Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is condition of neurodevelopment affecting focus, organisation, impulsivity and emotional.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition of neurodevelopment affecting focus, organisation, impulsivity and emotional regulation.
Often the most obvious cases of ADHD are diagnosed in childhood. Many individuals have longstanding difficulties which only become apparent in adulthood, usually at times when the demands of academic, professional or family life increase beyond their ability to cope.
Causes of ADHD
Like most mental disorders the exact cause is not known, although the condition has been shown to often run in families. For this reason it is not uncommon for adults to seek assessment after a child or other family member is diagnosed. Other potential factors include being born prematurely or with low birth weight. There is also growing recognition that ADHD occurs relatively often in individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Condition.
The symptoms of ADHD in adults include:
- A busy brain which is always active
- Lack of concentration - a tendency to easily zone out and become distracted
- Hyperfocus -a tendency to become completely absorbed in a highly interesting task, to the detriment of other activities
- Becoming easily bored
- Forgetfulness and disorganisation
- Poor time management
- Difficulty initiating tasks
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Emotional dysregulation - becoming easily irritated, angry or sad. There can be acute sensitivity to criticism or rejection
Assessment of ADHD
The assessment process typically involves 2 x 1 hour appointments with a Consultant Psychiatrist. We will discuss your current difficulties and take a comprehensive history including details of your childhood development, family and past medical history.
You will be given a questionnaire for you and family members to complete. We will ask you to provide edited school reports where available.
During the course of the assessment the presence of other mental health conditions may be identified. When this occurs we will discuss your options for further assessment and treatment.
At the end of the assessment process you will be provided with a comprehensive assessment letter, which would usually also be sent to your GP. If a diagnosis is made then there will be opportunity to discuss this and to briefly discuss treatment options.
Treatment of ADHD
For most people seeking to explore treatment for ADHD we would advise they consider a trial of medication. National guidelines suggest stimulant medications Dexamfetamine and Methylphenidate as first line treatments.
These medicines are Controlled Drugs and therefore require to be initiated by a specialist. After diagnosis some of our patients opt to be referred to NHS services for initiation of treatment. Most however prefer to initiate treatment under the supervision of our team. We can provide private prescriptions for these medicines, fees apply. You will also need to meet the cost of the medication at the dispensing pharmacy.
During the initiation phase you would require follow up appointments every 4 weeks until symptom response is optimised with the least possible side effects.
Once you have reached a stable dose of medication your NHS GP may agree to take over prescribing ADHD medication using a shared care protocol. At this stage you would require a follow up appointment with a specialist every 6 months
Psychoeducation can help adults make sense of ADHD and can help you to cope and live better with condition. We can provide you with a letter confirming the diagnosis for education and work place support.