Living with ADHD

In an attempt to keep things organised, information related to living with ADHD has been divided into categories and placed on subpages under the following headings: organisation/time management, relationships & social skills, money management, university & college issues, workplace issues, women & ADHD, and crisis helplines (links to these subpages are at the bottom of this page as well as links to the remainder of our site).

 As with everything, some information just doesn’t fit easily into any category so this page is a compilation of numbered miscellaneous information.

1. ADHD & Firearms:

It has come to our attention that there is a belief that if people with ADHD are taking stimulant medication they may have their firearms or shotgun certificates revoked.  However, after we read through the Government’s new Guide on Firearms Licensing (issued April 2016) as well at the British Medical Association’s take on the guidance, we realised that this belief is not entirely correct and that the situation as it relates to ADHD is actually both vague and complex. Here’s what we’ve found out:

A. The Home Office issued revised guidance on firearms licensing law in April 2016 which places a responsibility on the local constabulary to ensure that everybody applying for, or renewing, firearms and shotgun certificates is medically fit to possess firearms and shotguns.

The application form requires the applicant to give consent to the sharing of factual medical information between GP’s and the police both during the application process and following the grant of the certificate while it remains valid.

B. If the applicant has a relevant medical condition then the police may ask the GP for a written medical report.  Here is the list of ‘relevant’ medical conditions that the Home Office wants applicants to include on the firearms application:

  • Acute stress reaction or acute reaction to the stress caused by a trauma
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Mania, bipolar disorder or a psychotic illness
  • A personality disorder
  • A neurological condition: for example, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases, or epilepsy
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Any other mental or physical condition which may affect the safe possession of firearms or shotguns

As you will see, ADHD is not specifically mentioned but the field has been left wide open by the last item on the list.

C. The Home Office guidance says that the fact that the applicant has received treatment in the past for certain illnesses or conditions, such as depression or stress, does not make them automatically unsuitable to possess firearms but it is a factor to be considered along with all other evidence relating to their character and history. In such cases the police must take account of the latest medical opinion and pay particular attention to whether the condition is likely to recur.

The question here is how this latter restriction will impact someone with ADHD who may have experienced anxiety, depression or stress in the past and may indeed have a future bout particularly given the current poor provision of knowledgeable and relevant psychological services. In fact that could apply to anyone.

D. According to the Home Office’s guidance, the police upon receipt of the report may reach their own conclusions as to whether or not the applicant is fit to have a certificate based upon their own knowledge and experience or they make take advice from a police medical officer or an independent medical practitioner in cases where the medical information provided is difficult to understand or its significance in terms of the possession of a certificate is unclear.

E. The British Medical Association (BMA) have written guidance for GP’s that suggests how they can respond to the request for medical reports and also provides sample letters that GP’s can use but unfortunately the second sample letter gives GP’s the option to refuse to provide a report because it seeks an opinion on matters falling outside their medical expertise “namely assessment of behavioural and personality disorders.”

The Home Office does say, on page 262 in Appendix 11 of the Guide,  that if a GP does not want to provide a report based upon conscientious objection or for any other reason (such as a behavioural disorder), then the GP should refer the applicant to a colleague but note the use of the word “should” rather than “must” because if the GP does not want to write a report for someone with a “behavioural” condition then that GP is not specifically required by law to refer that person to a colleague who would have the expertise. A negative response from a GP in these instances may likely make it harder for the police to justify issuing or renewing a certificate even if the applicant is actually suitable. So our recommendation in this instance is that people ask their GP to refer the matter to another medical professional with expertise in ADHD.

Here are the links to our two sources for this article (accessed 23/4/2017):

Home Office: Guide on Firearms Licensing Law April 2016

Firearms licensing process: GP support guide

2. ADHD & Pilot Licensing:

We have been asked if someone with ADHD can get a pilot’s license and we’ve also been asked if taking medication for ADHD affects the likelihood of keeping a license.

The following is what the Civil Aviation Authority says about ADHD:

This condition is diagnosed (according to DSM-IV) when an individual demonstrates inattention, hyperactivity or impulsiveness sufficient to cause significant impairment in social, school or work functioning.  The impairment should have appeared before the age of seven years for the diagnosis to be made and may improve with age.

