New data obtained by the BBC shows a concerning rise in antidepressant prescribing for children in Scotland. In this comment we highlight that undiagnosed ADHD and ASD can be one thing which gives rise to mental health problems in young people.
As well as treatment for anxiety and depression, much could be achieved if young people were able to engage more with the Outdoors, the arts, exercise and purpose – and if parents were better supported. All things we plan to work on in the future.
ADHD is recognised by NICE, the World Health Organisation, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Scottish Government, and indeed improving services for ADHD was the subject of three recent parliamentary debates in Westminster and Holyrood.
Although symptoms must have been present before the age of 12 for a diagnosis, there is inevitably a huge number of adults with it who were not diagnosed in childhood when the condition was less well understood than it is now.
It is thought that around 2.5 – 4% of the adult population would benefit from treatment for ADHD(1), but NHS Scotland data shows that less than 1 in 1000 adults (0.1%) in Scotland were taking medication for ADHD in 2017.
There is undoubtedly a shortfall of adult psychiatrists with the time and expertise to manage demand, but turning people away at the door is not the answer.
We are on the case. Watch this space for updates.
Faraone SV, Biederman J. What is the prevalence of adult ADHD? Results of a population screen of 966 adults. Journal of attention disorders. 2005;9(2):384-91.
The Salvesen Mindroom Centre Research Centre team at the University of Edinburgh would like to say thank you to everyone from the Glasgow ADHD groups that volunteered to help us pilot our new study looking at learning in children with ADHD. Now this pilot study has been completed we are starting the official recruitment stage of the project.
This study is looking at the relationship between how children with ADHD remember things and pay attention and how they do in maths and literacy including reading, spelling and writing. There is a suggestion in research that memory and attention may be linked to how children with ADHD learn these subjects. We are looking to improve our understanding of this and to tackle the difficulties many of these children face in their learning.
In this next phase of the project we are looking to recruit around 120 children aged 6-12 years referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), focusing on the North CAMHS team in Edinburgh. We also hope to extend this study to other CAMHS teams in the very near future.
We had an exciting day today at Castle Douglas Town Hall, hosted by the Dumfries and Galloway Parents Inclusion Network, meeting up with parents of children with ADHD and staff from Dumfries and Galloway CAMHS – to talk about creating a new support group for families affected by ADHD in Dumfries and Galloway. A closed Facebook group has been created for parents in the area who would like to get involved in the new group, and you can join it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/440657899692661
The Coalition will continue to support the new group as they get going with workshop resources and other information about ADHD.
Today’s debate in the Scottish parliament was opened by Daniel Johnson MSP with an inspiring speech describing the strengths which having ADHD give him as a politician, and his anger at the misinformation about ADHD which still circulates. This was the first debate about ADHD in the Parliament and is a testament to the campaigning of many organisations, including the Scottish ADHD Coalition, over the past year.
We are looking forward to a roundtable with Health Minister Maureen Watt early in the next session.
We have sent the attached briefing to all MSPs about ADHD issues in Scotland.
If you have anything you would like your local MSP to raise, you could email them about it and ask them to attend and talk about it. Mark your email urgent as there is not long to go. If you don’t know who your MSP is, consult http://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx
A video of last week’s half hour Westminster Hall debate on diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is available on our Facebook page. Big thanks to Jo Platt MP for bringing this motion and speaking so powerfully, and good to hear the response from the Health Minister Jackie Doyle Price MP. The huge response from all across the UK to the brief survey carried out by ADHD Action to prepare for the debate adds to the weight of evidence presented in our ‘Attending to Parents’ report. Many of the issues highlighted in England apply here in Scotland too – and we plan to bring these to the attention of the Scottish parliament soon. Watch this space.
Watch last week's half hour Westminster Hall debate on diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Big thanks to Jo Platt MP for bringing this motion and speaking so powerfully, and good to hear the response from the Health Minister Jackie Doyle Price MP. The huge response from all across the UK to the brief survey carried out by ADHD Action to prepare for the debate adds to the weight of evidence presented in our 'Attending to Parents' report. Many of the issues highlighted in England apply here in Scotland too – and we plan to bring these to the attention of the Scottish parliament soon. Watch this space.
Adult ADHD was discussed on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire show this morning, featuring Michelle Beckett of ADHD Action, Jo Platt MP and Abi Nicol, co-moderator of the ADHD/ASD UK Community Support Facebook group which has over 66,000 members. The feature highlighted the fact that adult ADHD has only been fully recognised in the past 10 years, but that adults with ADHD benefit enormously from diagnosis and treatment. Michelle described how the (unquantified and likely minimal) risks of medication for adult ADHD can be far outweighed by the mental health risks of ADHD remaining untreated. Other participants to the programme talked about the importance of other therapies alongside medication to help adults with ADHD manage their lives, and the patchiness of NHS services for adults.