NICE publishes new guidance on ADHD in adults and children

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has just published its new Guideline on the diagnosis and management of ADHD. It applies only in England, but is still a useful document for us as it summarises all the latest evidence about ADHD treatment and is therefore much more up to date than the Scottish SIGN guideline (2009).    To access the Guideline, visit


Editorial: ‘Shine bright like a diamond!’: is research on high-functioning ADHD at last entering the mainstream?

A newly published editorial in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry highlights the need for more research on the amazing strengths of people with ‘high functioning ADHD’ – people who fully meet the criteria for ADHD but are still able to function relatively well.   Such people, the editorial argues, often compensate for their ADHD difficulties through extraordinary strengths – such as creativity, hyperfocus, high levels of agreeableness and above-average openness to new experiences.    If high functioning ADHD can be better understood, it will be possible to re-characterise ADHD less as a ‘disorder’ and more in terms of the extraordinary potential that these people have.   The article also makes the case for more research into treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness which have the potential to help manage ADHD symptoms and let strengths shine through.

Download the article here:  Lesch-2018-Journal_of_Child_Psychology_and_Psychiatry


Demos publishes report on the cost of undiagnosed ADHD

As reported in today’s Guardian, a new report by the think tank Demos has shown the enormous cost of undiagnosed ADHD in adults.    Based on a literature review and interviews with 10 adults with ADHD which was not diagnosed in childhood, the report highlights that the economic burden of ADHD to the UK economy is likely to be far greater for adults with the condition than children, because of the far reaching effects it has on the lives of those with it.   It recommends that adult ADHD should be given much greater attention in government thinking about mental health.

You can download a copy of the report here:



Please complete our parent and carer survey

The Scottish ADHD Coalition is running a parent/carer survey looking at health and education services for children with ADHD.  If you are a parent or carer of a child with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD living in Scotland, it would be great if you could take 10 minutes to complete it.  It will be used to create a briefing which will be shared with the Scottish parliament and help to raise the profile of ADHD and highlight how families could be supported better.     Click on this link to be taken to more information and the survey. 

A lifetime lost, or a lifetime gained published

The ADHD Foundation, supported by a group of ADHD charities including the Scottish ADHD Coalition, has today published ‘A lifetime lost, or a lifetime gained’, a new report highlighting the lifetime impact of ADHD and the importance of prompt diagnosis and access to effective treatment and support.  We are pleased to support this report – a copy of which is going to every MSP in the Scottish parliament.

You can read the report at

Today’s Herald article: ‘Medication Generation’ – a response

Today’s Herald front page ‘Medication Generation’ highlights the increase in prescribing of ADHD medication which has taken place over the past 5 years in Scotland – based on data published a year ago.

We see this increase as a positive sign that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are recognising that ADHD is a serious condition with implications across the life course which needs to be appropriately diagnosed and addressed – in part stimulated by the ADHD Services over Scotland final report which was published in 2012. While there are many more children in Scotland being treated with medication for ADHD now than five years ago, the number remains below 1 in 100 children, suggesting that many more still go undiagnosed.

Where we agree with the Herald coverage, though, that ‘parking’ children with ADHD on medication is not enough. That’s why we are calling for a national strategy for ADHD. In particular:

• Teachers need training on how best to teach and support children with ADHD at school. Far too many are currently excluded, formally or informally.
• Children with ADHD need to be identified and diagnosed at an early stage through joined up pathways between education and CAMHS services. Current waiting times for assessment are too long in many places, and referrals to CAMHS may be rejected without clear reasons.
• Health Boards need to adhere to SIGN guidelines and treat ADHD appropriately, not only with medication (where appropriate) but also through structured parent training programmes such as Parents InC – currently available in some health boards but not others
• ADHD should be part of the national schools census dataset so that diagnosis rates, attainment and long term outcomes can be systematically tracked. Currently, there is no data on the number of children diagnosed with ADHD other than prescribing statistics.
• Pathways for children transitioning into adult services need to be strengthened, and adequate provision made to assess and treat previously undiagnosed adults with ADHD. The new Scottish Royal College of Psychiatrists guidelines explain what is required.

One of our Trustees, Alison Clink, contributed to the discussion with a reflection on how difficult the decision to medicate a child is, but how much it can help – something previously highlighted by a survey of parents of children with ADHD around Scotland.

NICE new draft guideline on ADHD out for consultation

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the NHS body which guides NHS provision in England, has produced a new draft guideline on ADHD which is out for consultation until October and available at this link.

Among the recommendations are that GPs should look particularly carefully for girls with ADHD, as their symptoms may be much less obvious than in boys.    The guidance also reiterates that special diets, such as eliminating nuts, milk and wheat, or cutting out artificial colours, will not improve ADHD symptoms.   Importantly the guidance recommends that NHS teams should offer parents and carers of all children with ADHD group-based ADHD-focused support that includes education and information on causes and impacts of ADHD and advice on parenting strategies.

Although the guidance will not apply directly in Scotland, many clinicians across Scotland look to NICE guidance for high quality evidence to inform practice, so the availability of this up to date information is welcome.