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ADHD Diagnosis & Treatment

Children with ADHD have a disability.6 As with autism in the past, ADHD has been dismissed by some as a convenient ‘label’ to excuse poor behaviour or impaired learning. However, a substantial body of research evidence demonstrates that it is, in fact, a specific condition with clearly identifiable symptoms and clinically effective treatments.3

Children with ADHD are not problem children, but children with a genuine problem.
Dr Geoffrey Kewley, Consultant Paediatrician


ADHD is a clinically distinct neurobiological condition that is caused by an imbalance of chemicals affecting specific parts of the brain responsible for behaviour.7 The core features of ADHD are behavioural characteristics,

  • Inattention
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity

Analysis of ADHD groups versus non-ADHD groups has identified consistent changes in brain structure and function and in performance in neuro-cognitive tests.3 Additionally, ADHD is known to have a strong genetic basis with studies showing that children of a parent who has ADHD have up to a 50% chance of experiencing the same difficulties.8

A specialist consultant using standard criteria and rating scales can diagnose ADHD in school-age children.3 Once diagnosed, there is no ‘quick fix’ for children with ADHD but the good news is that the condition is manageable with a combination of regimes that can include behaviour management, cognitive therapies and medication.3 The problem is that many specialists believe that ADHD is under-diagnosed and under treated. In a research report investigating ADHD in the UK, 54% of adolescent psychiatrists and paediatricians stated that ADHD is currently underdiagnosed in the UK.9