Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches for the treatment of Adult ADHD are designed to help people overcome deficits in executive functioning. Executive functions are critical for effective time management, organization, and planning. CBT also improves stress management, emotional regulation, and impulse control.
CBT has been established as an effective treatment for adults with ADHD who suffer from co-existing anxiety and depressive disorders. A major national study showed that 51% of adults with ADHD suffer from anxiety and 32% suffer from depression. This means treatments that incorporate CBT for anxiety and depression may be helpful to many adults with ADHD, even though they are not designed specifically to address the symptoms and impairment associated with ADHD. However, the skills training associated with specific CBT programs for ADHD adults, tend to show the greatest results.
Treatments that address executive dysfunctions aid adults in developing more adaptive thought patterns about how to go about planning, organizing, and gain more effective skills. For example an adaptive technique that utilizes CBT is to break down long or unpleasant tasks into manageable parts, while utilizing positive visualization. Positive cognitions(thoughts) and positive behaviors tend to reinforce one another. In other words, as a person becomes better at managing time, they also come to have more positive beliefs and thoughts about themselves. This pattern acts like a generator of positive/adaptive thinking and effective skill development.