At the age of 20 I was diagnosed with ADHD. After a lifetime of zoning out at inappropriate times, losing purses and keys three times a week and trying to do twenty things at any one time (and ultimately finishing none of them) I finally had an explanation for why my brain works the way it does.
It is believed that 1.5 million adults have ADHD in the UK, although only 120,000 have been formally diagnosed, this is relatively unsurprising for a number of reasons.
ADHD is often framed as a childhood disorder. It affects school children who are loud, and boisterous is a narrative that is too often presented, leading people, myself included, to believe they can’t possibly have the disorder and consequently not seek diagnosis or treatment.
ADHD is present in three forms: the hyperactive form, the inattentive form and the joint form. Once again, the hyperactive symptoms are commonly highlighted in the media whilst the inattentive form is commonly overlooked. Women more frequently have the inattentive form of ADHD (although both women and men can have any form) and this could account for the gender imbalance in terms of diagnosis. On average, six times as many men are diagnosed with ADHD compared to women in the UK. Many researchers believe the actual difference is more likely to be very minor, a ratio of 1:1.6 in females to males with ADHD. As is evident from these statistics we can infer that many women, unfortunately, go undiagnosed.
It is known that ADHD is regularly misdiagnosed as mood disorders in women. Comorbidities are common in all people with ADHD and as women are more likely to have the inattentive form of ADHD, they are often diagnosed without note of the ADHD alongside it.
In the UK very little NHS funding goes towards ADHD diagnosis and treatment, in relation to other neurodiversity’s. I am currently on a waiting list for treatment that is three years long, after already waiting two years for a diagnosis; and I am not in one of the worst-off areas in the country. Tales of people waiting seven years for a diagnosis are not unusual and, as a result it is no wonder people do not get diagnosed with what is the most common behavioural disorder in the country.
At the 2018 National Diversity Awards the ADHD Foundation won our community organisation award for disability. My reasons above explain why organisations like this are so vital to the wellbeing of people who find themselves struggling with this disorder, and also why it is crucial to raise awareness and understanding of ADHD.
The ADHD Foundation works in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies to improve emotional well-being, educational attainment, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of ADHD. Alongside this they also provide training for GP’s, Teachers, Social Care agencies and other professionals, raising awareness to bring about positive change and inclusion in mental health, education and employment.
They run training courses and conferences to discuss how to support students with ADHD and also how to cope as an adult with ADHD. By providing information about what ADHD is, how it can be treated and how you can support people with ADHD, they create a more inclusive and accessible world for those with this neurological disease. They also have researchers working alongside them to explore treatment protocols for ADHD and how effective they are.
The work the ADHD foundation does makes life a little less hard for both children and adults like myself, and it is wonderful that the National Diversity Awards were able to highlight the exceptional work they carry out across Europe.
If you want to find out more about this fantastic organisation, and for further information on the services they offer you can visit their website at https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/
Source – Robin Leak I Inclusive Companies