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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00571

A comparison of cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy versus pharmacotherapy alone in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – A randomized controlled trial

 Salvatore Corbisiero1*, Hannes Bitto2,  Patricia Newark2, Beatricie Abt-Mörstedt2, Marina Elsässer1, Jacqueline Buchli-Kammermann2, Sven Künne1, Elisabeth Nyberg1,  Maria Hofecker-Fallahpour1 and Rolf-Dieter Stieglitz2
  • 1Universitäre Psychiatrische Kliniken Basel, Switzerland
  • 2Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, Fakultät für Psychologie, Universität Basel, Switzerland

In the treatment of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the importance of psychological interventions in combination with pharmacotherapy is widely accepted in contemporary clinical routine. The natural course of the disorder seems to justify additional psychological interventions because even in patients who are highly compliant to pharmacotherapy full remission is not always achieved. The aim of the present study was to analyze the contribution of psychotherapy to the treatment of adult ADHD patients. In a randomized controlled study, the efficacy of a combined treatment of psychotherapy with pharmacotherapy is compared to pharmacological intervention alone. After initiation and stabilization of treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) in all subjects randomization to the two different treatment conditions was done. Afterwards both groups underwent treatment for about 10–12 weeks, the experimental group receiving sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) whereas the control group only received medication and standard clinical management (SCM). ADHD symptoms differed statistically during time but not between the two different treatment conditions. This result was the same for the single ADHD symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and emotional symptoms – and also for impairment. Individual standardized ADHD specific CBT program was not able to outperform SCM.

Keywords: ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), multimodal therapy, Pharmacotherapy, adulthood

Received: 17 Jul 2018; Accepted: 19 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Roumen Kirov, Institute of Neurobiology (BAS), Bulgaria

Reviewed by:

Katharina Bachmann, University of Oldenburg, Germany
Sam Cortese, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Toshinobu Takeda, Ryukoku University, Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Corbisiero, Bitto, Newark, Abt-Mörstedt, Elsässer, Buchli-Kammermann, Künne, Nyberg, Hofecker-Fallahpour and Stieglitz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Salvatore Corbisiero, Universitäre Psychiatrische Kliniken Basel, Basel, Switzerland,