Wiltshire NHS ADHD Service will end on 1 Apr 2016

This is not a good sign. The NHS is already nowhere near able to deliver a little finger’s worth of the recommendations within the NICE guidelines for children. And with Adults having to already jump through a number of hoops to get a diagnosis, including being referred by a GP to a regular NHS psychiatrist for a couple of sessions, before being referred to a specialist ADHD nurse and psychiatrist – it already takes years for a diagnosis to be made. 

And now this. Let’s just hope it’s a blip, and not an indication of how ADHD is not taken seriously within mental health.

 

From 1 April 2016, the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) service delivered in Wiltshire by AWP will be decommissioned. AWP have informed patients affected by this decision, and the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have informed all their GPs.Please note that this change affects the Wiltshire ADHD service only. It does NOT affect the Wiltshire Autism Disgnostic Service (WADS), the rest of AWP’s ADHD service, or any other service provided by AWP.AWP has provided an ADHD service for adults living in Wiltshire, on behalf of Wiltshire CCG, since 2014. Over the last year, Wiltshire CCG and AWP have been reviewing the current ADHD service. AWP proposed a number of  new clinical service models that complied with NICE guidelines, however at this time a decision has been taken not to extend the contract beyond 31 March.Anyone who has concerns about how this change will affect them can speak to the Wiltshire PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) . Contact details for Wiltshire PALS is available from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS TrustAs a reminder to those who make commissioning decisions under the Equality Act 2010, the definition of a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities.

Source: Wiltshire NHS ADHD Service will end on 1 Apr 2016

ADHD is real – so why question it?

images 

The British ADHD organization – ADDISS – ran a campaign a few years ago in ADHD awareness week (this year happening on October 14 ) called “ADHD IS real”. I can’t think of many Awareness weeks that have to focus on the fact that the condition they are campaigning about actually exists.

Few mental health issues seem to suffer from the same stigma as ADHD. When I asked the head of the UK ADDISS, Andrea Bilbow OBE, to explain to me why I could only find well-funded parenting groups for Autism and Aspergers in my area, and nothing for ADHD, she explained: “Autism has the Aaahh factor, people feel sorry for the sufferers or carers. ADHD is just seen as annoying”.

 Continue reading "ADHD is real – so why question it?" 

Postcode Lottery and Chemical Cosh

Two phrases that mean little, but that are cliches bandied about journalists. We journos love a catchy cliche, however unhelpful they are. This piece by Nicholas Hellen in yesterday’s Sunday Times is no different. The medication is not a chemical cosh, it’s a stimulant – that helps ADHD concentrate. They may become more focussed, but they don’t turn into zombies, or someone knocked out or whacked out on downers. And with around 3% of the population suffering from ADHD, many in the UK undiagnosed, particularly if adults, it is unlikely that they are over-prescribed in some areas, more likely to be underprescribed. I would look forward to getting hold of the data properly and checking it against the % of the population. Most likely the patchy provision for people in, say, Portsmouth – where fewer mental health adhd specialist nurses operate mean that it is hard to get a diagnosis.

I would expect that the above “postcode lottery” is not showing an over-precription of “chemical coshes” to children, but an “under-diagnosis” due to lack of CAMHS resourcing in the area.

More examination needed.

Women of the World Rise Up Out of Your Chairs! Fidgets Live Longer – it’s official.

images I love the piece today reported in all national press in the Guardian that women fidgets live longer than women non-fidgets. Long ago, around the time in 1904 when ADHD was first reported in the British medical journal the Lancet, alongside the poem “Fidgety Phil” – ADHDers were described as “fidgets”.

Now, a joint study with research by scientists at the University of Leeds including 13,000 women, tracked between 1999 and 2002, shows that even mild fidgeting is better than no fidgeting, when it comes to the negative effect of sitting in a seat for long periods of time. The study had nothing to do with ADHD – and asked women to self report on their fidgeting in their seats – on a scale of one to ten.

