Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is thought of as a disorder that occurs across an individual’s lifetime. That is, the symptoms appear in childhood and continue to be evident throughout an individual’s life (although the severity can and often does decrease) and can appear differently over time as people mature and develop.
There are two main categories or broad ‘types’ of symptoms that occur in ADHD: hyperactivity symptoms and inattention symptoms. An individual can have either, or both, sets of symptom experiences.
Symptoms of hyperactivity include high degrees of restlessness, fidgeting, discomfort staying still, acting as if “driven by a motor”. People with ADHD can also be impulsive. Adults with ADHD frequently show problems with talking when it is not appropriate, being loud in many different types of situations, talking too much and interjecting over others, struggling to wait their turn and not knowing when to “butt out”.
Inattention can appear as making careless mistakes or getting bogged down with details, struggling to maintain attention on tasks, being dreamy or preoccupied, not listening to other people’s conversations, forgetting - or double booking - appointments, frequently losing possessions (e.g., clothes, keys, wallets, phones) and being unable to function and organise themselves without using diaries, calendars, phone reminders et cetera.
Reading this list of symptoms, you might think that a lot of people have experiences like this – they’re normal things! This is completely true. Being forgetful and distracted does not mean that someone has ADHD. However, when these symptoms occur so often and across many areas of life –study, work, relationship and ‘life administration’– and interfere with effective functioning, this crosses the line between a personal style or quirk and a diagnosable disorder.
It is also important to notice that there are some, although relatively slight, differences in the way ADHD can develop in men and women over time. These differences are more evident during childhood and somewhat less evident during adulthood. That said, there needs to be adequate attention paid to these potential differences through the assessment process.
What causes ADHD?
ADHD is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Our best current understanding of the cause of ADHD is that the symptoms of ADHD are largely driven by an area of the brain, located within the the prefrontal cortex, developing to a slightly lesser degree in individuals with ADHD. This developmental delay gives rise to the issues around self-control and effective self-direction that lie at the heart of ADHD. While there is evidence to suggest that environmental factors are also important in the development of ADHD, they appear to be of a lower degree of significance and impact.
How do I know if this is relevant to me?
There are a few things are worth considering if you are wondering whether you might want to investigate ADHD. Have you always had problems paying attention, concentrating – persisting - on tasks and organising yourself? Have you always tended to ‘jump the queue’, blurt things out, talk over others and be too enthusiastic but perhaps not display as much self-control as you later wished you had? Is this something that friends and family have commented on for most of your life? Do you find it difficult to get things done even when you really want to. Do these sorts of problems occur in day-to-day life rather than just at specific, limited periods? If you answer ‘yes’ to these sorts of questions, then an assessment process sounds like it would be worthwhile for you.
If I have ADHD, what can I do about it?
The first step is to go through a proper and thorough diagnostic process. ISN psychology adheres to the national guidelines regarding the assessment of ADHD and uses appropriate interviews, standardised psychometric tools and an assessment process that align with best practice in this area. ISN students are also supervised by qualified clinical psychologist with significant, long-standing experience in the area of clinical assessment and ADHD in particular. It is also relevant to consider that sometimes the symptoms that look like ADHD can actually be better explained by other forms of personal difficulty, or sometimes, particular patterns of strength and weakness in personality and forms of intelligence. These issues need to be teased out carefully for assessment process so that diagnoses are made as responsibly and accurately as possible.
If a diagnosis of ADHD is made, various treatments will be discussed. Several different treatments are often used in combination. The principal course of treatment is stimulant medication, prescribed by an appropriately qualified medical professional. Medication is often combined with psychological support, which includes educating the individual on the disorder and teaching strategies & skills that help better manage their time, commitments and relationships.
Our ADHD services in Kew
The ADHD Service will comprise typically four to six sessions with an assessment and report.
The cost of each session varies depending on the type of psychologist chosen:
$70 for a provisional psychologist*
$180 for a general psychologist (Clinical Psychology Registrar)
$250 for a clinical psychologist
plus typically a one off cost of $330 for the assessment and report.
Typical Cost for 4-6 sessions and an assessment and report could range in cost form:
Provisional psychologist - $610 - $750
General psychologist - $1050 - $1410
Clinical psychologist - $1330 - $1830
Note that diagnosis may also require further assessment and reporting at an additional cost. The additional need for such assessments and cost will be communicated to clients after their initial session. Where further such assessments is required (which may include expanded cognitive testing, educational or personality testing), the following may apply:
Provisional psychologist - $470 for each additional assessment session
General psychologist - $580 for each additional assessment session
Clinical psychologist - $650 for each additional assessment session
* conducted by a provisional psychologist in their 6th and final year of study for the Master of Psychology degree or 7th year of study for those undertaking a Doctor of Psychology. No medicare rebate is available for these services conducted by the provisional psychologist. The provisional psychologist is under supervision of an experienced expert clinical psychologist.
Please feel free to call our Kew Clinic on 9008 1616 (and select option 1 for Kew) to facilitate a booking or book for a phone intake session directly online.