Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Unlike many tools for ADHD, mindfulness develops the individual’s inner skills. It improves your ability to control your attention by helping to strengthen your ability to self-observe, to train attention, and to develop different relationships to experiences that are stressful. In other words, it teaches you to pay attention to paying attention, and can also make people more aware of their emotional state, so they won’t react impulsively. That’s often a real problem for people with ADHD.” – Carl Sherman
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. If that’s not enough they can be addictive and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.
There are indications that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD, attention, impulse control, executive function, emotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. Since mindfulness is so promising as a treatment, it is important to further investigate the role of mindfulness in ADHD and its treatment.
In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526699/, Aadil and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature of the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults. MBCT involves both mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms.
They identified 16 published trials and every one of them reported small but significant reductions in symptoms of ADHD. The improvements included significant reductions in ADHD severity, depression and emotional symptoms and increases in mindfulness, attentional ability, and quality of life. These improvements occurred even in patients who did not respond to drug treatment. Hence, MBCT is a safe and effective treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These are important and very impressive results. Mindfulness training is clearly a safe and effective treatment that may be used either as a supplement or instead of drug treatment and can help to alleviate the symptoms.
So, Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mindfulness.
“78% of participants who practiced mindful awareness reported reduction in their ADHD symptoms.” – Lidia Zylowska
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Aadil, M., Cosme, R. M., & Chernaik, J. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults: A Literature Review. Cureus, 9(5), e1269. http://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.1269
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood-onset neurological disorder that often continues into adult age. Stimulants medication are the mainstay of treatment, however, in the recent years, there has been a lot of studies conducted to understand the effectiveness and feasibility of mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. In this article, we have reviewed 17 articles to look for the beneficial effects of such therapy in adults. Overall, we found that there is a clear beneficial effect of such therapies, especially when used in adjunct with stimulant medication and may increase overall compliance. For better understanding, we suggest that large, well-designed studies should be conducted with robust strategies, allowing more comparison studies with the better analytical outcome.