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Rose Kavanagh of Galway AD/HD spent two days in Brussels on behalf of “INCADDS” The Irish National Council of ADD Support Groups. Together with representatives from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the UK. They formed AD/HD Europe and spent a hard-working week-end putting together their contribution on AD/HD to the EU green paper on Mental Health.

AD/HD is a chronic disorder requiring long-term treatment.

How is ADHD diagnosed and treated?
. ADHD is a clinical diagnosis based on a careful and complete review of the patient’s history and the observations of others. Only specially trained healthcare professionals can officially diagnose ADHD – they evaluate their patients based on the person’s overall patterns of behaviour and the symptons of the disorder, using the diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV TR.
They also evaluate other possible causes of inattentive or overactive behaviour, as well as common coexisting conditions including psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiance etc.

. A multinodal treatment programme must be individually customised, continually monitored and optimised. Accompanying psychocducation forms the basis of all treatments for ADHD. Effective interventions include behavourial therapy for the patient and his or her family, in school as well as at home. Drug treatment of the child plays a central role in many cases.

What are the potential long-term effects of ADHD?
Certainly, if not properly diagnosed and thus not or not properly treated, individuals have very high risks of difficulties in achieving success in manny aspects of their lives:

1. Emotional problems: low self esteem, depression (leading to suicide)
Remark: it is noteworthy that ADHD is often the first cause of depression and often implicated in instances of suicide. Because of this, psychiatrists must develop an in depth knowledge of ADHD in order to thoroughly understand the issues surrounding the presenting symptomatology.

2. Educational problems, e.g. unqualified school staff, under performance, school level below capacity, behavious problems often resulting in suspension, leaving school early.

3. Relationship problems: increased conflict at home (parents, siblings), lack of social skills, higher rates of divorce.

4. Professional problems: unemployment, frequent change of employment, frequent job loss due to behavious, dismissal due to inadequate performance (often unjustified).

5. Development of psychiatric problems – conduct disorders, substance abuse, anti-soc ial behaviour, criminal behaviour.