Wondering if your child has too much energy, wearing you down or teachers have commented that your child has a shorter attention span than their peers? Curious about how psychological intervention can help? In this article we outline the treatment options that you can consider.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects between 3-5% of the population. ADHD affects one’s ability to focus, control impulses, and manage emotions. While medication is often the first-line treatment for ADHD, non-pharmacological interventions for ADHD can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the individual’s strengths and challenges across different domains of life. Non-pharmacological interventions also offer an alternative option for those who cannot or do not want to use medication. In particular, clinical practice guidelines suggest that non-pharmacological interventions should be put in place first for younger children, before the use of medication.
Here at Clinical Psychology Associates our clinicians are well-versed in the various non-pharmacological interventions. These include behavioural, psychological, social, educational, and lifestyle approaches that aim to improve the core symptoms of ADHD and enhance the quality of life of individuals with ADHD and their families. The skills and strategies acquired through these approaches are often useful in self-management, whether the individual with ADHD is on medication.
Some examples of evidence- based non-pharmacological interventions for ADHD offered at Clinical Psychology Associates are:
- Digital Therapeutics: We are one of the few clinics offering this intervention in Singapore. COGO seeks to address inattentiveness in children between 6-12 years old, through a 24- session guided games format that is paired with AI technology as well as neurofeedback. This non-invasive intervention program is proven to be an effective treatment for ADHD in Children1.
- Parent-led behavioural therapy: This is the preferred intervention for school-going children, under 12 years old. It involves teaching parents strategies to promote positive behaviour and reduce problematic behaviour in their children with ADHD. Parents learn how to set clear rules and expectations, provide consistent rewards and consequences, and communicate effectively with their children, improving parent-child relationships and behaviours, in turn having the child better regulate in both emotions and behaviours.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy: This involves helping teens and adults with ADHD develop a more planned and reflective approach to thinking and behaving. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help individuals with ADHD challenge negative thoughts, cope with emotions, set goals, and solve problems. Cognitive behavioural therapy can also help individuals with ADHD improve their social interactions and academic functioning.
- Mindfulness: This involves training individuals of all ages with ADHD to pay attention to the present moment with curiosity and openness. Mindfulness can help individuals with ADHD reduce stress, enhance focus, regulate emotions, and increase self-awareness. Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or other activities.
- Cognitive remediation: This involves using computer-based or paper-and-pencil exercises to improve cognitive functions such as working memory, attention, planning, and inhibition. Cognitive remediation can help individuals with ADHD enhance their cognitive abilities and reduce their symptoms.
Non-pharmacological interventions for ADHD can have a wide range of benefits for individuals with ADHD and their families. However, the suitability and effectiveness of these interventions may vary depending on the individual’s needs, preferences, and other characteristics. Therefore, it is important to consult with a qualified professional before starting any non-pharmacological intervention for ADHD.
At Clinical Psychology Associates, we offer customised and comprehensive treatment plans for ADHD and other concerns. Our clinicians are experienced and equipped to help you on this journey. Contact us for more information on how we can journey with you to address your concerns.