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New research into the transition of young people with ADHD into adult services

Posted on August 17th 2015

In the UK, it is estimated that more than 500,000 children under the age of 18, suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Characterised by a lack of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, ADHD can cause academic impairment, social dysfunction and low self-esteem.

Professor Tamsin Ford has been awarded an NIHR grant of £800,000 to conduct research to help people suffering with ADHD transitition from child services to adult services. The project plans to explore the current options for young people with ADHD when they are too old to stay within children’s services.

ADHD is generally seen as a developmental disorder in children, meaning an increasing number of young people with ADHD find themselves too old for children’s services. Meanwhile, mental health services for adults are not set up to help those reaching adulthood, who want continued support with ADHD.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines about the management for ADHD in adulthood. This often involves taking medicines that GPs feel inexperienced to prescribe without support from specialists, as would happen with children who have ADHD. Existing work suggests that young people with developmental disorders like ADHD are particularly unlikely to transfer to adult mental health services, however there has yet to be an in-depth study of this issue in the UK.

This will be the first national study to examine how many young people are in need of a service for ADHD as adults and will seek to identify how many young people with ADHD (with an ongoing need for medication) require transferring to adult services. It will also aim to recognise the influencing factors leading to a sucessful or failed transition and will explore the help already available, along with the service it provides.

The aim of the project is to provide recommendations to improve service delivery and provision for young people with ADHD and thus improve their health at a key life stage and beyond.

You can read more about some of Professor Ford's other research into ADHD via our website.

You find out more about this project by visiting our CATCH-uS project page.

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