Start the Admissions Process Online

Fill out your information to receive a free, confidential call from the team at All Points North.

0207 193 1128

ADHD: Assessment & Treatment in London

Reviewed by Dr Mihaela Bucur, Consultant Psychiatrist

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. ADHD is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life.

Keep reading to learn more about the various aspects of ADHD, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and management strategies.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests in childhood and often continues into adolescence and adulthood. It affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, although it is more commonly diagnosed in boys than in girls. ADHD is not a result of laziness, lack of discipline, or poor parenting; instead, it is a genuine medical condition with a genetic and neurological basis.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD presents a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from one individual to another. These symptoms are generally classified into two main categories: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

Inattention Symptoms

Inattention is one of the core symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The inattention symptoms associated with ADHD can significantly impact an individual’s daily functioning and quality of life. You may notice any of the inattention symptoms listed below in those with ADHD.

Difficulty Sustaining Attention

Individuals with ADHD often have difficulty sustaining their attention on tasks or activities, especially those repetitive or requiring prolonged mental effort. They may frequently become distracted or daydream during such tasks.

Easily Becoming Distracted

People with ADHD are easily distracted by external stimuli, such as noises, movements, or conversations, and may have difficulty blocking out irrelevant information to focus on a particular task.

Difficulty Organizing Tasks and Activities

Someone with ADHD may struggle with organizing and prioritizing tasks and activities, leading to disorganization in work, school, and in their personal life. This symptom can manifest as missed deadlines, cluttered workspaces, and difficulty following through on commitments.

Frequent Forgetfulness

Individuals with ADHD may forget appointments, obligations, and essential details in their daily lives, such as losing keys or failing to return important phone calls.

Avoiding or Disliking Tasks Requiring Sustained Mental Effort

Tasks that require sustained mental effort, like studying for exams or completing lengthy paperwork, may be particularly challenging for individuals with ADHD. They may actively avoid or procrastinate on these tasks.

Difficulty with Details

People with ADHD may struggle with paying attention to and managing details, often leading to careless mistakes in schoolwork, work projects, or everyday activities. They may also have difficulty remembering and following through on instructions, which can affect their ability to complete tasks correctly and on time.

Poor Time Management

Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty estimating and managing time effectively. They may underestimate the time required for tasks and frequently find themselves running late or feeling rushed.

Losing Items Frequently

Misplacing or losing important items such as keys, wallets, phones, and documents is common among individuals with ADHD. This can result in frustration and disruptions to their daily routines.

Frequent Shifting of Attention

A hallmark of ADHD is the tendency to shift attention between tasks or activities frequently. This can make it challenging to complete tasks that require sustained focus.

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Symptoms

Hyperactivity and impulsivity are two of the core symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Understanding the specific characteristics of hyperactivity and impulsivity is crucial to assessing these symptoms accurately. You may recognize some of the hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms of ADHD below.

Fidgeting and Restlessness

Individuals with ADHD often display excessive fidgeting, restlessness, and an inability to stay seated when expected, such as in a classroom or during a meeting.

Inability to Play or Engage Quietly

Children with ADHD may struggle to engage in leisure activities quietly. They may often be observed as being loud or overly active during play.

Excessive Talking

People with ADHD may talk excessively, interrupt others, or have difficulty waiting for their turn in conversations, which can be disruptive in social interactions.

Difficulty Engaging in Quiet Activities

Individuals with ADHD may find it challenging to engage in quiet, solitary activities like reading or drawing without becoming restless or seeking external stimulation.

Constant Movement

People with ADHD may exhibit a pattern of constant movement as if driven by a motor. This may involve tapping feet, drumming fingers, or pacing.

Impatient Waiting for Their Turn

Individuals with ADHD may struggle to wait their turn in situations where it’s necessary, such as waiting in line or taking turns during games.

Difficulty Delaying Gratification

People with ADHD may have trouble delaying immediate rewards for long-term benefits. They may opt for immediate pleasure or rewards even when it’s not in their best interest.

Blurting Out Answers or Interrupting

In conversations or classroom settings, individuals with ADHD may impulsively blurt out answers to questions before they are completed or interrupt others, making it challenging to maintain appropriate conversational etiquette.

Difficulty Planning and Organizing

Impulsivity can lead to difficulty in planning and organizing tasks. Individuals with ADHD may dive into tasks without considering the steps required or the potential consequences.

