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The struggles caused by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have traditionally been treated with medication and behavioral therapy. While these approaches may work for some, the side effects of medications or difficulty expressing emotions in talk therapy leads others to alternative therapies. Art therapy is becoming an increasingly popular approach to treatment of the symptoms of ADHD such as emotional dysregulation, sensory processing issues, executive dysfunction, and inattention. Through the examination of research conducted on this form of therapy, the efficacy of such treatments can be evaluated. Preliminary findings show that through art therapy, many symptomatic behaviors are reduced. These successes can be attributed to multiple factors. The tactile pleasure of handling paints, with their distinctive textures, can help overcome sensory issues as well as promote healthy creativity. The encouragement of the art therapist to stay on task to its completion is extremely beneficial for individuals with ADHD, who often struggle with the beginning and/or fulfillment of tasks. Additionally, the production of a pleasing tangible result helps stimulate the dopamine-deficient ADHD brain, which reinforces the therapeutic experience with positive emotions. As a result of this research, some art therapists report that their work can help to effectively treat ADHD without medication. Given the objections by individuals with ADHD and their families to the medication-first approach to treatment, along with their concerns regarding the extent to which behavioural therapies encourage neurotypical normativity, art therapy may present itself as a welcome alternative.



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Treating ADHD with Art Therapy