Adhd and Cbt

Adhd and CBT

Are there strategies that help?

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative or unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors. It is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including ADHD.

Adhd and CBTypically involves identifying and challenging negative beliefs and self-talk related to attention and behavior, developing coping strategies for managing symptoms, and setting achievable goals and implementing behavioral changes. The therapy also includes teaching organizational skills, problem-solving strategies, and improving time management skills.

CBT can be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD because it focuses on practical, tangible skills and strategies that can be applied in daily life to manage symptoms and improve functioning. It can help individuals with ADHD to develop a more positive self-image, improve their ability to regulate their emotions, and reduce the negative impact of ADHD symptoms on their lives.

Studies suggest that people with ADHD have more negative automatic thoughts than others. Therefore it makes sense to use techniques that address “Negative Automatic Thoughts” to help yourself. This is especially true in regards to perfectionism and anxiety, and the patterns that may cause you to freeze or avoid.

Automatic thinking comes from beliefs you have about yourself and the world. They aren’t chosen. They stem from the beliefs that formed as you rather automatically as you grew up.

Challenging automatic thoughts helps chip away at the beliefs that are there. Using strategies that address these thoughts has been shown to help with your self-concept. Self-concept refers to how people perceive themselves your past your abilities, your future, and your sense of self in general.

Check out these worksheets below from




One of the best methods to work with ADHD from this approach is to learn how to observe your thoughts without judgment so we can challenge their validity of them.

Negative automatic thoughts can be triggered by external or internal events and can also be images, or be accompanied by images. Cognitive behavioral therapy does have value for women with ADHD. In cognitive behavioral therapy, we often get to the truth of how thoughts are tricking you through a method called Socratic questioning. As it implies, this was a technique named for the early Greek philosopher and is designed to get at the truth. The forefathers of cognitive behavioral therapy utilized this technique in their office, as do almost all therapists. Luckily, you can teach yourself how to use this technique.

Negative Automatic Thoughts and ADHD : Three Facts about using CBT techniques

Thoughts and beliefs that underlie some things you believe about yourself due to your ADHD are often distorted, negative and happen automatically.

Questioning those thoughts can help you realize that they are not helpful, distorted, and untrue.

Understanding the thoughts are not accurate can shake the foundations of some of the things that hurt you because of your ADHD.
Although the formula for Socratic questioning can be complicated, a simple method is demonstrated here.

An example of Socratic Questioning for Adhd and Cbt

What is the evidence for and against this thought?

What are different ways to think of the situation?

What would happen if you thought differently, and what is happening in your life if you continue to think this thought?

Exploring Negative Automatic Thoughts for ADHD

One helpful way to address negative automatic thoughts related to ADHD is by using a worksheet that helps identify the thought that is making you feel bad, the event that triggered it, and a more realistic thought.

To illustrate this, let's consider an example where the trigger is procrastinating on a project. An automatic thought in this situation might be, "I am lazy and can't ever get anything done." A more adaptive and realistic thought could be, "I have ADHD and sometimes struggle to get started when I am overwhelmed. Procrastination is a sign that I need to break down the task into smaller parts. I can learn from this experience and do better next time."

To help identify and challenge automatic thoughts, here are some questions adapted from the Positive Psychology website that you can ask yourself.

Challenging Questions to Help with my Automatic Thoughts: Adhd and CBT

1. What facts support this thought? What existing evidence contradicts it?

2. What would the worst possible outcome be, if this thought were true?

3. Am I using an experience from my family and what they have taught me about my ADHD to overgeneralize?

5. If I don’t do this perfectly or make a mistake will this matter in a week or a month?

6. What are some ways I’ve dealt with this scenario before that was helpful?

7. What advice would my counselor or therapist give about this situation that explains it in terms of my ADHD?

9. Are my thoughts self-compassionate?

11. Besides myself, what else might be affecting this situation?

12. Am I using “I must,” “I have to,” or “I should” thinking here? Is it truly necessary?

13. What advice would I give my friend with ADHD or neurodiversity in this scenario?

14. Am I comparing myself to others who are neurotypical?

You can learn how to do this yourself!

Here is a formula used by Byron Katie, a spiritual teacher who suffered a deep long depression at the end of which she learned many things about how to be happy. The formula is similar to that used By CBT therapists and is simple and to the point.

More questions about automatic thoughts for ADHD and CBT

  • Do I know it ( the thought) is true?
  • How do I feel when I think that’s true?
  • Can the opposite or an alternative thought be true?
  • How do a feel when I believe that thought is true?

Leave ADHD and CBT for otther pages

Read about ADHD and the brain

Read about ADHD and Time Blind? You aren’t alone.

Read about ADHD and Laundry

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.


By admin