Interpersonal therapy is one of the newest types of behavior modification being used to treat adult ADHD and is not yet widely available. Instead of learning to correct negative thoughts and behaviors, IPT focuses on helping you understand why and how your personal relationships are making you depressed. It also alleviates feelings of guilt and blame by encouraging you to shift the blame and guilt onto the disorder itself as well as the specific interpersonal situation.
Unlike other types of behavioral conditioning that may continue for months or years, IPT is a short-term therapy limited to between twelve and sixteen weeks; although new research shows that ongoing “maintenance therapy” following short-term IPT may prevent future episodes of depression, particularly in women.
However, as with other types of behavioral modification, IPT requires a commitment on the part of the patient to practice skills taught in IPT therapy. Those who don't practice are not likely to experience significant or permanent relief from symptoms and may suffer relapses.
Why IPT Is Helpful to Adults with ADHD
Interpersonal therapy is typically used in situations involving grief or loss, changing roles, and interpersonal problems with others. These are all common problem areas for adults with ADHD. Many ADHD adults suffer grief over being disabled, losing a job, or driving people away and losing friends and spouses. Because of their ADHD symptoms, they tend to change jobs more often, get fired more often, have a higher rate of divorce, and be involved in more traffic accidents and injuries, which all involve changing roles.
Because many adults with ADHD have volatile symptoms like short tempers, impatience, hyperactivity, and recklessness, they have significant trouble establishing and maintaining close relationships, tend to be socially withdrawn and isolated, and may lack social and communication skills.
In addition, interpersonal arguments and problems are the rule rather than the exception with many ADHD adults because they have difficulty getting along with everyone from casual acquaintances to spouses, family members, and close friends.