ADHD Treatment: Information, Therapies, and Medication Options

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects around 3-4% of the UK population. It influences how a person thinks, processes information and emotions, and how they react to people and situations. The disorder is sometimes diagnosed at a young age, usually through the education system, but many fall through the net and fail to receive the treatment and support they need.

Awareness of ADHD has grown significantly in recent years, but it’s still largely misunderstood within society. While there’s a lot of work to be done on a wider scale to overcome stigma, support is available to help those living with ADHD open doors to opportunity, and achieve their goals.

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Learn about ADHD, available treatment options, and ADHD therapies, here at Maudsley Private Care.


What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects both children and adults. It is characterised by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can interfere with a person's functioning and quality of life, impacting how a person thinks, processes information and emotions, and how they respond to their environment. ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, but its symptoms often continue into adolescence and adulthood.

There are three main subtypes of ADHD:

  • Predominantly Inattentive: Individuals with this subtype have difficulty sustaining attention, following through on tasks, organising activities, and paying attention to details. They may seem forgetful, easily distracted, and have trouble focusing.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive: People with this subtype exhibit hyperactivity and impulsivity, but may not struggle as much with inattention. They may be fidgety, have difficulty staying seated, interrupt others frequently, and act impulsively without considering the consequences.
  • Combined: This subtype involves a combination of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which is the most common presentation of ADHD.

We can all exhibit behaviours that seem similar to symptoms of ADHD from time to time, however, it ‘s very important that we don’t self-diagnose. Officially diagnosed ADHD can negatively impact various aspects of a person's life, including academic and occupational performance, relationships, and overall well-being. If left untreated, adults and teenagers with ADHD can be more susceptible to substance abuse issues, sometimes as a way to self-medicate symptoms and deal with rigid societal expectations. 

It’s also important to remember that neurodiversity can also be a positive attribute and strength. Neurodiverse people often view the world from a unique angle that may not be understood by others at first, but, when harnessed, contributes a much-needed fresh perspective, from communal spaces and projects, to the classroom and workplace. Where there are difficulties, proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with ADHD to achieve their goals and pave the way for a bright future.


ADHD treatment for adults and children

There are various treatment options available for adults and children with ADHD. Treatment approaches typically involve a combination of behavioural interventions and therapies, psychoeducation, and, in some cases, medication. Your clinician will tailor your treatment plan to your needs, taking into consideration a range of unique factors, such as age, working environment, and personal preferences.

Here are some common ADHD treatments for adults in the UK:

ADHD therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):CBT is a form of psychotherapy aimed at effectively addressing challenges and symptoms by transforming thought patterns and behaviours. Through CBT, a therapist aims to modify their client’s emotional responses to situations, which can help you to regulate your behavioural responses.
  • Psychoeducation: Individuals with ADHD, as well as their families, can benefit from psychoeducation to understand the nature of the disorder, its impact, and effective coping strategies.

ADHD medications

  • Stimulant medications: These medications, such as methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine, and dexamfetamine, are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. They can help improve focus, attention, and impulse control.

  • Non-stimulant medications: atomoxetine and guanfacine are non-stimulant medications approved for treating ADHD. Atomoxetine is a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, and works by making more noradrenaline available in the brain.

For your safety, medication is always prescribed and monitored by a qualified medical professional, usually a psychiatrist.

ADHD Support Groups

There are a number of local and nationwide groups dedicated to providing a platform for individuals with ADHD and their families to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another, such as

Lifestyle Modifications

Healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and stress management techniques, such as meditation, can contribute to managing hyperactivity, inattention and emotional dysregulation in ADHD individuals.

Workplace adjustments for ADHD

In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act of 2010 establishes the legal obligation for employers to implement modifications within the workplace to accommodate employees or job applicants dealing with disabilities or long-term health conditions – this includes individuals with ADHD.

Employers are legally required to make appropriate adjustments to ensure that disabled employees and prospective job candidates do not face disadvantages compared to those without disabilities. 

Adjustments can include:

  • Adapting the Work Environment: This might involve physical alterations to the workplace, such as installing ramps for wheelchairs or modifying workstations to accommodate individuals with mobility challenges or sensory processing issues.
  • Modifying Work Patterns: Adjusting work hours or location to accommodate an employee's specific disability-related needs.
  • Offering Additional Support: Providing extra training or supervision to assist employees with disabilities in effectively performing their job roles.
  • Tailoring Recruitment Processes: Allowing job applicants with disabilities to participate in the recruitment process through alternative methods, such as different interview formats or extended assessment times.

It's important to note that the adjustment should be ‘reasonable’ and ‘justifiable’. Reasonableness takes into account factors like the employer's size, available resources, the nature of the work and necessary adjustments, and the potential impact on business operations.

Treatment for children with ADHD

  • Parent training: Parents can receive guidance on managing their child's ADHD symptoms at home, including strategies for improving behaviour and communication.

  • School interventions: Teachers and school staff can implement accommodations and classroom strategies to support children with ADHD, such as providing structured routines, frequent breaks, and individualised attention.

  • Special education services: Children with ADHD may be eligible for additional educational support and accommodations in schools, such as extra time on exams or a quiet environment for studying.

  • Medication prescribed and administered by a paediatrician.


How to access ADHD treatment in the UK

To access ADHD treatment in the UK, you must first have an official diagnosis. One of the most common ways to start the process, is by talking to your GP, who will go through a standardised test with you to assess your symptoms. From there, they will refer you to, either, the NHS, or a private psychiatrist, for an assessment.

At Maudsley Private Care, we offer comprehensive in-person and online private ADHD assessments for UK residents, adults and children, carried out by one of our experts.

Meet our ADHD experts

You might want to go private if

  • the waiting list for an NHS ADHD assessment is too long, and you would like to talk to a psychiatrist quickly.
  • you’re looking for a more varied choice of specialist ADHD treatment.
  • you need sustained, reliable support over a long period of time.

Our team of psychiatrists and therapists are trained to the highest standards, with decades of experience in assessing and treating individuals with ADHD from unique and complex backgrounds.

You can get in touch with our dedicated team directly on 020 3228 9880 for more information about ADHD treatments and therapies, and the assessment process.

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