Diagnosis pathways for Adult ADHD
Go to your GP and have an open and frank conversation about why you think you have ADHD. Talk about any and all mental health concerns you might have. The goal is to help you with your issues. It is not an “ADHD or not” conversation it should be much wider than that.
Following that conversation you and your GP may decide to refer for an NHS ADHD Assessment. You should ask how long the waiting list is likely to be to allow you to consider alternative options if needed.
If your GP refuses to provide a referral you can consider:
(i) Getting a second GP opinion. You can do this formally or informally. Formally by putting in a request to your GP practice. Informally by booking a new GP appointment and requesting a different doctor. If you choose the informal route it is imperative that you tell your second GP of your previous discussion.
(ii) If you have very few options with your own GP service, for instance it is a single GP or very small practice, then you may consider changing GP. The NHS find a GP service is here. There is now an option for an predominately online based NHS GP service. You can learn about that here.
(iii) You can contact us to provide you with advice. We’re happy to talk to you to see if we can help. Our contact us page is here.
(iv) If you have the funds you can get a private assessment. We are unable to provide recommendations for individual clinicians; however, we do recommend that you ensure your clinician is a recognised member of the General Medical Council You can search the register here.
Step 3 (Option 1) – NHS Assessment
Have a specialist assessment with the NHS. This should cover your overall mental health, an assessment of if you have ADHD, and an assessment if you might have any other related or unrelated mental health conditions. This usually, but not always, involves a 45 to 90 minute discussion with a psychiatrist. They may go through a number of check lists.
Following your assessment your clinician will let you know what the next stage is. One option is a diagnosis of ADHD, with a discussion on whether you want to consider medication options, and a referral back to your GP for shared management.
Step 3 (Option 2) – Right to Choose (NHS England)
If you are based in England under the NHS you now have a legal right to choose your mental healthcare provider and your choice of mental healthcare team. This important right means that, for instance, should you decide the waiting time for your ADHD assessment is too long, then you can choose alternative providers.
You can learn more about right to choose here: england.nhs.uk/mental-health/about/choice/
We are in the process of building up a list of right to choose providers. If you are such a provider please get in touch. However, we have spoken with the team behind psychiatry-uk.com. who may be the largest provider of right to choose ADHD assessments in the UK. Their assessments are predominately done by video call, which has become common place since the start of the pandemic. They tell us they often operate without any meaningful waiting list time (although it is best to contact them directly for up to date information). Psychiatry UK provide details on Right To Choose, including a downloadable letter to give your GP, here. We strongly recommend that you consider your Right to Choose where your waiting list for an assessment is too long.
Step 4 – Shared care or GP Care
In Step 3 you and your clinician will discuss on going care. This could be continued care with the specialist mental health centre, it could be shared care between the specialist centre and your GP, or it could be discharged to the sole care of your GP. Shared care and GP care are the most common. You will then discuss your ongoing treatment with your psychiatrist or GP as appropriate.
Step 5 – Next
Being diagnosed is the first step in helping yourself with ADHD and may unravel complex emotions. Many report that a diagnosis can both be a relief to know what has been challenging them but as well they feel upset to know that they have a mental health condition. It is important to remember that nothing has changed because of a diagnosis – except that you are now empowered with the knowledge of it. What you now do with that insight into yourself is then up to you.
We recommend you learn about ADHD, learn and look out for its nuances for you. To help you do that we provide support groups and recommend you join our newsletter. Above all we’re here to help.