CATCh-uS: Children and adolescents with ADHD in transition between Children’s service and adult services

Children and adolescents with ADHD in transition between children’s services and adult services

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that affects children and adolescents and can continue into adulthood for some. Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They cannot seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive. These behaviours are generally common in children. However, they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD, and the symptoms interfere with the child's ability to function at school and at home.

Once considered to be a condition restricted to childhood, there is clear evidence that ADHD persists into adulthood for many young people. Recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) treatment guidelines have recognised the importance of ADHD in adults, which formalises its status as a long-term condition. Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organisational skills, goal setting, and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.

This project focuses on what happens to young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when they are too old to stay with children’s services. We know little about how many areas have specialist services for adults with ADHD and how many young people need to move to them when they are too old for children’s services. Until the late 20th century, ADHD was a controversial diagnosis. Once generally accepted, it was still seen as a developmental disorder of children, and so mental health services for adults are not set up to manage young adults who have ADHD and continue to want support to cope with their lives.