A teenager is in virtual CBT for ADHD.

CBT Can Help You Manage ADHD

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people with ADHD learn effective strategies for coping with challenges in their daily lives. Learn more about CBT for ADHD here.


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How CBT treats ADHD

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a commonly used approach to treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). With a CBT therapist, people learn to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may contribute to their ADHD symptoms. They also learn practical skills for managing their symptoms, such as organizing their tasks and breaking them into smaller, more manageable steps. Through regular sessions with a trained therapist, people can develop a better understanding of their ADHD and learn effective strategies for coping with challenges in their daily lives. Overall, CBT can be an effective tool for helping people manage the core symptoms of ADHD and improve their quality of life.

Skills taught in CBT for ADHD

Time management

This skill teaches people with ADHD how to break down tasks and prioritize them to manage their time better and avoid feeling overwhelmed. It helps them learn how to allocate their time effectively and reduce procrastination. For people with adult ADHD, time management can help them manage their school, work, life, and social schedules.


This skill focuses on helping people with ADHD develop better organizational habits, such as decluttering their workspace, setting up a system for important documents and papers, and creating a daily schedule to stay on track.

Goal setting

CBT for ADHD helps people set realistic and achievable goals, breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps. This skill also emphasizes tracking progress and making adjustments when necessary.


This skill teaches people with ADHD how to identify and manage their impulses and emotions and recognize and challenge negative thought patterns. It helps them develop strategies for staying focused and maintaining self-control.

Task initiation

CBT helps people with ADHD overcome the challenges of starting tasks by teaching them how to create a plan of action, break tasks into smaller steps, and set up a structured routine to make task initiation easier.


This skill focuses on teaching people with ADHD how to identify problems, generate potential solutions, and evaluate the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. It also helps them develop flexibility in adapting to unexpected challenges.

Emotional regulation

CBT helps people with ADHD learn how to recognize and manage their emotions in a healthy way, including practicing relaxation techniques and identifying triggers for emotional dysregulation.

Cognitive restructuring

This skill involves challenging and changing a negative thought pattern or self-defeating belief that can contribute to difficulties with attention and focus. It helps people with ADHD develop a more positive and realistic mindset.

Social skills

CBT for ADHD includes teaching people how to improve their social interaction and communication skills, such as active listening, recognizing nonverbal cues, and problem-solving in social situations.

Study and work habits

This skill focuses on helping people with ADHD develop effective study and work habits, such as creating a conducive environment for concentration, using time management techniques, and minimizing distractions.

Benefits of CBT for ADHD

Research has shown that CBT can have long-term benefits for people with ADHD. By helping people develop effective coping strategies and managing their symptoms, CBT can lead to lasting improvements in their daily functioning and overall quality of life. Additionally, CBT can help people develop better self-regulation and problem-solving skills, positively impacting their relationships, work, and overall well-being.

How quickly does CBT work for ADHD? 

Research shows that CBT can be an effective ADHD treatment for managing ADHD symptoms in people of all ages. Some people may begin to see improvements in their symptoms after just a few sessions with a CBT therapist, while others may take longer to experience noticeable changes. Overall, CBT can work relatively quickly for many people with ADHD, helping them to develop new coping strategies and skills to manage their symptoms better.

Coping skills for ADHD


Engaging in regular physical activities such as running, swimming, or practicing yoga can help people manage their ADHD symptoms. Exercise can release endorphins, improving mood and concentration, and reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Organization tools

Using tools like planners, calendars, or smartphone apps can help people with ADHD manage their time effectively and stay on track with their tasks and responsibilities. Creating lists and setting reminders can help people stay organized and prevent forgetfulness.

Mindfulness and meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help people with ADHD enhance their ability to focus and manage their impulsivity. By learning to be present in the moment and become aware of their thoughts and emotions, they can improve their attention and reduce stress and anxiety.

Support groups

Joining a support group for people with ADHD can provide a sense of community, understanding, and an opportunity to share experiences and learn from others. Being part of a support network can offer valuable resources, encouragement, and coping strategies.

Time management techniques

Learning time management techniques, such as breaking tasks into smaller steps, setting specific goals, and using timers and deadlines, can help people with ADHD stay organized and prioritize their responsibilities. These strategies can also help them better manage their energy and prevent overwhelm.

Other types of treatment for ADHD

Mindfulness-based therapy

This therapy focuses on teaching people with ADHD how to practice mindfulness and awareness of their thoughts and behaviors. It aims to help them manage their symptoms by learning to be more present and focused.


This therapy involves training people to control their brainwave activity to improve their attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It uses real-time monitoring of brain activity to provide feedback and help individuals learn to regulate their brain function.

Parent training

This therapy involves educating parents on effective strategies for managing their child’s ADHD symptoms. It helps parents learn how to create structure, set boundaries, and support their child in managing their behavior and emotions.


Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is often used to treat ADHD when a person requires more comprehensive and intensive care than traditional therapy or ADHD medication management can provide. IOP typically consists of a structured program that includes multiple therapy sessions per week, group therapy, and ADHD medication management. It works by providing a more intense level of support and treatment to help people with ADHD develop coping skills, manage symptoms, and improve overall functioning in their daily lives.

Treatment for ADHD at Charlie Health 

If a young person in your life is struggling with ADHD, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health offers a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with complex mental health conditions, including ADHD. Our expert clinicians incorporate CBT into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic treatment, managing ADHD is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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