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ADHD services ‘swamped’, say experts as more UK women seek diagnosis

ADHD awareness hassoared among women in the UK in the past year, but waiting times and the dearth of clinical awareness are leaving people awaiting diagnosis in a perilous position, leading experts have warned.

Dr Max Davie, a consultant paediatrician and co-founder of ADHD UK, said that people talking openly about their diagnoses – including a number of high-profile celebreties – had led to more people seeking referrals for the condition.

However, while awareness is increasing many trusts and private providers have shut waiting lists because of demand.

“I think it’s probably as big a year as we’ve ever had. We are seeing a lot more people from all walks of life seeking a diagnosis later in life, particularly women,” Dr Davie said. “At the same time waiting lists have gone through the roof. NHS services have been swamped for a while and private providers are also closing their lists – there are wildly inadequate services for ADHD diagnosis, particularly for adults.”

Dr Tony Lloyd, the chief executive of the ADHD foundation, said its own figures suggested a 400% increase in the number of adults seeking a diagnosis since 2020, adding that prescription volumes did not take account of those who do not use medication.

“ADHD remains significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated in the UK – at great cost to public services and to the individual and the workforce,” he said. "Stigma around the condition, which the charity says affects one in 20 people in the UK, resulted in negative outcomes for individuals and high costs to the economy. Dismissing ADHD as a cultural construct and undeserving drain on finite NHS resources only adds to the enduring stigma and stereotyping of those with ADHD,” 

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Source: The Guardian, 13 January 2023


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