Undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental health condition affecting the lives of 1 in 20 in our community. ADD can seriously disable a persons creativity, self esteem, relationships and career.

When I trained in Psychiatry 25 years ago, ADD was thought to be a childhood condition that resolved in adulthood. We now know that this is often not the case, and that ADD is often lifelong.

We now know that many with ADD are not ‘hyperactive’, and may be more ‘day dreamy’.

We also now know that people with ADD can pay attention when the activity is very meaningful to them.

Sadly, ADD is often unrecognised by professionals. Psychiatrists and Psychologists, Teachers and General Practitioners often miss the diagnosis.

Often, when a child or teenager in the family is diagnosed as ADD by a Paediatrician, the parent’s ADD often goes unrecognised. We know that ADD is often a genetic disorder, and often runs in families, so it is most important to consider the diagnosis for every family member of a person with a diagnosis of ADD.

ADD is often mistaken for other mental health conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, oppositional disorder, personality disorder, Asberger’s Syndrome, and often underlies depression and addiction. Those with ADD are often dismissed as ‘dyslexic’ or being ‘not academic’, ‘lazy’, or being a person with ‘anger issues’.

Treatment for ADHD must always start with an assessment by an expert in the field with the necessary training and experience. I have undertaken the training provided at the London Institute of Psychiatry by the United Kingdom Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN).

The www.adultadhd.org.au website is most useful for information on Lifelong ADD and ADHD.

The UKAAN website is one of the most useful websites for clinicians interested in finding out more about ADD and ADHD.  see  www.UKAAN.org

My approach is to offer 2 appointments for the assessment of ADD. I recommend the involvement of next of kin in assessment and management where possible. With my background as a General Practitioner, a Psychotherapist and Psychiatrist, I offer a comprehensive approach to management, including attention to lifestyle factors, the complexity of the adjustment to the diagnosis, attention to family relationship and self esteem issues, offering ongoing psychotherapy support and medicine recommendations and ongoing monitoring. I always encourage participation with the local ADD support group.

I am also available for ‘second opinions’ to assist medical and psychology colleagues already involved.