Nonpharmacologic Strategies

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Several nonpharmacologic interventions may help with ADHD symptoms and enable patients to cope with associated challenges. These interventions can be used as part of a management plan that includes medication therapy, but can also be used in its absence.1

Commonly used nonpharmacologic interventions are listed in the Table below, as well as the patient groups that might benefit most from each type of intervention. (Not all interventions are appropriate for all patients.) Select an intervention to learn more about it.

Table: Evidence-Based Use of Nonpharmacologic ADHD Interventions in Specific Patient Groups
Intervention ADHD Patient Group
Children Adolescents Adults
+Behavior modification2-3
+Cognitive behavioral therapy1,4
+Coaching/skills training1,5


  1. Murphy K. Psychosocial treatments for ADHD in teens and adults: a practice-friendly review. J Clin Psychol. 2005;61(5):607-619.
  2. Pliszka S; AACAP Work Group on Quality Issues. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007;46(7):894-921.
  3. Subcommittee on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Steering Committee on Quality Improvement and Management. ADHD: clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2011:128(5):1007-1022, SI1-SI21.
  4. Emilsson B, Gudjonsson G, Sigurdsson JF, et al. Cognitive behaviour therapy in medication-treated adults with ADHD and persistent symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2011;11:1-10.
  5. National Resource Center on AD/HD. What We Know #18: Coaching for Adults With AD/HD. Landover, MD: Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; 2003. Published December 2003. Accessed March 14, 2013.
  6. National Resource Center on AD/HD. What We Know #4: Educational Rights for Children with AD/HD in Public Schools. Landover, MD: National Resource Center on AD/HD. 2007. Accessed March 14, 2013.
  7. Kubik JA. Efficacy of ADHD coaching for adults with ADHD. J Atten Disord. 2010;13(5):442-453.