Mentalization-based treatment for adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a pilot study

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Deborah Badoud *
Eva Rüfenacht
Martin Debbané
Nader Perroud
(*) Corresponding Author:
Deborah Badoud |


Recent literature suggests that, in addition to its core cognitive and behavioural symptoms, socioemotional difficulties represent key characteristics of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Importantly, these deficits not only contribute negatively to the low social functioning and poorer professional achievements of ADHD patients relative to healthy individuals, they also respond poorly to medication and are not specifically addressed by current evidence-based psychological treatments. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is a psychological intervention focused on promoting the imaginative capacity to understand human behaviour as being driven by mental states. MBT has been shown to be effective in patients with chronic emotional dysregulation; it may therefore represent a valuable approach to address sociocognitive deficits and shape adaptive functioning in ADHD. In this study, we tailored the timelimited MBT program developed for borderline personality disorder to the specific clinical needs of individuals with ADHD. We report on the first eight patients with ADHD included in our programme at the Geneva University Hospitals. Preliminary results support the feasibility and relevance of the MBT model for ADHD. We discuss conceptual and clinical implications of the current data.

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