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Author: Dr Pablo JeczmienConsultant Psychiatrist

Seeking a diagnosis for ADHD has brought sense and order to my life and this combined with the medication and therapy has been a life changing event.
Tony, London

The benefits of an ADHD diagnosis

For many adults with undiagnosed ADHD, everyday tasks, maintaining successful employment and relationships can be more difficult. It’s common for people who have ADHD / ADD, but don’t know it, to have very low self-esteem as they aren’t sure why they find some things difficult when others don’t.

Untreated ADHD can be also be dangerous and have serious implications for individual – research shows adults with undiagnosed ADHD are more likely to have car accidents or get involved in criminal activity.

An ADHD / ADD diagnosis can benefit someone in the following ways:

  1. Finally understanding why certain things are a struggle
  2. Increases self-esteem
  3. Find effective treatment plans
  4. Enables provision to support education and employment
  5. Helps others understand why things might be difficult

People thought I was stupid, as did I. From an early age I struggled with education and didn’t understand what was wrong with me. My self-esteem became steadily worse and in spite of my achievements, I grew steadily more anxious about being able to succeed. Once I had my diagnosis and was on the right treatment plan, everything changed.

Alex, Cardiff


How to get an ADHD Diagnosis

A Psychiatrist is needed to diagnose ADHD. They will need detailed information about your experiences in childhood and as an adult, teamed with information gathered in evidence-based questionnaires. Psychiatrists will also assess you for other common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety or Bipolar Disorder to ensure that they are able to recommend the right treatment plan.

The ADHD Assessment

If you choose to have your ADHD assessment with Clinical Partners, you can be assured that you will see a senior expert in the field.

Before your ADHD appointment:

  • You will be asked to complete two questionnaires prior to the assessment
  • You will be sent two questionnaires for a family member or partner to complete – this helps to gain a full rounded picture of any symptoms you may be experiencing

(Often ADHD symptoms decrease in ‘novel’ situations, such as an assessment, so the pre-assessment questionnaires are important to establish a true picture)

During the ADHD assessment:

  • 90-minute consultation with a consultant psychiatrist
  • A full psychiatric history will be taken
  • Past and present ADHD symptoms explored
  • Review of any school and work history, using records such as reports and previous evaluations where possible
  • Completion of an evidence-based ADHD screening tool, with the psychiatrist, to assess for concentration, impulsiveness and hyperactivity

It can be helpful to bring a relative or partner to the assessment who will be asked questions by the consultant psychiatrist which will help understand your history.

Post ADHD assessment:
Following the assessment process your consultant psychiatrist will write up a full report, which will give you a diagnosis if one can be made and treatment recommendations.

Further assessments may be needed if your consultant psychiatrist believes you may have another condition that was not covered through your initial assessment, such as ASD.

If you need a prescription for medication you will need to have a physical examination to check for blood pressure, cardiovascular functioning, pulse and weight check. We can arrange for this privately or you can have this completed on the NHS.

Download our ADHD Assessment Guide

It was clear that the Psychiatrist really understood ADHD and the difficulties it can result in. They gave me some excellent, very personalised recommendations that have really helped me. I feel like I was treated as an individual and not just another name.

Simon, Nottingham


Getting treatment for ADHD / ADD

Once you have a diagnosis of ADHD / ADD there are several options as to how you can receive treatment. This will depend on the services offered by your local NHS team. We always advise that you speak to your GP when deciding whether this ADHD assessment is right for you, to ensure you understand your options in accessing ongoing treatment.

ADHD medication treatment options

1) Continue privately
You may wish to continue with private treatment. This will involve several follow up appointments with a consultant psychiatrist to start you on medication and monitor your progress and dosage levels – referred to as ‘titration’. Normally 4 or 5 appointments are needed to get the ADHD / ADD medication levels stable and to check for side effects. The psychiatrist will need to see you fortnightly, moving to monthly, to ensure the medication is having the desired effect.

2) NHS care
Alternatively, you may choose to return to NHS care, in which case your report will be shared with your GP. If your GP is happy and qualified to follow the consultant psychiatrist recommendations, they will be able to prescribe the ADHD medication you have been prescribed and carry out the monitoring process. Not all GPs are able to do this, so we always recommend you talk to them before hand to clarify what is available in your area.

Prescriptions
You may wish, or need, to pay privately for your medication prescriptions – again this is based on your personal preferences and what services are available to you via the NHS. Your GP should be able to advise.

(We cannot guarantee that your GP will be happy to prescribe our recommendations, but we are happy to discuss this option with you.)

It is always helpful to have some knowledge and awareness of ADHD / ADD and the treatments available. This knowledge allows the patient to have meaningful discussions regarding treatment options and enhances their feelings of being involved in the decision-making process - providing a sense of ownership and control, always important in medical treatment but in particular in a disorder such as ADHD. 
MD MRCPsych

Consultant Psychiatrist
Brighton

Dr Pablo Jeczmien is a Consultant Psychiatrist in General Adult Psychiatry for the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Jeczmien has a medical degree and is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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