ADHD is a hidden neurological disorder that is extremely complex which in many cases lead to school exclusion, family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, homelessness, as well as a range of anti-social behaviours and psychological disorders. In this post I will give my top 10 reasons why we as a society need to get the finger out and start to create the much needed stability and extra support to ensure our children and young people no longer get lost in transition.
- Approximately 4% -5% of the population have ADHD – one child in every classroom of 25 and an estimated 50–66% of those will continue to have difficulties managing ADHD in adulthood.
- People with ADHD don’t always present as predominantly hyperactive but may be extremely disorganised, impulsive and impatient which causes great frustration and stress on the individual. Due to large scale lack of knowledge and understanding of ADHD many people remain undiagnosed, untreated, stigmatised and fail to reach their potential due to their condition.
- People with ADHD, a classified mental health condition, are significantly more likely to be arrested, convicted and incarcerated due to aggression and antisocial behaviour.
- Many studies have shown the correlation between the early onset of substance misuse and ADHD and it is extremely common for Adults with ADHD to have a drug, alcohol and/or gambling addiction.
The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research indicated that ADHD was in the top 5 factors that can affect the likelihood and speed of developing an addiction. Here in Northern Ireland, disgracefully, there is not one mention of ADHD in the Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs 2011-2016 and although we have wonderful 155 page detailed autism strategy action plan, and rightly so, ADHD services continues to be ignored. The picture below will give you an idea what young people and their families are currently experiancing in regards to their ADHD healthcare here in Northern Ireland.
- 75% of adults with ADHD will present with other psychiatric comorbidities such as sleep disorder, anxiety, depression, personality disorders and addiction.
- Many people don’t realise that ADHD is a condition that is treatable. Studies have revealed that those who have had their ADHD treated adequately have shown marked improvement in self-confidence, better professional and academic functioning as well as healthier family relationships. Results have also shown overall improved psychological functioning with reduced risk of comorbidities including substance misuse and other addictions.
- In the UK the population receiving treatment for ADHD is lower than the estimated population prevalence of the disorder, we have asked for the Northern Ireland figures and we were told they are non-existent.
- Studies have shown that untreated ADHD is extremely costly to society. Due to increased unemployment, increased rates of early drug use and alcohol addiction, as well as significantly lower academic outcomes, higher rates of marital breakdown and increased criminality.
- Young people with ADHD are at higher risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and completed suicide due to a combination of ADHD and comorbidities.
- Despite many of the myths surrounding ADHD it is a condition that you can have regardless of IQ, socio-economic background, religion, or gender. ADHD does not discriminate..
Although it feels like we are fighting a losing battle in regards to ADHD Awareness, every now and then something positive and reassuring happens. Only last week I was invited alongside Rose Kavanagh as representatives of Adult ADHD NI & INCADDS to Leinster House in Dublin to help implement ADHD into the new drugs strategy in the Republic of Ireland.
Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype. If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com
- ADHD Institute http://www.adhd-institute.com/burden-of-adhd/epidemiology/#sthash.ymQtEZal.dpuf
- ADHD Awareness Month http://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/adhd-facts/
- Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/new_strategic_direction_for_alcohol_and_drugs_phase_2__2011-2016_
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg72