This blog post will provide a thorough introduction to ADHD, while also shedding light on the existing literature and research regarding ADHD. It will also address the effectiveness of CBT in treating ADHD, and discuss the different cognitive behavioural workbooks useful for managing and improving ADHD symptoms.
What is ADHD?
ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medically recognized psychological disorder. ADHD manifests itself in childhood, and many children with ADHD grow up to have major symptoms.
People with ADHD experience three basic categories of symptoms:
• Lack of concentration
• Disinhibition (Lack of Inhibition)
How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
A psychologist typically diagnoses ADHD following the criteria found in the APA’s DSM-5. The DSM-5 includes all of the different mental illnesses, symptoms and other criteria that must be met in order for someone to be diagnosed with the disorder. To fulfil the DSM-5 adult ADHD criteria;
• Almost five of the nine probable symptoms of inattention must be present.
• At the minimum, five of the nine probable symptoms of hyperactivity must be present.
• Individuals with ADHD, mostly inattentive presentation, exhibit five or more symptoms in solely the inattention group.
• ADHD, primarily hyperactive presentation, is diagnosed when five or more symptoms in the hyperactivity group are present.
• Mixed presentation is defined as five or more symptoms in both groups.
What Does Research Suggest?
Although several studies imply that genetics have a big influence in developing ADHD, scientists are unsure what causes it. ADHD, like many other disorders, is most likely caused by a mix of circumstances. The following factors play a role in developing ADHD:
• Environmental Determinants
• Injuries to the Brain
• Food Additives
Genes are the “blueprints” for who we are, inherited from our parents. ADHD runs in families, according to the findings of multiple worldwide twin studies. Researchers are looking into a number of genes that may increase the risk of developing the illness. Knowing which genes are implicated might one day aid researchers in preventing the condition before symptoms appear. It’s also possible that learning more about certain genes can lead to improved therapies.
According to studies, there is a relationship between alcohol and smoking use throughout pregnancy and the development of ADHD in children. Furthermore, children who have been exposed to high amounts of lead, that can be found in drainage pipes or paint in ancient houses, may be at a greater risk of developing ADHD.
Injuries to the Brain
Children who have experienced a brain injury might display behaviours that are comparable to those seen in children with ADHD. A traumatic brain damage, on the other hand, affects just a tiny number of children with ADHD.
Although there is widespread belief that processed sugar develops ADHD or exacerbates symptoms, more data contradicts this hypothesis than supports it. In one trial, children were given sugar or sugar substitute-containing meals every other day. The youngsters who were given sugar behaved and learned in the same way as those who were given the sugar replacement. Another research found comparable benefits when youngsters were given higher-than-average quantities of glucose or sugar-induced substitutes. In another trial, moms who thought their children were sugar sensitive were prescribed the sweetener aspartame, popularly known as Nutrasweet.
According to a recent British study, there may be a relationship between the use of certain food additives, such as artificial colours or preservatives, and increased activity. The findings are being confirmed, and further research is being conducted to understand more about how dietary chemicals may impact hyperactivity.
Is CBT Helpful for Treating ADHD?
CBT has been shown to be a significant intervention for adult ADHD which addresses the deficiencies and coping issues stated previously. While the coping tactics may look effortless— use a daily planner, begin to work on tasks well ahead of their set deadline, divide important duties into smaller chores—putting them into effect can be challenging.
Confronting these long-standing difficulties may provoke negative thoughts, despair, self-criticism, and feelings of frustration, in addition to adding further barriers to follow-through. There may also be a small number of persons with ADHD who are unable to take medications due to medical contraindications, severe implications, irresponsiveness, or resistance to take medications, in which CBT could be the preferred treatment option.
ADHD Workbooks for Adults
Many people use ADHD workbooks to manage with the unpleasant feelings and maladaptive patterns of behaviour that are common with the illness. These workbooks offer people practical methods that have been professionally proven to help them cope with ADHD symptoms. They’re frequently used in combination with other treatments. If you suffer from ADHD, you should consider buying an ADHD workbook.
List of ADHD CBT Workbooks
Below are a list of ADHD CBT workbooks which I recommend:
- The Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV (BAARS-IV)
This is a useful instrument for evaluating present ADHD symptoms and impairment categories, as well as childhood symptoms. The scale comprises both self-report and other-report sections and is directly related to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria (for instance, spouses, parents, or siblings). The BAARS-IV is not only scientifically founded, dependable, and valid, but it is also extremely easy to use. The full version takes 5-7 minutes for the typical adult to complete, whereas the Quick Screen just takes 3-5 minutes. A portion of items measuring the recently found symptoms of slow cognitive tempo, widely referred as the inattentive-only subgroup of ADHD, is one of the special characteristics. There are guidelines for assessing and evaluating the scale. You can access the scale through the following link: https://rcld.uga.edu/sites/default/files/Section3.4%20Referral%20Packet.11.07.16.pdf
- Goal Listing
Developing intervention goals at the outset of therapy will help your clients navigate their intended outcomes, create possible directions for upcoming sessions, and enhance client retention. The goal of this workbook is to assist your clients in thinking about and articulating their treatment goals, assign percentage to the level of expected controllability of problematic symptoms and create realistic and achievable short-term and long-term goals respectively. You can find the link to the Goal Listing workbook here:
- Thought Record
The thought record workbook is a prominent tool in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help clients record, examine, and modify their negative thoughts. We may evaluate the correctness of our thinking by recording and assessing our thoughts and feelings and we can frequently feel better by identifying and overcoming bias or mistakes.
Steps to Completing a Situation Thought Record:
- Find a circumstance when you had a strong feeling or response, or where you wished you had handled the situation differently.
