feel comfortable talking in person with a therapist, you can start with online therapy to familiarise yourself with the process.  


We are here to help

Going through the day-to-day activities of life can be difficult if you have ADHD. If you are an adult looking for treatment, you can visit our dedicated ADHD treatment page or you can contact our specialists on 020 3941 2000.