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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Do I have ADHD/ADD? If so, how can I get help?

    I have recently realised that I have many ADHD symptoms for inattention. For instance: I have trouble focusing on things, can't get organised (always forgetting/losing things), can't complete projects (I procrastinate or take too long) (and end up doing them last minute under extreme pressure), make simple mistakes, cannot stop acting impulsively, always feel like I'm underachieving etc. I've tried to change my behaviour many times over my childhood/teenage years (I'm in year 12) but haven't succeeded. My scores on The World Health Organization Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Screener, were for part A 5/6 and part B 9/12. I skimmed through the instructions, so I'm not entirely sure what this means. If I do have ADHD, how can I get help? Do I have to see a professional, or take medication? Or is this just something I can get over? Thank you :)
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Holly Melrose

    Psychologist

    1

    Thanks

    I enjoy working with children, adolescents, adults, and families to provide assessment and intervention for varied developmental, cognitive, behavioural and academic functioning. My interest areas ... View Profile
    • Clayton, VIC (03) 8592 9250

    Hi Dominique, 

    It's important that your concerns are taken seriously, particularly as you are now completing year 12! You've asked a few questions so I'll try to cut to the chase. 

    You will need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to obtain an 'official' ADHD diagnosis. A psychiatrist will be essential if you are considering medications as perscriptions are restricted to those with a special license to perscribe. It is up to you which one you see or if you see both. A GP referral will mean Medicare costs can cover some of the fees for each professional. 

    A psychologist will typically be involved when someone is under 25, or there are a lot of other things going on like anxiety and learning problems. A psychologist uses special tests to figure out if your symptoms are from ADHD or other things (like learning disorders). 

    If your issue is truly ADHD, then 'getting over it' depends on how severe it is, if it gets worse or better over your lifetime naturally, or if you start working on the issues it creates. Work with a psychologist after diagnosis is a common way to start working on coping differently. Some people I see only need a few sessions to get started on managing things and some people need to see me more often to manage their progress and work.

    You can read the followin overview here for more general information: http://www.bravehq.com.au/an-overview-of-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/

    You can find a psychiatrist here: https://www.ranzcp.org/Mental-health-advice/find-a-psychiatrist.aspx

    You can search for psychologists in your area here: https://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/

    Best of luck!

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  • 1

    Agree

    I am a Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist who specialises in Adult ADHD, Jungian Psychotherapy, and the Psychological Medicine aspects of Chronic Pain conditions. View Profile

    Dear Dominique,

    Impairment of attention, focus and concentration are affected by many Psychiatric Disorders. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one such condition. 

    If the difficulties are lifelong, and having an impact on functioning in life, it is time for a Psychiatric assessment, by a Psychiatrist who is a specialist in ADHD. Several appointments are needed, to explore the person's history in detail, including interview of a Parent, and review of school reports for evidence of ADHD in childhood. The mental health issues that commonly occur with ADHD, such as anxiety, mood and substance use disorders are also assessed for.

    A diagnosis of ADHD opens possibilities of really useful professional help. Medicines are often very helpful, therapy for associated mood and substance use disorders and for organisational and interpersonal difficulties can also often be very helpful. 

    Studies suggest that half of those with ADHD will have the disorder lifelong, and benefit from long term treatment. 

    I would emphasise that treatment usually substantially improves creativity, relationships, career and meaning in life.

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