The term ‘cognitive-behavioural interventions’ is used to refer to a broad range of approaches that use cognitive and/or behavioural interventions to minimise the day-to-day impact on functioning from ADHD symptoms. While a reduction in ADHD symptom severity may occur as an indirect result of these interventions, the greatest impacts are likely in broader functioning and well-being. It is also noted that cognitive-behavioural interventions play an important role in addressing co-occurring conditions for people with ADHD (see section 2.2).
The studies identified from evidence reviews and summarised below include one or more components of:
- Education and information on the causes of ADHD and its impacts on functioning
- Environmental modifications to promote a positive, predictable and structured environment
- Behavioural modification approaches to help minimise the functional impact of ADHD
- Psychological adjustment and cognitive restructuring.
The components of these interventions relevant to ADHD are summarised in Box 4.
The studies identified involved intervention components delivered directly to the person with ADHD, and/or delivered as ‘Parent/family training’ to parents or primary carers who are supporting a child or adolescent with ADHD. For children under 5 years and children aged 5–17 years, many of the interventions identified have been placed under the subcategory of ‘Parent/family training’ and include guidance on positive parenting approaches.
Some of the ‘Parent/family training’ interventions also include direct interventions for children and adolescents with ADHD. For adults, some studies identified in the review included specific intervention techniques such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy, whilst others included a broader set of cognitive behaviour therapy techniques. These have been noted where appropriate.
It is also noted that other types of cognitive-behavioural intervention approaches are sometimes used with people with ADHD. However, only RCTs that met the inclusion criteria for the guideline were included.