ADHD is thought to affect as many as one in 20 people in the UK – but getting a diagnosis can be difficult, particularly when it lasts into adulthood.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and is a condition that affects someone’s behaviour; the exact cause is unknown, but symptoms are often noticed at an early age and most cases are diagnosed in children under 12 years old. However, diagnosing the condition in adults is more difficult, as there is some disagreement about whether the list of symptoms used to diagnose children and teenagers also applies to adults, according to the NHS.
Adults who have ADHD may find that they experience symptoms which negatively affect them in daily life, such as forgetfulness, restlessness, poor organisational skills, lack of attention to detail or an inability to focus. The NHS says that the signs of ADHD can be more difficult to define beyond childhood, but answering some simple questions on how you feel in your daily life may help you find out whether you might have the condition.
Charity ADHD UK has worked with the World Health Organisation to produce a screener survey, in response to the common belief that ADHD in adults is under-diagnosed – meaning that many people with the condition may not be getting the help they need. The survey is designed to give an individual some indication of whether they might have ADHD, and therefore could benefit from further clinical analysis.
“Only a clinician can accurately diagnose ADHD,” the charity advises. “Scoring four or above on this screener is a good indication that an individual would benefit from a clinical review.”
The survey invites participants to answer the following 18 questions with ‘never’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘very often’:
- How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
- How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organisation?
- How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
- When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
- How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
- How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?
- How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?
- How often do you have difficulty keeping your attention when you are doing boring or repetitive work?
- How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
- How often do you misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
- How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?
- How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
How often do you feel restless or fidgety?
How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
How often do you find yourself talking too much when you are in social situations?
When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to, before they can finish them themselves?
How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required?
How often do you interrupt others when they are busy?
If you take the survey and find that your responses mean you might have ADHD, the charity advises making an appointment with your GP – while they cannot formally diagnose ADHD, they can discuss your concerns with you and refer you for specialist assessment if necessary. If you were not diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood, a GP and specialist can discuss which medicines and therapies may be suitable for you.
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