Continue reading “Women of the World Rise Up Out of Your Chairs! Fidgets Live Longer – it’s official.”

Professor Philip Asherson and ADHD in prisons – what is being done…

We know the UK lags behind the US for treatment of ADHD generally, but I was interested to read Kings College Professor Philip Asherson’s study on ADHD in the prison population, how the untreated in the UK are often at great risk of greater anti-social behaviour within prisons, and likely to get into more trouble than those that are even committed to prison for antisocial behaviour. The boredom and confines of prison do not suit restless minds.

Once you understand the nuances of this disorder, you can begin to see how medication and rehabilitation could really turn around lives in the case of adhd in a way that some other recidivists may not respond. Especially if they were perhaps encouraged to revisit their academic achievements under the lamp of a diagnosis – and focus with medication.

And yet, while Alan Brown in his TEDX talk estimates that 45% of the US prison population are ADHD (compared to around 3% of the population generally), it seems crazy that more is not being done in this area. Especially when you realise that most of the medication that is available and deemed safe for children – is not yet available or licensed for adults in the UK.

Hurrah! A positive piece on ADHD and creativity…

attention-in-school

Thanks to Scott Barry Kaufman for this great positive piece on the power of creativity and ADHD here in the Scientific American. The Author Kaufman suggests that there is a link between a fast brain that allows  unfiltered messages to come through all the time, and unfettered imagination. Acting on impulse is not always bad – especially if you use those impulses to create something new. And working memory…pah, who needs it when it comes to artistic or scientific endeavour. Isn’t google our new working memory after all these days?

Continue reading “Hurrah! A positive piece on ADHD and creativity…”

ADHD and Exercise – When will schools get it?

images

I’ve just been in to meet with my son Michael’s head of year, two teachers and Special Needs co-ordinator. None of them seemed to think that excluding my ADHDer from sport yesterday was not the best way forward when they also wanted to talk about his challenging behaviour in class. As they went on and on about how he liked to “challenge the rules”, and his mis-behavioural points, I wanted to say that – like a Golden Retriever dog that always brings back the ball – he wasn’t going to change. And I couldn’t help thinking – “well you have the power, if you don’t want to argue the toss over the rules with him – just don’t engage’.

More worryingly for me, is that he doesn’t have the choice to challenge his exclusion once again from extra-curricular activities. Last term he was made to sit in a library while others were outside playing games, because he was deemed a “risk” (to himself? to others?). Despite the fact that he had a giant black eye from a friend hitting him in the face during hockey after school (we are used to Michael being accident prone and didn’t complain) this time Michael was the culprit. Except Michael was excluded from hockey club for hitting another boy with the hockey stick.

Arrrrrgggghh. Why can’t teachers get it? Exercise is the best medication for ADHD? Continue reading “ADHD and Exercise – When will schools get it?”

Now Dr Saul wades in with ADHD doesn’t exist

532924_760450977336136_291898371576181743_n

Doctors are getting themselves in a right twist. In response to the previous post on the New York Times piece, Behavioural Neurologist Dr Richard Saul in Chicago has waded in, puffing his provocatively titled book called “ADHD does not Exist” (ironically reviewed by Belinda Luscombe on the same site as one of the Top Ten ADHD books here ). Dr Saul’s stance argued on the Time Magazine’s website here has a particular beef with the new diagnostic manual for mental health (DSM V), which awards ADHD to anyone displaying a minimum of five out of 18 possible symptoms.

His views will no doubt curry favour with Daily Mail readers, who do see this massive upsurge in ADHD diagnosis and medication as a problem, and also with those who feel that taking medication for ADHD is in some way “cheating” in life – whether offering extra focus at school or in the workplace (something that is shown to be not the case in the more level-headed recent Time Magazine piece by Denise Foley in another piece . Foley points out that even with meds, the attention of an ADHD child is still below the par of a “normal” child in school).

Without blamming the reader with any more Time Mag pieces to read, what Dr Saul does not to address in his piece, Continue reading “Now Dr Saul wades in with ADHD doesn’t exist”