ADHD has been extensively studied, and there is international acceptance that it is a neurodevelopmental condition, and can be identified in all cultures and is lifelong . Unfortunately, many government agencies, organisations and some medical professionals have little factual knowledge of ADHD, and perpetuate myths that it is “behavioural”, a “learning disorder” or very commonly only found in children. This is a particular problem for adults, it has been stated that ADHD is the most underdiagnosed mental health condition. There is a lack of training in the diagnosis of ADHD by psychiatrists and other allied health professionals, which leads to a scarcity of trained professionals and long waiting lists.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterised by the persistence of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with daily functioning and ability to live a fulfilling life.
Although medical science have documented children exhibiting inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity as far back as 1902 there still exists no one single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD. To date ADHD has been given a variety of different names including minimal brain dysfunction, hyperkinetic reaction of childhood, and attention-deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.
With the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classification system, the disorder has been renamed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. The current name reflects the importance of the inattention aspect of the disorder as well as the other characteristics of the disorder such as hyperactivity and impulsivity. Link here to download the factsheet Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults.
Genetic and imaging studies along with many clinical treatments trials have been conducted over the years. It is still a condition that is queried and stigmatised. Unfortunately, government agencies, organisations and some medical professionals still do not consider ADHD as a neurobiological condition. A number of assessment tools are used to assess adults for ADHD, however, not all psychiatrists who treat other psychiatric conditions are aware of ADHD diagnostic tools. Therefore this can lead to long waiting lists for adults to obtain a diagnosis which delays the treatment for adults
Is it ADHD?
Experiencing some of the symptoms doesn’t mean you are definitely affected by ADHD. Everyone has some of these attributes some of the time. However if you are living in a state of almost permanent distraction, and your symptoms seem to affect virtually every aspect of daily living, then we encourage you to ring the Helpline for the pathway to assessment.
Our team at ADHD Foundation have afforded many individuals with ADHD to receive treatment and support, in order to understand and better manage their ADHD condition.
However until diagnosed and assisted with appropriate treatment, ADHD can impact on the potential to succeed and on the ability to lead a fulfilling life. Early identification, treatment and management of ADHD is essential.