Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD) is a form of neurodiversity - a difference in how the brain is hard-wired when compared to neurotypical individuals. If you are frequently hyperactive, restless, have trouble concentrating, have a wandering/foggy mind, act on impulse or have difficulty controlling emotions, you may have ADHD.
While for some it is a disorder that severely impacts the pursuit of day to day activities, others see it as a difference in how the brain is hardwired and are able to function well on a day-to-day basis. Those with ADHD often exhibit traits early on in development, but many receive their diagnosis later in life.
In this article we look at support pathways for ADHD, and how the role that different professionals can play in helping someone with a diagnosis or undiagnosed ADHD traits to improve their quality of life.
Diagnosis and medication
A lot of people begin their journey by seeking a diagnosis from a specialist ADHD psychiatrist. The ADHD assessment typically lasts for up to two hours, involving a series of questionnaires. Sometimes psychiatrists will consult a close family member or a friend to help them understand how the individual's traits and symptoms are seen from the outside, aiding the diagnosis process.
To kick-start your medication treatment, you will need to speak to a psychiatrist (psychologists and therapists are unable to prescribe medication). ADHD psychiatrists are also able to prescribe medication including methylphenidate. You can get ADHD medication on a private prescription from your psychiatrist, which you can take to the local pharmacy straight away.
Once a psychiatrist deems you stable on the medication, they may agree with your GP to start what is called a shared care agreement with your GP. This allows you to access your medication from a pharmacy through an NHS prescription, which can be a more affordable option.
Talking to a clinical psychologist or therapist
You do not need to have to be diagnosed with ADHD in order to seek support. You can have a session with a clinical psychologist who can help you understand your traits (even without a diagnosis). A therapist can also provide support through talking therapies.
If you already have an ADHD diagnosis and are looking for further support, it is useful to know that medication often works best alongside talking therapies, according to various clinical trials. Various types of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and Compassion-Focused Therapy are effective for ADHD.
Talking to an ADHD executive function coach
ADHD executive function coaches can support you and your family members by helping you understand your ADHD better. They can support you to manage certain behaviours and achieve goals like helping you to procrastinate less, feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Many have found working with an executive function coach to be a positively life-changing experience and psychiatrists often recommend executive life coaches to their patients. However, unlike therapy, coaching as a profession is partially unregulated, meaning that there are no licensing boards or universal standards of education or training required to become an executive ADHD coach.
Various pathways are available to those looking for ADHD support. With education and support, you can learn to manage your ADHD symptoms and turn them around to your advantage!
If you are looking to find a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, therapist or executive function coach, or you are unsure what type of support suits you, speak to one of our in-house mental health professionals at Augmentive to find out more. We will get back to you within 24 hours.