Many people with ADHD aren't aware they have it. They will be aware however that everyday tasks seem more difficult for them than for others. Typical symptoms are finding it hard to focus, missing deadlines and trouble controlling impulses, ranging from impatience to mood swings and outbursts of anger. Other symptoms include:
The above list may be familiar to most people at different times in their lives. If these symptoms occur only occasionally, they probably don't have ADHD. A doctor usually diagnoses when someone’s symptoms cause problems that stop a person working, finding stable housing, or living normally and safely.
Diagnosis of ADHD in adults is often trickier because the same symptoms also occur in mental health conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. Many adults with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition (depression and anxiety are the most common).
Symptoms usually start before the age of 12 and continue into adulthood.
ADHD is a lifelong condition, though it often becomes less marked in adulthood. But it can be effectively managed. The first step is to see a doctor and start seeking a diagnosis.
In the UK, the incidence of ADHD in school-aged children is thought to be between 3 and 5%. In adults it is between 3 and 4%.
We still don’t know for sure. An enormous amount of research is focused on finding the causes of ADHD. Factors that may be involved include:
The risk of a person developing ADHD may increase if:
ADHD has been linked to:
Making the diagnosis normally includes:
ADHD is normally treated through a two-pronged approach:
Doctors might prescribe stimulants for ADHD – which might seem counterintuitive, but has a strong evidence basis for regulating brain activity.
Some ADHD patients might also benefit from antidepressants or other medication, but in every case a doctor is best placed to advise on what to take.
Psychotherapy is indicated for people with ADHD but behavioural therapies can also help manage traits that make people with ADHD disorganised, and teach useful skills as well.
NHS Choices provides information about the signs, symptoms and treatment for depression.
For people with an ADHD diagnoses, this charity provides resources and advocacy.
Aimed at young people, this profile of ADHD explains what it is, how to seek treatment and mental health concerns for people with ADHD in a clear and straightforward way.
Schizophrenia is a disorder of the mind that affects how you think, feel and behave. Its symptoms are described as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.
Positive symptoms are symptoms that people experience when they start having a schizophrenic episode. These include hearing voices, seeing things that others don't, believing something is real or true when it isn't, or believing their thoughts are being monitored or controlled by others.
Negative symptoms are experiences that people with schizophrenia stop having when they start having a schizophrenic episode. Typical negative symptoms in schizophrenia include losing interest in things they used to enjoy, feeling disconnected from emotions or having less motivation.
The term ‘schizophrenia’ carries stigma because of its frequent misuse in media and entertainment, but research has done much to re-educate the public, and inform more accurate stories about serious mental illness.
The word ‘schizophrenia’ comes from the Greek for ‘split mind’. It is therefore often mistakenly used to describe someone with multiple personalities. This is not correct.
Some people think if someone hears voices or is having a schizophrenic or psychotic episode, they are dangerous. This is rarely the case. In fact, one study published in 2011 suggests that people suffering from schizophrenia are up to 14 times more likely to be the victim of violent crime than to be arrested for committing a violent crime.
Other mental illnesses that share many of the same symptoms as schizophrenia include schizoaffective disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder.
Symptoms usually start in late teenage years or early 20s.
There is no cure for schizophrenia. However, it can be controlled through a combination of talk therapy and medication.
About 14.5 per 1000 people over the age of 18 in the UK have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, according to NICE. That means there are about 250,000 people suffering from the disease.
We still don’t know for sure, but it may be down to genetics, or environmental stressors such as isolation, bereavement or abuse. Research into the relationship between schizophrenia and recreational cannabis use is ongoing.
Schizophrenia can be a difficult diagnosis to make and so the condition is usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in healthcare – advises treating schizophrenia and psychosis with both talking treatments and antipsychotic medication.
Talk to one of our expert therapists or psychiatrists if you have been diagnosed with this condition, have a relative who suffers with it, or are concerned you may be schizophrenic.
Rethink’s local services and peer support groups provide support, and the charity also runs a phoneline to provide practical health and housing rights advice to people with schizophrenia and diagnoses like it.
Mind provides in-depth information on schizophrenia, and what a diagnosis means, and its Local Minds services often run peer support groups open to people with schizophrenia.
SANE’s research into schizophrenia continues to shape policy, and their phoneline, forum and Textcare services provide support to people with schizophrenia and diagnoses like it.
This UK charity represents and supports people with a schizophrenia diagnosis, and people who live with and support them.