The Diagnostic Process

The process of assessing for ADHD in adults is outlined in detail in the National Clinical Programme’s Model of Care.

Below is a quick summary of the diagnostic process:

  1. The person’s GP will refer to the relevant local adult mental health team (AMHT; based on your home address) if they:
    1. have moderate or severe symptoms of ADHD but no childhood diagnosis
    2. have moderate or severe symptoms of ADHD and were diagnosed and treated as a child or teenager
    3. age 18 with ADHD (with significant symptoms) and receiving treatment or care from Child and Adolescent Mental Health services or paediatrics (what is CAMHS?)
  2. There is an initial assessment by the AMHT.
    1. The person will complete two scales (a series of questions), rating their symptoms.
    2. Someone with a positive result on both scales, showing current and past ADHD symptoms, will be referred to the ADHD clinic (if there is one in your area. Please read our ADHD Clinics Page to see where there are currently clinics).
  3. A clinician conducts an interview, exploring the person’s presenting problem, their current situation and their background, to understand what’s going on, to consider if a diagnosis is needed and to begin developing an intervention plan. If there is not an ADHD Clinic in your area, the AMHT can diagnose you using the NICE Guidelines for ADHD. These are professional recommendations for best practice.
  4. Information from other people in the person’s life, usually someone who knew them as a child, is also collected. The clinician will also review school reports if possible.
  5. There will be a post diagnosis discussion. Post diagnosis counselling is an important component of the diagnostic process and may be offered to the person.