ADHD treatment options
The ADHD Clinic offers a wide range of treatments for patients diagnosed with ADHD in the UK, for patients who have been diagnosed in other countries and need to change medication after moving to the UK and for those wishing to explore new or different treatment options.
In all cases, our Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Sally Cubbin, ensures that prescribed medications are appropriate to each patient and through ongoing, timely consulting, information provision and quality of communication with patients and GP’s, we provide patients with high quality and effective individual care.
The treatment of ADHD - medicine and prescribing options for ADHD in the UK
The medicines licenced for ADHD in the UK are a range of stimulants and one non stimulant. The stimulant medication methylphenidate and, sometimes, the newer amphetamine based medication lisdexamfetamine (Elvanse), are usually the first ones to be suggested. The dose of the medicine may need to be changed regularly in the early days (titrated) and regular monitoring for side-effects is also needed in order to find the best dose.
There are various forms of methylpheindate available in the UK including short acting (around four hours of effect) and long acting (up to 12 hours effect). Brands of the short acting drug that may be familiar, are Ritalin, Medkinet and Tranquilyn. Brands of the long acting form of methylphenidate are Concerta XL, Medikinet XL, Equasym XL, Matoride XL, Xaggitin XL, Xenidate XL or Delmosart.
The drug lisdexamfetamine (brand name Elvanse) is a long acting drug lasting up to 14 hours. A short acting drug dexamfetamine (brand name Amfexa) is available but is not a first line drug.
With short acting drugs, frequent small doses may be needed, which can be inconvenient, so it may be more appropriate to take one of the extended release drugs as this is easier to remember. Because of this, effectiveness is usually better with once daily long acting medication, however, students in higher education with less routine in their day, sometimes find short acting drugs more flexible.
Atomoxetine (Strattera) is called a non-stimulant drug as it works in a different way to stimulants but is also licenced to treat ADHD. An advantage of atomoxetine is that, if it works, it produces stable 24-hour control of symptoms so there may be fewer problems in the evening when the stimulants tend to wear off. However, unlike stimulant medication, atomoxetine takes some time to work so more patience is required.
Psychological and behavioural ADHD treatments
Non-pharmacological ADHD treatments may involve psychological, educational, behavioural, social and lifestyle interventions.
For best results this is usually recommended as well as medication, however, medication may not be an appropriate, successful or a desired treatment for all people with ADHD and in these cases a psychological approach alone is needed.
The ADHD Clinic provides comprehensive information about ADHD treatments and medicines to help optimise the use of medicines and increase each patients ability to cope with ADHD. Self-help materials are available in the form of brochures, books, internet resources and educational videos. Good nutrition and regular exercise is also important.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be used and sometimes coaching helps to develop strategies and impart skills in time management, organization and planning. Coaching is an unregulated industry but some patients find that the right coach can help with successful approaches to everyday activities and problem solving.
Mindfulness therapy based on meditation may be useful. Other specialist sources of support (relationship/marital counselling, family therapy, educational study skills support/ vocational counselling) may also be recommended. Other mental health problems such as low mood and anxiety may also respond to psychological therapy.
Student patients will be offered a letter confirming their diagnosis and this will support their entitlement to the disabled students allowance (DSA) for those in higher education. If appropriate, suggestions may be made such as extra time or use of a separate room and extra breaks for exams, use of a mentor and study skills support.
Although Dr Cubbin uses some of these techniques in her consultations, we may direct you to other therapists to deliver more intensive psychological services, but can discuss what types of therapy would suit you and where to look for an appropriate therapist.
What to expect
At The ADHD Clinic, we recognise that concerns over any aspect of mental health can be daunting and even frightening for individuals and their families.
How to book an assessment or appointment
If you find the information in our site useful and feel that you would benefit from a full ADHD assessment, we would be delighted to consider booking an appointment for you at one of our clinics.
A detailed breakdown of our fees for appointments and packages of care are available.