This study will determine the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating adults
with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously believed to be a disorder of
childhood, affects as many as 5 percent of adults. Adults with ADHD are at high risk for
academic and occupational underachievement, relationship difficulties, and reduced quality of
life. This study will determine whether cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective
than ADHD education and relaxation techniques in treating adults with ADHD.
Participants will be randomly assigned to receive 12 to 15 weekly sessions of either CBT or
training in which they will learn relaxation techniques and receive detailed information
about ADHD. Questionnaires will be used to assess participants' ADHD symptoms at study entry
and at study completion.
The study is being conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and requires 5
assessment visits and 12 weekly therapy visits. Participants must be able to travel to Boston
on a weekly basis in order to participate in the study.
Study hypothesis: CBT is a more efficacious treatment for adult ADHD than education and
- Diagnosis of adult ADHD of at least mild clinical severity (CGI score of 3 or greater)
- Stable on medications for adult ADHD for at least 2 months
- Between 18 and 65 years old
- Be able to give informed consent and comply with study procedures
- Moderate to severe major depression, clinically significant panic disorder (CGI for
depression or panic greater than 4), bipolar disorder, organic mental disorders,
psychotic disorders, or pervasive developmental disorders
- Active suicidality (HAM-D suicidality item rated 3 or 4)
- Current substance abuse or dependence
- IQ less than 90
- Suicide risk
- Prior participation in cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD