At the end of last year, an interesting article appeared in The New York Times.
The authors in that study went as far as to argue that combining behavioral interventions with medications did little to improve outcomes from clients. That has become a crucial piece of the argument of pharmaceutical companies trying to market A.D.H.D. drugs and a key reason that coaching modalities that are helping in treating A.D.H.D. are not more prominently taught in psychology graduate schools.
As we re-examine the conclusions of that study, what’s clear working in clinical practices with psychiatrists, therapists and A.D.H.D. coaches is that our clients with A.D.H.D. often benefit from treatment from each of those disciplines. Medication management serves as a front-line method of treatment impulsive and inattentive symptoms that give clients a fighting chance to allow for practical behavioral interventions to allow them to modify their way of operating.
A.D.H.D. is a disorder of executive function — meaning the part of the prefrontal cortex that manages time management, organization, prioritizing, impulse control — and other higher end functioning. Medication, no doubt, can play a role in improving executive function, leading to less social problems, academic problems and other issues. Behavioral interventions, such as coaching and psychotherapy, can help people develop new symptoms, ways of approaching challenges and forging past some of their prior disappointments. Coaches, and hands on therapists, also help clients stay on track, provide accountability and assist with follow through.
It may have taken the study’s authors 20 years to recognize it, but we’ve known for a long time that coaching an A.D.H.D. brain to health is an effective form of treatment.