“It is a chronic, life long condition, and it’s about time that we started treating it as such. You know, people with ADHD are more susceptible to problematic drug use and more likely to take their own lives, but it is one of the more treatable conditions so why aren’t we doing it more effectively?” ~ Beverly Nolker, Founder of ADHD Sheppey
In the UK they have ADHD, just as we do here. And in the UK they have requirements that must be met for diagnosis. But those requirements are different. While North America uses the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the UK uses the alternate publication from the World Health Organization that is published under the name International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD.
Differences between these publications include distinct variations in the criteria for diagnosis of Adult ADHD. And those differences apparently mean that fewer people get a diagnosis of ADHD when the diagnostic professional is using the ICD.
Perhaps because there is a more narrow criteria for diagnosis, or perhaps because of the fewer diagnoses documented, in the UK, there is a wait list for people seeking confirmation of their disorder through diagnosis.
That is not the case in North America
No, it isn’t. And thankfully so. In Bev Nolker’s quote above we see some frustration with the system.
And yet, we know frustration here in our countries as well. While we do not have years long wait times for diagnosis, we also do not have any consistent system in place to channel those who are suffering from adult ADHD into the resources that could offer a diagnosis and consequent help.
In fact, we are still struggling with the idea that ADHD persists well past childhood.
I have seen no statistics on suicide and ADHD, but I have no trouble believing that there is likely a correlation. I know the mental and emotional struggles that this disorder offers us, and I feel quite certain that undiagnosed and untreated ADHD could at the very least exacerbate the issues that lead to suicidal thoughts and potential actions.
In our time …
Many notable specialists have acknowledged the fact that ADHD is one of the most treatable disorders we know of, Drs. Barkley and Hallowell among those who have said as much. And Bev notes that in her statement above.
And whether we are making people wait for appointments or whether we are just not bothering to create the channels needed to get people the help that could change, or even save their lives, the fact remains that ADHD is one of the most mismanaged disorders in any diagnostic publication.
People with ADHD …
People with ADHD who are untreated will treat themselves, whether they have a diagnosis or not, whether they have an awareness of the disorder or not. And their treatments will involve self medication with whatever they have to medicate with.
And when those medications and actions fail to produce long term results that are consistent and not flawed, there is likely to be a reckoning.
As someone with ADHD I can say with certainty that this world would be a lot better off with more treatment for those in need and fewer cases of drug use and suicide.
Thank you, Beverly Nolker, for putting the fine point on this issue that it needed to have.