Information for adults with ADHD

Information for adults with ADHD

If you find it difficult to concentrate, your behaviour is hyperactive and impulsive, and this is causing you difficulties in your everyday life, you should see your GP. Your GP should offer you an assessment with a specialist in ADHD if you were not diagnosed with ADHD as a child. If you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you should be referred to general mental health services.

The specialist should thoroughly assess you to see whether you have ADHD. Only a specialist can make a formal diagnosis of ADHD.

You should be fully involved in all discussions about your healthcare. Professionals should always treat you with respect and give you the information you need in a form that is suitable for you, including details about support groups and voluntary organisations. There are some examples of questions you might like to ask your care team below.

Medication should usually be offered to you first, unless you would prefer to try a psychological therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT]). Medication should only be prescribed under the guidance of a specialist.

More information about medication is in about medication. Medication should always be part of a package of care, which should address other needs you may have because of your diagnosis. These may include psychological help and support in finding or continuing in a job.

If you are taking medication but still have symptoms of ADHD, you should also be offered a course of CBT. CBT may also be offered if medication has not helped you at all, if you have side effects from the drugs, or if your symptoms are getting better but you still need some additional support.

Questions about treatment for all people with ADHD

  • Why have you decided to offer this particular type of treatment?

  • What are the pros and cons of having this treatment?

  • What will the treatment involve?

  • How will the treatment help? What effect will it have on symptoms and everyday life? What sort of improvements might be expected?

  • Is there some other written material (like a leaflet) about the treatment?

  • How long will the medication take to work? What should I do if I don't think it is working?

  • How long will the medication need to be taken for?

  • Might there be problems when the medication is stopped?

  • Are there any serious or long‑term side effects with medication for ADHD? How common are they?

  • What should I do if there are any side effects? Should the GP or specialist be called, or should I go to the emergency department at a hospital?

  • Are there different treatments that could be tried?

  • What will happen if the treatment is not followed?

  • Information Standard