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Sexual identity and orientation can be associated with mental as well as physical wellbeing. Your sexuality is integral to your identity, and not being able to express this can be harmful to someone’s sense of self-worth and mental health. Despite cultural norms shifting in this century towards a more tolerant space for different sexual identities and orientation amongst the population, the impact on mental health in relation to sexuality can be significant. Exploring this in a non-judgmental space such as therapy is helpful.
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How do I know if I have ADHD? Does my child have ADHD?

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:

  • Trouble multitasking.
  • Excessive activity or restlessness.
  • Poor planning.
  • Hot temper.
  • Trouble coping with stress.

What ADHD is not

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).

At what age do ADHD symptoms appear?

Symptoms usually start before the age of 12 and continue into adulthood.

How long does ADHD last?

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.

How many people have ADHD?

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%.

What causes ADHD?

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:

  • Genetics.
  • Environment.
  • Problems during development.

What are the risk factors for ADHD?

The risk of a person developing ADHD may increase if:

  • Family members suffer from ADHD.
  • During pregnancy the mother smokes, drinks, or uses drugs.
  • A child is premature.

What are the impacts of delayed diagnosis of ADHD?

ADHD has been linked to:

  • Poor school or work performance.
  • Unemployment.
  • Financial problems.
  • Trouble with the police.
  • Alcohol or drug misuse.
  • Unstable relationships.
  • Poor self-esteem.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

Making the diagnosis normally includes:

  • Asking questions about symptoms and family medical history.
  • ADHD tests to measure symptoms.

What are the treatments for ADHD?

ADHD is normally treated through a two-pronged approach:

  • Medication.
  • Therapy.

ADHD medication

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.

Therapy for ADHD

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.

Help and information about ADHD

ADHD (NHS Choices)

NHS Choices provides information about the signs, symptoms and treatment for depression.

ADHD Foundation

For people with an ADHD diagnoses, this charity provides resources and advocacy.

Young Minds

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.

Click here to see practitioners who specialise in


What is sexuality?

The term “sexuality” refers to the way a person describes their sexual, emotional and physical feelings or the attractions they have towards another person. They may be attracted to people of the same gender, a different gender, or to both men and women, or perhaps might not feel sexual attraction at all.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ sexuality; it is simply how a person identifies themselves and describes those they are attracted to.

What different terms do people use to describe their sexuality?

  • Gay: a way to describe being attracted to people of the same gender
  • Asexual/ace/aromantic: a way to describe experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others, or interest in sexual relationships or behaviour
  • Bisexual/bi: a way to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men and women (and perhaps also non-binary people)
  • Heterosexual/straight: a way to describe feeling attracted to people of a different gender
  • Lesbian: a way for a woman to describe being attracted to other women
  • Queer: queer is an umbrella term that covers all sexualities (and gender presentations) outside of ‘straight’ and ‘cisgender’ (meaning, anyone whose gender is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth). This term originated as a slur but has been reclaimed by the community.

For other terms that we haven’t listed, we recommend Stonewall’s free online glossary.

Questions around gender identity are often coupled with questions about sexuality – for example some people who are trans (whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth) might also self-define as queer. But gender and sexuality both deserve space and sensitivity. Read more on gender identity elsewhere on our site.

How can a person’s sexuality impact their mental health?

People can be bullied, treated differently or discriminated against and friends and family may not understand or accept their sexuality.

According to Stonewall:

  • 20% of LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months
  • 40% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months
  • 80% of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBTQ+ people particularly reluctant to go to the police

Experiences such as these often leave people feeling upset, hurt and isolated.

Other emotions resulting from a person’s sexuality might include:

  • Feeling different.
  • Being stereotyped.
  • Not feeling safe showing affection for their partner in public.
  • Others mislabelling their sexuality.

If you feel like talking about your sexuality might improve your mental health and wellbeing, please get in touch with one of our experts and book a session.

What does ‘sexual consent’ mean?

Sexual relationships can also affect our wellbeing and mental health, particularly if they don’t feel safe, ‘right’, or fair. For people to enjoy having sex, they need to ‘consent’ – meaning, to choose or decide freely, without any worries about what will happen if they say no.

Relationships when people can’t consent include:

  • Violent and unsafe relationships. If your partner hurts you, hurts themselves, or threatens to do either of those things, it might feel like you or your partner needs sex (or sexual intimacy) to stop one of you from getting hurt.
  • Coercive relationships. When your partner withholds love or care when you say no to sex or foreplay, or pressures, tricks, or threatens you into having sex, this is known as ‘coercion’.
  • Unequal relationships. If your partner is an adult and you are not, if they are your boss or employer, or if they have the power to change your circumstances, then you might worry that saying no to having sex with them will have repercussions for you.

If you are in a relationship and you’re worried about saying no to your partner, talking to a therapist can stop you feeling isolated and help you make decisions about how to cope.

How many people in the UK are not “straight”?

According to the Office of National Statistics, the proportion of the UK population aged 16 years and over identifying as heterosexual or straight has decreased from 94.4% in 2012 to 93.2% in 2017. Over the last five years, the proportion of the UK population identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) has increased from 1.5% in 2012 to 2.0% in 2017.

History of sexual rights in the UK


The UK repeals Section 28, which prevented schools from teaching LGBTQ+ sex education, or offering support specifically for LGBTQ+ students.


After nine years of civil partnerships, the UK legalises same-sex marriage.

Books, podcasts and events about sexual identity

Queer Intentions – A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture (2019)

Amelia Abraham writes about LGBTQ+ identity, and contemporary queer culture, in the UK.
Buy online

Queer – The Ultimate LGBT Guide For Teens (2019)

An honest and practical guide for teenagers who want to know more about LGBTQ+ life.
Buy online

Other helpful resources about sexual identity


AKT is a homelessness charity set up specifically to support young people who are LGBTQ+ and face abuse or hostility at home, or struggle to find housing.


Stonewall is the UK’s leading campaign organisation for issues that affect gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people. Its research into mental health had led to grassroots and policy change that protects LGBTQ+ people in the UK.


Switchboard (0300 330 0630) is a dedicated phone line for people who are, or think they might be, lesbian, gay or bisexual. It’s confidential, anyone can call, email or chat with them, and all call handlers identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans themselves.