Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) Clinic
The Sloane Court Clinic is home to world-renowned psychiatrists and clinical psychologists with a wealth of experience and expertise in the assessment and treatment of adult individuals with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Adult ADHD Treatment in London
The Sloane Court Clinic offers a comprehensive diagnostic service and offers treatment for inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity as well as problems with organisation and planning where there is significant functional impairment. In adults these symptoms frequently overlap with other disorders including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, substance misuse, bipolar disorder and personality or behavioural disorders; these can be evaluated if present. Educational and/or occupational problems are common. We also offer consultation and psycho-education about the diagnosis for the individual and/or their family and combined medical and psychological treatment of primary and secondary symptoms as recommended in the NICE guidelines.
ADHD in Adults
ADHD is now a commonly accepted disorder in children. Only more recently has it been recognised as a problem experienced by adults. This means that very often adults with ADHD have had problems since childhood and their difficulties in adulthood have not been properly recognised.
Adults with ADHD may feel that they have been blamed or held responsible for things over which they have had little control. For example, they may have been told that they were lazy in school, or that they were rude in social interactions. Adults with ADHD, therefore, have to cope, not only with their own difficulties but often with the negative perceptions and reactions of others
What Causes ADHD in Adults?
ADHD is what doctors describe as a developmental disorder, which means that it is a problem that is present from childhood. The term developmental disorder does not indicate the cause of the problem, and often with problems that begin in childhood it is very difficult or impossible to know what caused them to happen. There may be a genetic component (i.e. the patient inherited it from their parents) or there may be other reasons, such as damage to the brain in early life.
What are the Symptoms of ADHD?
There are three core symptoms of ADHD that need to be present in order for the diagnosis to be given:
Examples of this symptom would include having problems paying attention to work or study, problems sustaining attention, problems listening to others, starting, but not finishing tasks, jumping from one task to another, procrastinating, having problems organising yourself, being forgetful, being easily distracted.
Examples of this symptom would include fidgeting, feeling restless, being always on the go, talking excessively.
Examples of this symptom would include finding that you interrupt others, finding it difficult to wait your turn, or starting things before you’ve made a plan.
Adult ADHD Assessment in London
One of our leading ADHD specialists will assess the presence of these symptoms during the patient’s initial diagnostic assessment. It is usually expected that these symptoms will have been present since childhood, before the age of seven. Not everyone with ADHD experiences all three symptoms to the same degree and some of them are more commonly found in children than in adults. The doctor will be able to tell the patient how the symptoms present in their specific case. A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is made in those who show prominent inattentive symptoms.
Common Problems Experienced by Adults with ADHD
People who have experienced some combination of these core symptoms throughout life may find that they have developed other difficulties or psychological distresses as a consequence. For example, children who have ADHD may find it difficult to make and keep friends due to their behaviour, which can seem boisterous and aggressive to other children. This difficulty may continue into adult life – even though the boisterousness may diminish in adulthood, the young adult may have developed problems with social confidence or self-esteem, or have low expectations of friendships working out. Adults may have difficulty forming relationships with those with ADHD who may seem impulsive or impatient. Children who had problems in school due to ADHD may have performed poorly in academic tests and in adulthood feel they have failed to reach their potential.
The experience of these kinds of losses and failures can lead to feelings of depression and dissatisfaction with work or with the life they have. Adults who experience feelings of hyperactivity may find they are aggressive or agitated and may use or misuse drugs or alcohol to manage these feelings. These are some common examples of problems experienced by adults that are not core symptoms of ADHD, but which can be associated with the disorder.
Getting help for Adults with ADHD
There is help available for adults with ADHD and many people are finding that the treatments available can help them to move on with their lives and overcome many of the difficulties caused by the disorder. These treatments can include medication as well as psychological therapy. During the assessment, our specialists will be able to suggest treatment that will be most effective for the patient.
Medication as a Treatment for ADHD
There are several medications available that treat the core symptoms of ADHD. They are not described at length here, as it is very important that any discussion about medication is held on an individual basis with your doctor. Medical treatment of the core symptoms can help to reduce the feelings of restlessness, agitation, and impulsivity and help you to better concentrate, focus, organise and listen to others. Effective treatment of the core symptoms may in itself bring about a positive change in your life.
How Effective is Medication as a Treatment for ADHD?
