1. I suspect I may have ADHD. How do I get a referral to an ADHD specialist for an assessment?
2. Is there an adult ADHD specialist or an adult ADHD clinic in my area?
3. What can I do if my GP refuses to write a referral to an adult ADHD specialist?
4. What will I need to take with me when I see an adult ADHD specialist?
5. Can I be at university or have advanced degrees and still have ADHD?
6. I did well in school. Does that mean I don’t have ADHD?
7. Can I take my ADHD medications abroad?
8. What do you mean by controlled drugs?
9. There isn’t an adult ADHD specialist in my area and my PCT refused to fund an out of area referral for an assessment for potential ADHD. What can I do?
1.See if there is a support group in your area that will help keep your morale up.
2. Keep a log of names, dates, telephone calls, and keep all paperwork in one place.
3. Find someone who is empathetic to your cause who can act as a witness to the process.
4. Be nice to everybody because it’s important to keep them on your side, but keep on taking it to the next step. Be nice but persistent.
5. Don’t take no for an answer, just keep jumping over all the hurdles put in your way.
6. Do enlist the help of ICAS.
7. Join our forum, and get the help and support of others who have been in a similar situation.
10. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Now I’m an adult, and I’m continuing to have problems. My GP/PCT has refused to refer me to an adult ADHD specialist for reassessment. What can I do?
11. I think I may have ADHD. Would it be possible for me to meet someone from your organisation to get some information and guidance?
Unfortunately, we are currently completely unfunded and we are all volunteers so for the time being we are unable to provide in-person help and guidance.
We know that personal interactions are very important and empowering, so we are fostering the growth of support groups around the country. We have a growing list of support groups on our website here, so please feel free to contact those that are closest to you. If there are none, you can talk with others and ask questions on our Forum here.
12. What happens during an assessment for ADHD?
The assessment process should include both a general psychiatric evaluation to gather a detailed history about your childhood and education and your current symptoms and impairments as well as a specific ADHD diagnostic interview. If needed, the specialist may also order an additional neuropsychological assessment. The specialist will have to rule out any other possible causes for your symptoms before a diagnosis for ADHD can be made. Since this can be a lengthy process, it is likely that they will send you some forms to complete and bring with you to the appointment. There is more background information available here.
13. What is a neuropsychological assessment?
It consists of a variety of tests, both spoken and written, that will help give the doctor an accurate description of such cognitive skills as memory, concentration, language, interpretation, and problem solving abilities. These assessments are usually given by a clinical neuropsychologist who is working with the ADHD specialist.
14. What happens if I get diagnosed with ADHD by a specialist?
You should be given an appropriate written treatment plan, a comprehensive assessment report, information and support for your family and/or carers, and regular follow-up monitoring. In addition, your GP and local Community Mental Health Team (if appropriate) should be given recommendations regarding the management and treatment of your ADHD symptoms. It is your right to receive these, if you don’t get them, ask for them.
15. What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?
Some people use the older term ADD (this term has actually not been used by medical experts for the last 25 years) to describe either themselves or someone else who does not appear to have hyperactive symptoms/behaviours, whilst others rather confusingly use ADD interchangeably with ADHD. The truth is that the name of the disorder has changed over the past 300 years as medical professionals and researchers began to understand the disorder and its impact better.
In 1798, Sir Alexander Crichton on page 272 of his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Mental Derangement describes a condition which he calls a “disease of attention” as follows:
In this disease of attention, if it can with propriety be called so, every impression seems to agitate the person, and gives him or her an unnatural degree of mental restlessness. People walking up and down the room, a slight noise in the same, the moving a table, the shutting a door suddenly, a slight excess of heat or of cold, too much light, or too little light, all destroy constant attention in such patients, inasmuch as it is easily excited by every impression. . . It gives them vertigo, and headach, and often excites such a degree of anger as borders on insanity. When people are affected in this manner, which they very frequently are, they have a particular name for the state of their nerves, which is expressive enough of their feelings. They say they have the fidgets.
After Sir Alexander Crichton’s “disease of attention”, the disorder went through a period of being called either “minimal brain damage” or “minimal brain dysfunction”.
In 1968 it was changed to “Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood”, 12 years later (in 1980) it was changed again to “ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) with or without hyperactivity”. 7 years later, in 1987, the name of the disorder was simplified and changed from “ADD with or without hyperactivity” to the generic term “ADHD”, and the term ADD technically expired.
From 1987 up to the present it has been called ADHD. ADHD was further and better defined in 1994 when 3 subtypes of ADHD were introduced as follows:
1. Combined Type: chronic and functionally impairing symptoms of inattention WITH chronic and functionally impairing symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity;
2. Predominantly Inattentive Type: chronic and functionally impairing symptoms of inattention WITHOUT symptoms of chronic and functionally symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity;
3. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: symptoms of chronic and functionally impairing hyperactivity/impulsivity WITHOUT symptoms of chronic and functionally impairing symptoms of inattention.
Whilst there are currently ongoing discussions around redefining the symptoms and subtypes to better reflect an increased understanding and knowledge of the disorder and its impact, there are no new proposals for changing the umbrella term ADHD.
So in a nutshell, the name ADD has been officially retired for the last 25 years, and replaced by the generic and inclusive term ADHD which includes the Combined Type, the Predominantly Inattentive Type, and the Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type. We are all ADHD!
For those who would like to read more, a digital copy of Sir Alexander Crichton’s book is available in our library thanks to Google’s Digitisation Project.
16. Can you help me find participants for my research project into ADHD?
We are keen to facilitate research which will benefit people with ADHD and you are allowed to recruit people for research projects by posting on our forum. But, all the following terms must be met and must be clearly stated in your post:
A. Researchers must be at postgraduate level or beyond
B. Your post must include the following 12 items: project title, project description, the project objective, the design/methods of the project, characteristics of required participants, main outcome measures, names & status of researchers, name of funding bodies, names of any other involved organisations, starting date of project, expected completion date, and contact details.
C. You must also include details of ethical approval.
Any posts which do not meet these criteria will be deleted. You will find our Forum here.
Please let us know (using the form at the bottom of this page) if there are questions which we have not covered here so that we can add them to the list.
Review date: 10/06/2012; Next review due: 10/06/2013