Assessment and Treatment of ADHD

As an expat or someone living far away from a specialist centre for neurobehavioral disorders, you’ll know how hard it is to find English-speaking psychologists. 

We are experienced UK qualified clinical psychologists providing online assessment and diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) using internationally recognised, reliable tools.

Our therapy uses proven methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

According to patient need and preference we can supplement it with other therapeutic approaches such as Dialectical Behavioural therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Compassion-Focussed Therapy (CFT).    

ADHD ND

 

 

What does a diagnostic assessment for ADHD look like? 

Our assessment and diagnosis process follows best practice guidelines of the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2018).

To assess and diagnose ADHD in young people or adults information about the symptoms are gathered from various sources. It is important to have the perspective of the patient as well as others significant in their life (‘informants’). As ADHD is considered a ‘neurodevelopmental’ condition, the symptoms must have started in childhood. It is for this reason that we ask for school reports if they are available, and to speak to a parent/carer. In the case of adults, it is also helpful to speak to a partner or friend who knows the patient well and can comment on their symptoms now.

If it is not possible to involve an informant live in the interview, then contact can be made by email and questionnaires completed instead. The psychological assessment process can take place in person, remotely by video call, or a combination of both.  

The assessment process is conducted by one of the team. We charge a fixed fee (contact us for details) for the assessment and diagnosis which comprises the elements below: 

1.Questionnaires are sent out to the patient and informants and completed by email. 

2.Clinical Interview. This usually lasts 60 minutes. If it is a young person being assessed this would include the parents/carers as well.  

3.Structured Diagnostic Interview. 1-2 hours. Ideally, this would include an informant. 

4. Feedback meeting 50 minutes. The findings are shared with the patient in the form of a written report. Amendments can be made before the report is finalised.

5.The final report is sent out to the patient and any other health professionals involved (with written consent).  

Please note: if someone has multiple complex difficulties then further assessment sessions and/or liaison with other professionals or informants may be recommended. This will always be discussed with the patient first. For example, a patient may present with symptoms of an additional neurodevelopmental disorder such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Tourette’s, or they may seek a formal diagnosis for a mental health problem such as OCD. Further investigations will incur an additional cost to be negotiated with the patient.

We do not prescribe medication and if you require this we can refer you to a Consultant Psychiatrist who is able to prescribe ADHD medication.  

What does therapy for ADHD look like? 

We use CBT to help people manage their attention and hyperactivity difficulties. There are two main resources we draw upon: Mastering your Adult ADHD by Steven Safren and colleagues (2017) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for ADHD in Adolescents and Adults by Susan Young and Jessica Bramham (2012). Both of these programmes have been well-researched and shown to be effective.   

After the assessment has been completed therapy will typically consist of 12 meetings where we address the following domains: 

  • Organising and planning: You will learn organisation and time management skills so that you can cope with multiple tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Prioritization and problem solving techniques will also be taught.  
  • Reducing distractibility: You will learn to improve your attention by reducing external distractors by changing things in your environment and tackling internal distractors by introducing behavioural reward techniques.
  • Dealing with unhelpful thinking styles: you will learn about how our thoughts influence our behaviour and we will teach you how to modify thinking patterns if they are getting in the way of you engaging in new adaptive behaviours.
  • Overcoming procrastination: You will learn psychological tools to overcome the tendency to put tasks off. 

After the initial 12 sessions we hope you will feel more confident managing your ADHD. Your memory should have improved, and ability to function at home and at work will be better.  However, some people with ADHD find that their attentional and impulsivity difficulties have caused problems in other areas: 

  • interpersonal relationships
  • anxiety
  • low mood
  • frustration and anger
  • Sleep

We can therefore spend some extra sessions on these emotional elements if you wish. Once you feel confident that you have met your goals, we will offer some monthly 'booster' sessions to help you maintain your progress and support you as apply the strategies independently to your everyday life. 

Where do you see people? 

We specialise in helping people online by videoconference so our patients can be located anywhere in the world. We also may be able to meet in person, either in the UK, or elsewhere in Europe. If you require us to come to you, please contact us for details. Many of our clients are English speaking expats who are unable to access diagnostic and treatment options in their host country. 

Useful materials for clients 

Mastering your Adult ADHD by Steven Safren et al., (2017). If you start therapy with us, we will suggest you buy this book. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for ADHD in Adolescents and Adults by Susan Young and Jessica Bramham (2012). Although this book is written for professionals, you may also find it useful if you want to understand your ADHD more deeply. 

References 

  • NICE, (2018). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management. London: NICE.
  • Safren, S., Perlman, C., Sprich, S., & Otto, M. (2005). Mastering your adult ADHD: therapist guide. In: New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Young, S., & Bramham, J. (2012). Cognitive-behavioural therapy for ADHD in adolescents and adults: A psychological guide to practice: John Wiley & Sons.

Useful organizations 

UK Adult ADHD Network https://www.ukaan.org/  

Living with ADHD (a site for young people and adults with ADHD as well as parents and teachers) https://www.livingwithadhd.co.uk/