ADHD in the UK


I’m also in the assessment pipeline in Scotland!

My experience so far: Took visits to three different GPs at my local surgery (first said “I’m pretty sure it’s just your change in life circumstances,” second said “Everyone feels like that though… I’ve never heard of this in adults” and had to go and ask their supervisor so I assume they were new-ish and third said “Are you sure you want a diagnosis? What good will it do you? OK fine, I’ll refer you”) and some additional form filling in and now I have an appointment to see an “adult mental health specialist” at the end of the year. From referral to appointment was maybe… 6 months? I’m not sure, because I forgot to hand in a form for several months (!) and that delayed it.

But I don’t know how the assessment part might go. I’d be interested to hear! For info, I’m late 20s, female, and a postgraduate student which everyone seems to think automatically rules ADHD out.


Yes it is, but also frustrating bouncing around the mental health services for so long.

Be aware that the NHS does not have to accept a private ADHD diagnosis.

I have seen a few people frustrated when their private diagnosis has not been accepted by the NHS, private prescriptions are very expensive.

If you do choose to go private then I suggest you check with the private provider and your GP that the diagnosis will be accepted by the NHS, and that the GP is able and willing to offer you treatment. Also that your university will accept the diagnosis and provide the relevant accommodations.

Maybe also consider a deferral if that’s possible and you are really struggling, I hope this does not sound like I’m being too negative, but I speak from the experience of being a fully qualified drop out, school, college and university, due to my ADHD problems that I did not understand at the time.

It’s still worth exploring other options, I know SLAM is not really convenient for you, but someone in the group meeting I go to, volunteered for a neurological research program there and had an assessment as a free add-on, maybe 3 weeks from start to finish.

Try to look for all the options, keep on keeping on and don’t be too hard on yourself. Good luck!


I feel like they prefer to wait until your life is falling apart (like mine was) before they refer. Rather than being proactive and treating people before things get out of control. Having to constantly prove how much you are struggling behind the scenes is so tiring and negative!


Same for me too, my life is still a mess and I’m not sure if I will ever fully recover. People should not have to get to the absolute lowest level before being provided with the help they need.

The issue of treating what they can see on the surface, depression, anxiety, or whatever co-morbid conditions without getting to the real root of the problem is such a waste of time and resources. It’s much more cost effective in the long run to treat ADHD rather than just the resulting problems:
Other mental health problems, higher unemployment, lower earning potential, relationship problems & high divorce rate, alcohol & substance abuse, homelessness etc etc.

It’s a big part of the campaign from join in if you can.


Appreciate all your help, thanks


Yo UK Brains. (Okay that was weird. Welp it’s staying). It’s nice to talk to other UKians (?). I’m currently attempting to get an assessment but like… i am but a young child and tis stressful lol


So true! Saying words to the effect of “I feel like I have to try 20 times harder than most other people only to get some of the results some of the time and that’s really hard, please help” doesn’t seem to carry much weight compared to an actual, objective life disaster. Sometimes I almost wish I would spectacularly fail at something big so that I could say, “Look! I told you!” rather than trying to explain how the hundreds of less crucial things cause me difficulty through accumulation. Sure, I’ve never lost my job because I missed a train but I am running late literally all of the time I am going anywhere and the effect of that is very stressful and draining and impacts my life lots of ways, but not in a big objective disaster way. You’re right, explaining it is tiring! And I always feel like it sounds “weak” or made up.


And I mean the fact that you have to be getting significantly bad grades for the government to step in and take you/your child seriously. Like people with ADHD can have good grades too, it’s just harder and more stressful and, even if they’re grades are good, they could be underperforming for themselves but the government only sees the ‘good grades’ part and rules it out it feels like.


I dont like the double standards, if you were in physical pain, they wouldn’t not treat you because you got good grades or haven’t been fired yet.


Sucks that you had such crappy GP’s that woudn’t listen to you :frowning:

I was very lucky that mine did and didn’t try to convince me otherwise, cause I was so nevous going into my appointment already, second guessing myself, if she’d said ”nah you’re full of it” I don’t know if I’d gotten a second opinion, I’d probably just thought she’s right.
So kudos to you for demanding for someone to take you seriously!


hi! i’m mia i have adhd (innatnetive) but honestly i was only diagnosed with it because i was lucky enough to go and see an educational psychologist (or psychiatrist? i get them confused). i didn’t known ANYTHING about adhd until i got the diagnosis and started doing my own research and honestly i still don’t know how they test for adhd (or learning disabilities in generatl tbh) in the uk since from my experience, primary school did nothing.


I was lucky to be diagnosed within 3 months! Pure luck tbh, just asked if there was any cancellations and boom a chance within 3 months. So lucky. But in the UK we have so little support for adults especially.

