Cognitive therapy is one of a range of treatment options used for treating behavioural disorders, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is a growing trend as patients and parents look for drug-free options with fewer corresponding side effects.
ADD is a behavioural disorder most commonly observed in children, and is a disruptive influence in the ongoing development of the child, particularly its education and social integration. It is thought the condition is caused by imbalances in the chemicals of the brain, which leads to this pattern of behaviour.
Cognitive therapy, often used as a component of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), is a form of psychotherapy aimed at breaking negative behavioural traits and habits. A pattern of negative thoughts and feelings can snowball and perpetuate the already low self-esteem of an ADD sufferer. This form of therapy aims to reassert some control over these thoughts and change the thought process of the patient, leading to more realistic and positive thoughts. Cognitive therapy is also used to treat a range of other conditions, including anxiety, depression, insomnia and eating disorders; amongst others.
Cognitive therapy aims to help the client to manage skills such as problem solving and self control. Activities used in cognitive therapy can range from role playing to having a plan in advance on how to handle particular situations. The person learns to think through the consequences their actions may have before actually performing the action. This form of therapy is effective for sufferers who find listening, focusing and paying attention difficult.
Cognitive therapy is typically conducted on a session by session basis, with a number of predetermined goals set and worked towards. These will focus on specific objectives such as task completion, which ADD patients have particular trouble with, accompanied by frequent evaluation of how the patient is progressing. A therapist is able to teach patients the necessary skills to accomplish these tasks and reverse the negative cycle of behaviour.
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