Settling a distracted globe: An overview of psychosocial and psychotherapeutic treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2024 Jun:83:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2024.03.002. Epub 2024 Mar 14.


While the currently prevailing theory of ADHD postulates a neurobiological background and core deficits of behavioural inhibition and executive functioning as the basis of ADHD symptoms, our current conceptualisation also acknowledges the essential contributory role of psychosocial, ecological, and cognitive factors. Considering the multifactorial background of ADHD, its treatment equally needs to be multifactorial involving, besides pharmacotherapy, skill development and psychotherapy as well, especially if we postulate the increasing contribution of social factors in the background of the increasing burden of ADHD. Pharmacotherapies, including stimulants and non-stimulant ADHD medications applied as first-line treatments have a positive effect on core behavioural symptoms, however, they often do not sufficiently remediate several other symptoms and comorbid disorders, which are consequences of ADHD, especially considering that ADHD persists into adulthood and is present over the whole life span. Furthermore, pharmacological treatment is not sufficient to substitute for the skills needed to manage symptoms and adapt well to the environment. As part of a multimodal treatment approach, psychological therapies for ADHD target, besides core ADHD symptoms, other associated features including emotional dysregulation, personality development, neurocognitive dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. Insufficiently treated ADHD may contribute to psychological and personality developmental problems in children, as well as increased health costs and decreased productivity warranting multimodal treatment to address the areas not sufficiently targeted by ADHD-specific pharmacotherapy.

Keywords: ADHD; Cognitive behavioural therapy; Emotional dysregulation; Neurocognitive dysfunction; Psychotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy* / methods