Review Article

A review of recent treatments for adults living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Candice Wakelin, Michele Willemse, Erica Munnik
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2152 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2152 | © 2023 Candice Wakelin, Erica Munnik, Michelle Willemse | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 July 2023 | Published: 05 December 2023

About the author(s)

Candice Wakelin, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Michele Willemse, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Erica Munnik, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuro-developmental disorder prevalent among children and adults. Adults living with ADHD can experience significant distress affecting their daily functioning on emotional, physical, interpersonal, familial and financial levels. Intervention programmes may be a way to mitigate these challenges.

Aim: This review identified good evidence-based intervention studies for adults with ADHD and described the usefulness of these interventions.

Method: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, articles were searched from 2009 to 2019 across four medical- and psychological-focused electronic databases using EBSCOhost. All articles selected for the review’s thematic meta-synthesis were appraised by attaining a threshold score of at least 61%, using the Smith-Franciscus-Swartbooi appraisal tool. Two autonomous reviewers engaged in the review process. The study adhered to all ethical principles pertaining to systematic review practice.

Results: Forty studies were identified for summation, including pharmacological, non-pharmacological and neuro-stimulation approaches. Most interventions used a multimodal approach. Results indicated the most effective stimulant and non-stimulant as methylphenidate and atomoxetine, respectively. Effective non-pharmacological approaches to treatment were identified as cognitive-behavioural treatment, mindfulness-based approaches, psycho-education and dialectical-focused therapies. Bright light treatment and neurofeedback were reported as the most efficacious neuro-stimulatory methods.

Conclusion: Pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, as well as neuro-stimulation or a blend of these approaches were acknowledged as the most effective recent modalities in the treatment of adult ADHD.

Contribution: This review reported on the most current approaches to treat adult ADHD. This will facilitate a better understanding and informed decisions with regard to dealing with adult ADHD.


Keywords

adult ADHD; intervention approaches; systematic review; treatment; SFS appraisal; evidence based interventions; RCT’s

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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