Can I just get diagnosed already?


So I have been trying to get a diagnosis for 8 months now.

I first figured out that I have ADHD through watching the Netflix documentary ‘Take Your Pills’ - It was a really negative show about the alleged overprescription of stimulant medication in the USA which wasn’t the greatest introduction to ADHD, but after hyper-focusing on finding out as much as I could about ADHD; I came to the conclusion that I likely have inattentive ADHD.

This is good because I’ve really been struggling to try to transition from more manual work (I was a chef) to something that can accommodate physical disabilities that I’ve picked up from Multiple Sclerosis. I really struggle with concentrating and doing repetitive tasks which is kind of bad when you’re suddenly limited to desk jobs. Finding out about ADHD has given me hope that with the right help I can work again and won’t be stuck on welfare forever - and it’s also let me know that I’m not lazy or stupid, just different.

The trouble is that I live in the UK. It is notoriously hard to get a diagnosis as an adult here, but to make matters worse, I’m in the worst part of the country for mental health coverage. Just see this article.

I’ve found myself stuck in a waiting list (twice now) for the mental health service I referenced to just look at my case and decide if they’ll refer me to a psychiatrist who will diagnose me. The first time they refused because ‘there wasn’t enough evidence’ - although I doubt the person looking at my case was qualified to make that call. Thankfully my GP is really lovely and (in his own time) arranged with the neurologist overseeing my treatment for MS to let me see a psychologist under him who then recommended that I should have an assessment with a psychiatrist because my symptoms are consistent with ADHD. This recommendation then went back to the mental health service who have sat on it for more than 13 weeks now and I’m pulling my hair out trying to deal with them. My biggest fear is that they’ll refuse and I’ll have exhausted all of my options for having access to an assessment. I also know that this waiting list is a largely pointless bureaucratic exercise where they’re acting as the gatekeeper for other services like the psychiatrist that can practice ADHD assessments and I’ll likely get stuck in an even longer waiting list for that psychiatrist if I ever do get past this current waiting list.

Does anyone else have experience getting diagnosed in the UK? Should it be this difficult? Are there any good options for getting diagnosed privately? will I have to pay for my medication if I do it that way? (I really couldn’t afford medication if that’s the case).

I’m done venting now. Thanks for listening! :sweat_smile:


Hello Philip, I understand your frustrations, it took over 10 years for me to get diagnosed. No, it should not be this difficult but it’s unlikely to change any time in the near future. A private diagnosis will need to be both accepted by an NHS doctor who is then willing to offer you treatment, so on the question of paying for private prescriptions I can’t give you an accurate answer.

I’m going to link to a couple of threads that have some useful information, as I’m a slow writer and stuck for time. I think you should pursue your right to treatment backed up with contact with the CCG, if you have not done that already. Another possibility is contacting the South London and Maudsley directly. Good luck, best wishes.