Question: In adults with ADHD, what is the evidence that psychotherapy (including individual and group CBT, psychoeducation, psychosocial interventions) when compared to any other intervention (including medication, medication plus psychotherapy, no treatment) improves patient outcomes, including reduction in inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, improvement in co-morbid symptoms such as anxiety, depression or anger, reduction or withdrawal from medication, and improving well-being or quality of life.


Plain Language Summary

There is not enough high quality research to say that psychotherapy is better that any other intervention for adults with ADHD however psychotherapy appears to be better than medication and treatment as usual. More high quality research is needed to understand this area better.

Clinical and Research Implications

No definite clinical implications may be made based on the evidence presented in this BEST summary. Although the evidence suggests that psychotherapy is more effective than medication alone, treatment as usual, or self-guided skills training, and that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may have similar efficacy to psychoeducation, all of the included studies have a high risk of bias. There is consensus among the study authors that further high quality research is needed to assess the effectiveness of various different types of psychotherapy and their mechanisms, in order to improve ADHD symptoms.

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