Getting an ADHD Diagnosis in the UK
13 Mar 2023
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It affects over 5% of the UK population but everyone experiences ADHD slightly differently. This article will look at why someone might want to get a diagnosis and how they would go about getting one.
Why would someone want an ADHD diagnosis ❓
There are different reasons why a diagnosis (either positive or negative for ADHD) may be useful to someone, though it can be a significant undertaking, so it is important first to honestly assess the personal rationale for getting a diagnosis. Getting a diagnosis can be helpful in terms of helping you understand yourself better and help you get the interventions and support that will benefit you.
Observation and research
Understanding your traits, as well as those associated with ADHD, can help you decide whether or not to seek a diagnosis. It can also prepare you to communicate effectively with your GP. Some good first steps might include:
1️⃣ Explore whether you have symptoms that fit the profile of ADHD by completing Noetic’s screeners.
2️⃣ Reflect on your own experiences and find examples of when you may or may not have fit the signs and symptoms of ADHD and how it might have impacted your daily life.
3️⃣ If you feel comfortable, speak to people who know you (e.g. family members, friends, colleagues and teachers) to also get opinions that can help you build a picture of your symptoms
Once you've completed these steps, if you still believe your profile fits with ADHD traits and you’d like to proceed to get a clinical diagnosis, you can explore the different routes to getting diagnosed.
Consult your GP 👩⚕️
Start by making an appointment with your GP.
Bring a collection of observations, or a diary, to show your GP why you think you might have ADHD and how it impacts your life.
If you and your GP agree to proceed with a psychiatric diagnosis, your GP will help you with a referral to a specialist.
Note: Not everyone understands and appreciates ADHD in the same way, which also applies to GPs. If your GP declines to refer you, then you can always seek a second opinion from another GP. While you don’t have a legal right to a second opinion, it’s rarely refused.
Your assessment will be carried out by either a psychiatrist, a specialised ADHD nurse, or another healthcare professional with specialist training in ADHD.
Your assessment may vary slightly depending on the provider assessing you. You can ask beforehand what the assessment will entail.
You may be asked to fill in forms relating to your symptoms and be asked questions relating to your symptoms and history with ADHD.
The assessor may also want to speak to someone close with you to ensure they have a good picture of your traits.
They may also try to rule out any other possible causes for your symptoms
Based on the results of the assessment, the specialist will decide whether to make a diagnosis.
You should discuss your ongoing care plan with the specialist, which can involve being under the care of a specialist mental health centre, your GP, or a combination of the two.
Diagnosis route options
If you are successful with getting your GP to refer you to get a diagnosis, ask how long the waiting time is and what the process looks like. If you think the waiting list is too long, you have the right to choose alternative providers other than the local one recommended by the GP.
If you want to get diagnosed privately, then you can seek a private practice that can diagnose you. Private diagnosis are often opted by individuals who don’t want to wait that long to get a diagnosis or who cannot get a diagnosis through the NHS route because their GP refuses to refer them to get a diagnosis.
Private clinics offer a range of options for diagnosis, assessment and support, This can range from an online one hour assessment to a comprehensive assessment with a report and treatment plan, so it is important to understand what your clinic is offering you. The cost can range from £360 up to £1600. There may be additional costs for follow-up meetings and treatment. You will have to pay for a private diagnosis. If you have private health insurance, some providers will pay for your diagnosis. It is best to contact them directly to ask.
Places that offer private ADHD diagnosis :
1️⃣ ADHD 360
3️⃣ ADHD centre
4️⃣ Psychiatry UK