Struggling With Risk-Taking Behaviors

Impulsive individuals with ADHD may engage in risky behaviours, both in terms of physical activities (e.g., reckless driving) and decision-making (e.g., impulsive spending or substance use).

Poor Inhibitory Control

Someone with ADHD may have difficulty inhibiting inappropriate or impulsive reactions, which can lead to social awkwardness and conflict.

Not all individuals with ADHD will present with the more well-known symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary significantly among individuals. APN London will work with you to gain as much insight as possible to get you the most accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.

Causes of ADHD

The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors contributes to its development. Here are some critical factors associated with ADHD:

  • Genetics
  • Neurological differences
  • Environmental factors
  • Lead exposure
  • Exposure to lead during childhood
  • Brain injuries

Co-Occurring Conditions

ADHD often presents with other psychiatric and developmental disorders. It is not uncommon for individuals with ADHD to also have one or more of the following conditions:

Learning Disabilities

ADHD frequently co-occurs with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.

Anxiety and Depression

Individuals with ADHD are at an increased risk of developing anxiety and depression due to the challenges and frustrations associated with the disorder.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

ODD involves a pattern of defiant, hostile, and disruptive behaviour and often coexists with ADHD.

Conduct Disorder

In some cases, ADHD can progress to conduct disorder, characterized by more severe behavioural problems, aggression, and rule-breaking.

Substance Use

Adolescents and adults with untreated ADHD are more prone to substance abuse issues, as they may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms.

ADHD Assessment

Accurate diagnosis is crucial for managing ADHD effectively. The professionals at APN London are dedicated to providing comprehensive ADHD assessments using evidence-based tools and protocols. The assessment process typically involves several steps.

Clinical Interview

The initial step is a thorough clinical interview with a qualified mental health professional. Patients are encouraged to share their medical and psychiatric history, symptoms, and any concerns they may have. This helps in understanding the individual’s unique situation.

ADHD Rating Scale

Standardized ADHD rating scales, such as the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) (ADHD Rating Scale) and Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in adults (DIVA), may be administered. These tests help in objectively measuring the presence and severity of ADHD symptoms.

Psychological Assessments

In some cases, psychological assessments may be conducted to rule out other potential conditions or to assess comorbidities, such as anxiety or depression.

Medical Evaluation

A medical evaluation may be recommended to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to the symptoms.

Feedback and Diagnosis

After gathering all relevant information, the clinician provides feedback to the patient, discusses the findings, and makes a formal diagnosis if ADHD is present.

Personalized Treatment Plans

Once an ADHD diagnosis is confirmed, developing a personalized treatment plan is next. APN London emphasizes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to ADHD treatment, which may include:

Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy techniques, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and behaviour modification strategies, can help individuals with ADHD develop coping skills and manage their symptoms effectively.

Medication Management

Medication, such as stimulants (e.g., methylphenidate or amphetamine) or non-stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine), may be prescribed when deemed appropriate by the medical team. Medications can help alleviate ADHD symptoms and improve focus and impulse control.

Parent and Family Support

Education and support for parents and family members are essential components of the treatment plan. Understanding ADHD and learning effective strategies for managing symptoms at home can significantly benefit the individual with ADHD.

Educational and Occupational Support

Tailored support in academic or occupational settings can help individuals with ADHD thrive academically and professionally. This approach may involve accommodations, time management strategies, and organizational skills training.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, can play a significant role in managing ADHD symptoms.

Regular Follow-Up

Continual monitoring and follow-up appointments with clinicians are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of the treatment plan and making necessary adjustments.

Truly Integrated Care

APN London is home to a wide range of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, deep TMS, lifestyle psychiatry, and more. We offer mental health treatment, trauma therapy, addiction treatment, dual-diagnosis care, and wellness services under one roof.

ADHD assessment and treatment at APN London are founded on evidence-based practices and a patient-centred approach. The clinic’s experienced team of mental health professionals understands that each individual with ADHD is unique, and their treatment plan should reflect their specific needs and goals.

Seeking help for ADHD at APN London is a positive step towards improved quality of life for individuals with ADHD and their families. Through comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plans, APN London is dedicated to supporting individuals in managing their symptoms and achieving their full potential, whether in school, at work, or in daily life.

To learn more about APN’s extensive mental health and ADHD treatment programmes, call 0203 984 7699 or complete our confidential online contact form.