Treatment for ADHD: Why “One Size Fits All” Therapy Doesn’t Work 

For adults with ADHD, “cookie-cutter” therapy, well, just doesn’t cut it. Even medication with a generalized therapy approach alone is insufficient. Because really there is no such thing as “one size fits all” therapy. So why do people keep experiencing it? A lot of it has to do with overlooking the importance of emotions in ADHD treatment. 

At this point, it’s well recognized that attention challenges and hyperactivity can impact the way you feel. And those emotions impact everyday life, relationships, and self-esteem. Understanding the connection between your emotional life and your behavior can help make ADHD treatment more effective. 

ADHD Treatment Myths

  • Medication alone is sufficient treatment 
  • Worksheets and homework help all people have better therapy outcomes 
  • ADHD behaviors come down to willpower 
  • You either have ADHD or trauma symptoms 
  • People with ADHD just need to find a way to “fit” or “adjust” into their given situation

ADHD Treatment Facts 

  • One evidence-based therapy (e.g.: CBT) alone is not enough 
  • Medication often doesn’t help the secondary impact of ADHD (e.g.: negative self-talk, low confidence, relationship problems)
  • A holistic approach that provides focusing skills while also helping to manage emotions, relationships, lifestyle, and confidence is most effective 
  • It’s incredibly important to form a safe and trusting relationship with your therapist 
  • Many People with ADHD report struggles with hypersensitivity to rejection or criticism

Why Are Emotions So Important in ADHD Treatment?

It was not too long ago that the Food and Drug Administration began looking into the impact of emotional deregulation in people with ADHD. The research is really just getting started around a notable phenomenon. In fact, many adults with ADHD report two main struggles: regulating their emotions (anger, anxiety, and motivation) and overcoming self-esteem challenges (or rejection sensitive dysphoria [RSD]). 

Let’s Talk About Emotional Regulation

If you have ADHD, you know a thing or two about intense emotions. You know it takes you longer to recover when you’re frustrated. Or that it’s pretty easy for you to get caught in an anxiety spiral. You also know that you feel more deeply than other people. 

Why? Dr. Thomas Brown explains that emotional processing starts in the brain. And because ADHD is a matter of executive function (basically the brain’s CEO or train conductor), the brain can get overwhelmed…fast.

Plus, adults with ADHD often overlook their emotions. Struggling at times to see the simplicity of how they feel. There is just too much other noise. 

But it’s important to be mindful of how you feel. Emotional intensity can impact relationships and work. And without getting a deeper understanding of your emotional life, therapeutic progress can fall flat. 

What is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)? 

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is intense emotional pain surrounding perceived criticism or the fear of criticism. And it is often associated with ADHD. The majority of people with ADHD report struggling with frequent and intense feelings of rejection. 

If you have ADHD, you know what it’s like to walk away from a conversation thinking, “Ugh, I shouldn’t have said that.” You know what it’s like to worry for hours about getting fired, criticized, or dumped. 

So where does RSD come from? Because ADHD is a disorder of executive functioning, some think it’s a nervous system issue. And then others think it is due to a lifetime of hearing criticism for unintended mistakes. 

While we don’t know a lot about RSD, we do know that it impacts people with ADHD. And we know that therapy can help you learn about why you feel the way you feel, process and untangle negative thoughts, and build confidence.

ADHD Treatment Columbus, Ohio

If you’d like to take a personalized approach to ADHD treatment in Columbus Ohio and feel like you could use some professional support, an ADHD specialist can help. ADHD treatment can help you manage life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Columbus therapists