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Mindfulness interventions for ADHD

Background

Treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) consists of pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) may benefit patients with ADHD by improving attention and awareness while reducing impulsivity and stress.

The study

This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the effects of MBIs on ADHD and related clinical symptoms. Thirty-one studies, covering 1,336 participants with ADHD, were included.

The results

Among adults with ADHD, MBIs improved the following outcomes:

  • Inattention (medium effect)

  • Hyperactivity/impulsivity (small/medium effect)

  • ADHD total symptoms (medium effect)

  • Executive function (medium effect; small after correcting for publication bias).

  • Depression (small effect)

  • Anxiety (medium effect)

  • Mindfulness-related outcomes (medium effect; small after correcting for publication bias)

  • Quality of life (large effect; nonsignificant after adjusting for publication bias)

The results among adults were more significant in studies that used an inactive control group (i.e., a waiting list) instead of an active control group (i.e., medication).

The results among children and adolescents were described qualitatively. MBIs improved ADHD symptoms in 12 of 14 studies, executive function in 3 of 4 studies, behavioral problems in 1 of 3 studies, anxiety in 1 of 3 studies, depression in 1 of 3 studies, and emotional dysregulation in 1 study.

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