Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 5% of school children. The disorder persists into adulthood of 40 – 60 % of those affected as children. This means that 2-3% of adults suffer from ADHD. ADHD is characterised by the presence of inattention, hyperactivity and / or impulsivity. It is true that we all have different levels of inattention but people who have ADHD have significant and persistent difficulties with their attention that result in impairment in more than one area of their lives. The way ADHD presents in adults can be more subtle than in children and this is why a careful and thorough clinical assessment by a specialised and highly skilled clinician is needed to ascertain the diagnosis. Psychiatrists who specialise in Adult ADHD know that adult patients who are affected by ADHD can be easily misdiagnosed as suffering from another mental disorder and the other way around. This is because people who suffer from ADHD have poor mood regulation and rapid changes in their mood and this can be mistaken for depression or bipolar disorder. Also adults with ADHD can be more emotional in certain situations than others and they can be quite impulsive and this can be mistaken for borderline personality. In addition it is not uncommon for people with ADHD to feel more worried and anxious than others and as you would expect this could be mistaken for an anxiety disorder.
This is why it is crucial to see a clinician who is skilled in diagnosing Adult ADHD and at the same time is experienced in diagnosing patients who suffer with other mental disorders that can be mistaken for ADHD. It is well known that treatment of these disorders is quite different and successful outcomes depend on accurate diagnosis.
Dr Abdelghani is the lead consultant psychiatrist for Adult ADHD in the NHS trust where he works. He has an extensive experience in diagnosing and treating Adult ADHD. This includes using medication (which is the first line of treatment recommended for Adult ADHD) and working with colleagues from other disciplines, such as psychologists, to deliver a comprehensive and holistic management plan to his patients. Also because of his clinical interest and wide experience in the management of other mental and psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder and different anxiety disorders he is in the best position to differentiate between these disorders and Adult ADHD in complex clinical presentations and to treat these disorders when they co-occur with Adult ADHD which is common.
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