Current research into the efficacy of medication for ADHD indicates that some people respond better than others. It does not work the same way for everyone and some people find that their symptoms improve, but don’t go away altogether. Others find that it doesn’t help significantly.
You may also wish to consider whether your ADHD has caused some of the associated problems described above, such as depression, problems in relationships, problems at work, or alcohol or drug use. These problems, if present, may have developed over a long period of time and might not be helped directly by the ADHD medication even if your core symptoms respond well.
The important message is that medication can help some people a great deal, but it might not be a ‘magic bullet’ that solves all of the problems caused by the disorder. It may therefore be necessary to also consider psychological therapy, which may be useful to help you cope and manage with both core symptoms and other associated problems.
Psychological therapy for Adults with ADHD
Psychological therapies for ADHD are relatively new. The approach being used at the Sloane Court Clinic is based on the Young-Bramham model of working, which draws in a variety of methods to help you manage the difficulties you experience in everyday life. The therapist may ask you to consider different things, such as how you think in situations and how you behave. They may ask you to describe how you go about everyday things that you find difficult and find ways to change your thinking, your behaviour, or the situation itself.
How effective is Psychological Therapy as a Treatment for ADHD?
The intention in psychological therapy is not to make the disorder disappear, but to help you to understand it, to become aware of how it affects your life, and to develop ways of managing it so that the negative impact on your life is reduced. The therapist may ask you to make a list of the most problematic things for you. They may help you to identify things you may wish to change in yourself, for example, to stop and think more, which might sound obvious, but they will also help you practice specific ways of doing that so that your good intention becomes something that you actually do. They may also help you to identify ways to change or organise the world around you to help you to better remember and plan things. The benefit of doing this might be that you find you are more able to complete tasks and feel good about your abilities instead of feeling weighed down and guilty about things started, but not finished.
You may find the psychological strategies helpful in your working life and personal life. You should find that you can take strategies learned in one situation and apply them to others so that you eventually become a therapist to yourself. The therapist may also work with you in reducing the impact of the associated problems such as depression, insomnia, or substance misuse if these things are getting in the way of your life. The key point for those considering psychological therapy is that it can be very effective and very rewarding, but will require dedication, commitment and effort from you.
How Often are Psychological Therapy Sessions Recommended for Adults with ADHD?
It depends greatly on your ability and willingness to work with the therapist and try things out. The number of sessions will vary and may depend on how quickly and how well you are able to apply the psychological strategies to your own life, so it is difficult to predict the number of sessions required. We would recommend having regular review sessions to monitor your progress and to ensure that the therapy is helpful for you. Your therapist will realize that often people with ADHD have difficulty with things such as focus, regular attendance and commitment, and will discuss and help you with those, so don’t worry too much about that. You don’t have to be perfect or an expert, but you do have to want to do it.
Adult ADHD Specialists in London
The ADHD Clinic is led by Dr Burman-Roy, consultant psychiatrist, in conjunction with Dr Maria Jalmbrant, clinical psychologist.
Dr. Burman-Roy is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He has experience working in the national ADHD service at the Maudsley Hospital, and has been involved in the development and delivery of Mentalisation-Based Therapy training groups for community mental health team staff.
Dr Jalmbrant runs a busy adult psychology service for Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. She has extensive clinical experience in managing ADHD with psychological methods.
Contact and Appointments for Adult ADHD Assessment and Treatment
Referrals may be made by general practitioners, consultant psychiatrists, by letter, email, our Contact Form, or by calling us on 020 7730 5945, requesting the “ADHD Clinic”.
Patients are requested to seek referral through their GP, or consultant.
- Assessment and diagnosis – a comprehensive assessment based on structured interviewing, rating scales and observational data
- Neuropsychological assessment
- Psychological interventions
- Guidance on medication management
- Advice on behavioural adjustment
- Psycho-education about ADHD
- Advice on psychological management methods
- Advice on medication side-effects
- Delineation of ADHD from other causes of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity
- Advice and treatment of associated risk behaviour
- Advice to general consultants or GP’s on ongoing treatment of ADHD
- Advice to spouses, parents and carers
- Second opinions
Medical management | monitoring of blood pressure and weight | psychological treatment for ADHD | psychological treatment for secondary symptoms such as emotional problems | treatment of conditions found to be simulating ADHD such as depression | implementation and maintenance of medication treatment.