Therefore, anyone applying for pilot licensing who has been diagnosed with this condition must undergo neuropsychological assessment to assess the likelihood of them being able to perform safely as a pilot.  An individual with ongoing ADHD will not (by definition) be able to complete pilot training.  Medication used for this disorder is normally disqualifying.

From that it seems that if an individual’s symptoms have abated enough (or they’ve learnt how to control and/or compensate for symptoms then they may be able to get a pilot license depending upon the outcome of the neuropsychological assessment. Under most circumstances they will be disqualified if they take medication for ADHD.

Here is a link to our source for this information (accessed 5/5/2017):

Civil Aviation Authority

3. ADHD & Driving:

We’ve been asked by people holding driving licenses if they have to notify DVLA when they receive a diagnosis of ADHD.  This is what DVLA says in relating to ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorders & severe communication disorders:

For Group 1 (car and motorcycle): May be able to drive but must notify the DVLA. A diagnosis of any of these conditions is not in itself a bar to licensing. The DVLA considers factors such as the level of: impulsivity, and awareness of impacts of behaviours on self or others.

For Group 2 (bus and lorry): May be able to drive but must notify the DVLA. Licensing will be considered individually following medical enquiries.  Licensing may be granted if continuing symptoms are minor.

That means that people with ADHD have a legal duty to notify DVLA when they receive a diagnosis of ADHD.  In the DVLA’s guidance for doctors it says that they should “advise the individual on their legal requirement to notify the DVLA.”

The DVLA can be notified via the GOV.UK website (see the link below this article) and this is how DVLA responds when notified:

Once the DVLA is notified of a medical condition and obtains consent, it will make medical enquiries as required. The Secretary of State (in practice, the DVLA) is unable to make a licensing decision until all the relevant medical information is available and has been considered. . . The DVLA’s medical enquiries procedure is generally a two-stage process:

  1. Information on the medical condition is sought from the licence holder or applicant, either by paper questionnaire or online
  2. Information is sought from relevant healthcare professionals, either by questionnaire or provision of medical notes.

In some circumstances the DVLA will require independent review by a DVLA-appointed doctor or optician/optometrist. Depending on individual circumstances, a licence applicant may also require a driving assessment and/or appraisal. . . The time taken to obtain all necessary reports can be lengthy but a licence holder normally retains entitlement to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. . .

The driver may be covered to drive but this carries implications for road safety in that the licence holder may continue to drive with a medical condition that, on completion of the DVLA’s enquiries, may ultimately result in licence withdrawal. It is for the patient to assure themselves that they are fit to drive. Medical professionals asked for an opinion about a patient’s fitness to drive in these circumstances should explain the likely outcome by reference to this guide. The final decision in relation to driver licensing will, however, rest with the DVLA. By reference to the DVLA’s guidance, the doctor in charge of an individual’s care should be able to advise the driver whether or not it is safe for them to continue to drive during this period. Patients must be reminded that if they choose to ignore medical advice to stop driving this may affect their insurance cover. Doctors are advised to formally and clearly document the advice given.

You should get a decision from DVLA within 6 weeks.  DVLA should send you a letter if the process is going to take longer.

Here are links to our sources for this information (accessed 5/5/2017):

DVLA: Advice for medical professionals for drivers with psychiatric disorders

DVLA: Assessing fitness to drive-a guide for medical professionals

GOV.UK: Report your medical condition

 

If there is anything on this page you would like to discuss, or if you have any questions, or you just want to chat, please join us in our Forum here. 

 

Links to the rest of our ‘Living with ADHD’ Section:

Organisation & Time Management    

Relationships & Social Skills 

Money  Management 

University & College Issues  

Workplace Issues  

Women & ADHD  

Crisis Helplines

Links to the rest of our website:

Home 

What is ADHD?

Help & Support

Library

Forum

FAQ’s

Calendar of Events

About Us

Site Map

 

Review date: 05/05/2017

Next review due: 06/05/2018

Discussion

One thought on “Living with ADHD

  1. Probably best if you ask this on our forum.

    Posted by AADD-UK | August 13, 2015, 4:35 pm
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