Liverpool there is a group ladders of life who do a fantastic job as a support group, but I think podcasts are the way forward to reach a new generation detailing how normal people deal with adhd and our own little wins and losses. Sorry rambled!


I’m in the UK. Nottingham to be exact. It took me a long time (4 years) to get a proper diagnosis due to living in Nottinghamshire and not Nottingham but I eventually managed to get one due to changing my GP to a city one rather than a county one.


Ahoy, i live in Wales and I’ve just found out i’m ADHD i’m 32 and have been in tears over some of these videos its been a real rollor coaster of self discovery, i also have dylsexia so sorry about the spelling in this post!!!
Because i live so rurally i am waiting to hear where i will be sent for a medical diagnosis and to work out meds, i have to say though im a bit worried about the meds im a single mum and a student so if they mess up it could have a big impact my on life!!!


Hello, Arrragh you a pirate?

It can be a bit of a shock figuring this out a bit late but at least you are making progress. Spelling is no problem, there are lots here with the same issue and no one will care about that.

I hope you don’t have to wait too long for an assessment. Don’t worry about the medication, you will only start on a very small dose and if there are negative side effects you can stop taking them. Bear in mind that the work for most people but not everyone. There are lots of other things you can do to help yourself, eating well and getting a decent amount of sleep are important.

Hope this is the start of some discovery journey that will help to improve your life!


haha yeah part time pirate i spend a lot of time in the sea, thank you for your email it is very daunting!!! :pirate_flag:



I’ve been hooked on Jessica’s videos for a while now but I had no idea that I might have ADHD until I heard that other people feel the same way I do. I have been treated for anxiety and depression for a couple of years now and whenever my GP or my therapist asked me what triggered a panic attack it was usually something that to me sounds like ADHD, like not being able to focus on projects or commit to a job. But when I said “I think I have ADHD” he said he didn’t think I did. He referred me anyway so either he just doesn’t care or… I don’t know.

I’m terrified at the thought of waiting a year for a diagnosis and from reading the NHS guidelines on adults getting a diagnosis it might end up that they don’t think it’s disruptive enough for me to qualify.

It’s nice to know I’m not alone though :slight_smile:


Hello UK brains! I’m another person awaiting diagnosis on the NHS in Scotland, in that agonising limbo between GP-referral and psychiatrist appointment.

I have a question for anyone who has gotten as far as their first appointment with an NHS psychiatrist after being referred for ADHD diagnosis: what happens next?? Was the diagnosis based just on one appointment or did you need more appointments after that initial one? If there were more… did they happen within the next couple of weeks or were there more loooooong waits between subsequent appointments?

I FINALLY have an appointment with a psychiatrist scheduled for the beginning of April :tada:, but I’m currently in the middle of moving house and trying to organise all sorts of travel plans, which is proving really difficult as I have no idea what might happen next after this initial appointment, and don’t know for how long I’m going to need to stick around for potential follow-ups…:woman_shrugging:


Hi Tiddlypops,

I am not in the uk but had a aimilar situation with a long wait for a first appointment. The subsequent appointments were a little bit stretched out because of matching my diary with the gaps still available in the practitioners’ diaries, and after that phase, when we had decided on a treatment plan (I am seeing a therapist and, since november, a coach), I could book six appointments in one go. Round about appointment 4 or 5 of the block, I check if another block of six is a good idea and we discuss whether or not the frequency should change. Then I book those before the last appointment arrives, as I know from my experience last year that I would otherwise land in that zone of shifting sand where it’s hard to line up diaries.

I also managed to get the appointments to settle down into usually being the same day of the week each time, and roughly the same time of day. This helps me a lot, as I can plan around them better. In the beginning my whole day was a washout if I had had therapy in the morning. Now that has calmed down, but I try to keep that afternoon free every week for my planning.

That doesn’t always actually work :roll_eyes: :sweat_smile:

Basically, being diagnosed as an adult has been like a project in its own right. I made a decision to allow that to take time, literally one day a week, on average. I am already reaping a lot of benefits, and am far more effective than I used to be. So even though working on improving my behaviour patterns etc is taking up a lot of hours each week, my overall achievement each week is way more than it was a year ago.

My advice on your specific question is to phone the admin person who arranges appointments and ask how that works there.

Good luck with it all! It was an emotional rollercoaster and cost me a lot of energy in the beginning, and I was very uncertain about whether I would regret getting this label etc etc. But now I am really glad I am getting the support I am getting and that things are changing for the better.


I’m also in the UK, in London. Still at the very early stages as I only had my light bulb moment and realised I have ADHD about a week ago, and I need to call my GP at 8am to get an appointment booked. And I very rarely manage to wake up that early…

I’m really hoping it won’t take years!! It’s a bit scary to read how difficult it seems to be getting a diagnosis and how much it depends on who your GP happens to be!