New model of care for adults with ADHD

Effective management is key
  • Deborah Condon

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is commonly associated with children, however the condition persists in 1.5% of adults, the HSE has said.

It has just launched a new model of care aimed at helping adults living with the condition.

ADHD is a disorder that affects people's behaviour. Symptoms can include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Those affected may show poor concentration, they are often unable to complete tasks, they day dream a lot, are distracted easily, act without thinking and can suffer temper tantrums.

Hyperactive symptoms can include restlessness and not being able to remain seated, such as during meals. In adults, this can manifest itself through excessive talking and feelings of being overwhelmed.

The 'ADHD in Adults National Clinical Programme Model of Care' aims to ensure the provision of "skilled assessment and diagnosis, together with treatment encompassing ADHD-specific medication and psycho-social therapies", according to Dr Amir Niazi, the national clinical advisor group lead for mental health in the HSE.

This model of care will provide access to services for three groups of adults:
-Those who were diagnosed as children, with significant ADHD symptoms persisting into adulthood
-Parents of children with ADHD, of whom 25% may have ADHD
-Adults of all ages in whom ADHD was not recognised during childhood.

The aim is to provide appropriate treatment involving both drug and non-drug interventions. This should be provided by mental health professionals who have been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

The HSE said that the recruitment of two adult ADHD teams is "near completion" and one of the main goals for 2021 is to "support and oversee the setting up of a number of adult ADHD sites in community healthcare organisations (CHOs)".

CHOs are responsible for the provision of healthcare services in the community.

According to Dr Margo Wrigley, the HSE's clinical lead for ADHD, this model of care looks at ADHD "as an altered ability rather than a disability".

"Effective management of its core symptoms and negative impacts enables people to unlock the positive aspects of ADHD and lead fulfilling lives," she said.

For more information on the new model of care, click here.


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