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CBT is effective in reducing symptoms in adults with ADHD whose symptoms persist following pharmacotherapy

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Is cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) effective at symptom reduction in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are already using medication?


86 adults with ADHD diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. All participants were taking psychiatrist-prescribed medications and were still reporting clinically significant symptoms.


A US hospital, November 2004 to June 2008 (follow-up to July 2009).


CBT versus time- and attention-matched relaxation with educational support. Both treatments were delivered via 12 individual 50-min sessions.

The CBT programme was delivered consistently with manuals and comprised a combination of core and optional modules. The relaxation therapy involved training in relaxation techniques appropriate to ADHD management, combined with education and psychotherapy. Therapists saw patients in both treatment groups; 14% of sessions were externally assessed to monitor for adherence and contamination.


Primary outcome: assessor-rated ADHD symptoms. Secondary outcome: self-reported ADHD symptoms. Symptom severity was measured at baseline, post-treatment and at 6- and 12-month follow-up. Baseline …

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  • Source of funding National Institutes of Health.


  • Competing interests None.

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