An expert guide to ADHD


Dr Mihaela Bucur, consultant psychiatrist at All Points North (APN) London, offers valuable insights into diagnosing and treating ADHD in adults

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder, is often perceived as a childhood condition but for many people it persists into adulthood. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, ADHD affects about three to four in every 100 adults. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has identified increased ADHD prevalence in specific populations and acknowledged that ADHD is often under-recognised in girls and women.

ADHD encompasses a range of symptoms, including inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity. These symptoms can disrupt various aspects of life, leading to emotional tolls, self-esteem issues, relationship problems, substance misuse and gambling. This can dramatically increase the risk of addictions, meaning that substance use disorders often co-occur with ADHD. People with ADHD may attempt to self-medicate their symptoms and fall into addictive patterns that make them candidates for substance use disorder treatment.

Undiagnosed or unmanaged ADHD can also increase the risk of other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, making early intervention crucial. 

Dr Mihaela Bucur of APN London

Dr Mihaela Bucur of APN London

Despite its prevalence, ADHD can be challenging to diagnose due to factors like gender differences, comorbidities, and shared symptoms with other mental health conditions. Accurate diagnosis requires the expertise of specialised mental health professionals who can conduct comprehensive assessments, including the consideration of clinical and psychosocial evaluations, developmental history, psychiatric history and observer reports.

 At APN London, specialist psychiatrists trained in ADHD diagnosis conduct thorough assessments, ensuring adequate identification and tailored treatment. The diagnostic process here is comprehensive and often taking several hours. It involves face-to-face interviews, medical and mental health evaluations, and input from individuals who have known the patient for an extended period. This thorough approach helps uncover co-occurring conditions or alternative explanations for symptoms, enabling the development of relevant treatment plans.

ADHD treatment at APN London is highly personalised and may include individual and group therapy, lifestyle adjustments, educational groups, and medication management. Therapy assists patients in managing symptoms and addressing co-occurring mental health challenges. Lifestyle changes like exercise, stress management, and nutrition are essential add-ons for managing ADHD symptoms management and enhancing overall health.

ADHD educational groups provide knowledge and tools for practical strategies, while medication is considered when symptoms significantly impact daily life. In addition, onsite access to therapy to address addictions is part of the comprehensive support offer.

If you or a loved one has experienced ADHD symptoms and found coping mechanisms inadequate, seeking an ADHD diagnosis and treatment is essential for a healthier, more fulfilling life. Prompt treatment can help people regain focus, stability and overall wellbeing, leading to a more productive life.