- Describe the feelings that go along with them under the column with the heading ‘Mood’.
- List any automatic thoughts that come to mind in regard to the scenario.
- Identify your thinking errors.
- Jolt down your perceived rational response to the situation.
You can find the thought record workbook here:
- Problem-Solving Form: Selection of Action Plan
The problem-solving form is a very helpful workbook for individuals with ADHD. The goal of this workbook is to give a systematic procedure for detecting a problem, addressing the core reasons, and agreeing on next steps for a person with ADHD. When confronted with an issue, the tool is intended to prevent people from leaping to an unsuitable or erroneous answer.
Steps to Completing a Problem-Solving Form:
- Make a list of all the potential solutions that come to mind. Even if you don’t think they make sense or that you would do them, compose a list. The goal is to think of as many things as possible.
- Make a list of the benefits and drawbacks of each solution.
- After stating the benefits and drawbacks of each, assign a score, go over the entire list, and assign a score to each option.
- Make as many copies of this document as you need (even if they’re for the same issue).
You can find the problem-solving workbook here:
- Strategies for Reducing Distractions
This is a very simple yet effective workbook that helps reduce distraction in individuals with ADHD by simply allowing them to state the distraction and address the environmental triggers or stimuli they eliminated and what strategies they applied in order to overcome their distraction. It can be visited here: med-9780195188196-interactive-pdf-007.pdf (oxfordclinicalpsych.com)
An Outline to ADHD Workbook for Adults
Here are some basic and easy-to-follow checklists to help you manage your ADHD:
Structure and regularity, more than anything else, can aid in the management of ADHD symptoms. If there is no framework, the tasks of a single day might become confusing and intimidating, or even ignored. A regular routine will help you focus on one activity at a time and eliminate distractions.
Create a daily routine and attempt to keep to it. Try to eat, sleep, work, and rest at the same time every day. This will make it easier for you to complete all of your daily responsibilities. It may be tough to keep to your plan at first, but with practice, you’ll develop a pattern and it will become second nature.
• Create a daily routine and attempt to keep to it as much as possible.
• Make mealtimes a priority and plan your day accordingly.
• Make a to-do list for the next day every night before going to bed.
• Establish a regular bedtime and try to go to bed at a fixed time each night.
Investing in Relationships
ADHD symptoms can make a person appear indifferent and disinterested in their interactions, even if this is not the case. Others will forget about special occasions such as birthdays because they are distracted with certain other responsibilities. Spending some time with your partner will help you improve them, no matter how great the issues are.
For many individuals, a simple lack of understanding may lead to severe issues. Spend some time teaching your partners about ADHD or encouraging them to read more about the disease. Many therapists will collaborate with you and your spouse to answer issues, educate you, and bridge the gap.
• Make an effort to spend time with your close relationships every day.
• Keep a journal in your room where you may write down birthdays and anniversaries.
• Stay attentive by practising vigorous listening and even asking questions when you’re with your loved ones.
• Set reminders for key events, especially those involving friends and family, so you don’t forget.
Customise And Tailor Your Space
Here’s when it becomes hard for persons with ADHD. All persons with ADHD will not fall into a singular box, and each person will have unique needs that must be determined via experience and guidance.
What makes it easier for you to concentrate and what comes in the middle of your task? Some ADHD sufferers require a lot of stimuli. They’re most effective in bright, loud environments. Others need the polar opposite: no background noise, no tv, no gadgets—nothing but the task at hand. Determine what you require before constructing the environment.
If You Require Additional Stimulation
• Listen to some music or turn on the television to anything dull.
• In case you are working in a dull environment, try to spice up your current workstation. Include photographs, colours, and anything else that might pique your interest.
• Make it a habit to go out for a stroll at least once a day. Set a timer while going on break to inform you when it’s time to get back to work.
If You Need Little to No Stimulation
• If you operate in a noisy environment, put on your earphones and pay attention towards the white noise or mild ambient music.
• Remove any distractions from your home and set up an office space, even if it’s just a corner.
• Switch off your computers and other electronic gadgets and close your door. When you’re working, keep the intensity of distractions to a minimum.
Live a Healthy Life
Exercise, food, and sleep are all key considerations. If you don’t have these, no matter what else you do, you’ll have a terrible time regulating your ADHD.
If you don’t exercise, eat enough, or get enough sleep, even if you don’t have ADHD, you’ll get worried and preoccupied. ADHD only amplifies the harmful outcomes.
Tools for Organising
• Keeping track of appointments with a planner.
• Discuss any problems you’re encountering with your calendaring system.
• On a frequent basis, review any issues you’re having with your work list.
• Prioritisation using the “A,” “B,” and “C” priority grades.
• Discuss any problems you’re having with task prioritising.
• Evaluate how you employ these methods and put one or both to the test using instances from your preexisting to-do list by breaking down large jobs into manageable parts and utilising problem solving (choosing the best course of action).
Distractibility Reduction Techniques
• A smart method to utilise is to break down projects into small portions.
• Talk to your therapist about any challenges you’re experiencing breaking down activities.
• The use of a distractibility delay.
• Look into any issues you’re encountering with the process of distractibility delay.
• Defining distinct places for important objects and assuring that they are constantly placed in these areas.
• Eliminating interruptions in the environment
• Use of suggestions such as “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now?”
Getting Rid of Procrastination
• Think of a task or an issue that you’ve been putting off.
• Make use of talents that are relevant to this function or situation.
• Using the problem-solving approach, break down the task into manageable steps.
• Make a list of your to-do list’s steps.
• After that, write down all of your automatic ideas on getting started.
• Finally, highlight the key faults in thinking and try to come up with practical, beneficial answers.
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