What Is ADHD? 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a ‘neurodevelopmental disorder’ characterised by (but not limited to) difficulties with attention, focus, risky behaviours, relationship troubles, memory difficulties and impulsivity.  
ADHD is one of the most common conditions diagnosed in children. ADHD often carries over into adulthood and as people are becoming more aware of neurodiversity there is now an increased up take of adults being assessed and receiving a diagnosis. 
 
ADHD is a brain-based condition that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviours. 
 
These brain operations are collectively referred to as “executive functioning skills” and include important functions such as attention, concentration, memory, motivation and effort, learning from mistakes, impulsivity, hyperactivity, organization, and social skills. There are various contributing factors that play a role in these challenges including chemical and structural differences in the brain as well as genetics. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At BASE we believe that these beautiful and neurodivergent brains should be celebrated. 
People with ADHD have a wealth of strengths and abilities that have enabled them to develop in unique and wonderful ways. Here at BASE we believe that although the current terminology tends to look at the negatives of “disorders”, that in actual fact we should celebrate the beautiful strengths that people who are diagnosed with ADHD have. 
 
This is why after the assessment, our team will generate a highly detailed report describing all aspects of the individual’s profile, highlighting numerous strengths, and providing recommendations for continuous support. 
The current diagnostic manual that is used in the UK, DSM-V, defines ADHD as the following: 
Symptoms 
• Symptoms and/or behaviours that have persisted for more than 6 months in more than 2 settings (e.g., school, home, work). 
• Symptoms have negatively impacted academic, social, and/or occupational functioning. In patients aged less than 17 years – more than 6 symptoms are necessary; in those aged 17 years and over – more than 5 symptoms are necessary. 
Inattentive Type Diagnosis Criteria: 
 
• Displays poor listening skills 
• Loses and/or misplaces items needed to complete activities or tasks 
• Sidetracked by external or unimportant stimuli 
• Forgets daily activities 
• Diminished attention span 
• Lacks ability to complete schoolwork and other assignments or to follow instructions. 
• Avoids or is disinclined to begin homework or activities requiring concentration 
• Fails to focus on details and/or makes thoughtless mistakes in schoolwork or assignments 
Hyperactive/ Impulsive Type Diagnosis Criteria: 
 
Hyperactive Symptoms: 
 
• Squirms when seated or fidgets with feet/hands 
• Marked restlessness that is difficult to control 
• Appears to be driven by “a motor” or is often “on the go” 
• Lacks ability to play and engage in leisure activities in a quiet manner 
• Incapable of staying seated in class 
• Overly talkative 
 
Impulsive Symptoms: 
 
• Difficulty waiting turn 
• Interrupts or intrudes into conversations and activities of others 
• Impulsively blurts out answers before questions completed 
Classification and Treatment 
Combined Type: 
 
• Individual meets both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive criteria for the past 6 months 
 
Predominantly Inattentive Type: 
 
• Patient meets inattentive criterion, but not hyperactive/impulse criterion, for the past 6 months 
 
Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type: 
 
• Patient meets hyperactive/impulse criterion, but not inattentive criterion, for the past 6 months 
Additional Requirements for Diagnosis 
 
• Symptoms present prior to age 12 years 
• Symptoms not better accounted for by a different psychiatric disorder (e.g., mood disorder, anxiety disorder) and do not occur exclusively during a psychotic disorder (e.g., schizophrenia) 
• Symptoms not exclusively a manifestation of oppositional behaviour 
ADHD Treatment 
 
Research has shown that the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and therapy. Medication manages brain-based functions and symptoms, while a wide variety of therapeutic input can help to address thoughts, behaviours, sensory difficulties, communication difficulties, educational difficulties and coping strategies. This is why at BASE we ensure that we are able to support with both lines of ADHD treatment. 
 
Please let us know as soon as possible whether you feel medication is something you would like further support with so that we can start to plan for this within the assessment process. There may be some additional paperwork required with this as well as discussions with the individuals GP. 
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