Harvard Medicine

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Cognitive behavioral therapy, together with medication, significantly reduced symptoms in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to the first full study to assess a nonmedical treatment of the disorder.

Patients receiving the therapy, which teaches life skills to help handle challenges and curtail negative thinking, had a significant easing of ADHD symptoms that they maintained for 12 months. Those who received medication with relaxation techniques and educational support showed no change in symptoms, according to research published August 25 in JAMA.

Medications alone may not ease ADHD patients’ difficulty with important daily living skills such as organizing, says study author Steven Safren, an HMS associate professor of psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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