ADHD is one of the most prevalent childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, but it’s adults with ADHD who are being neglected by Australia’s healthcare system – new guidelines directing diagnosis, treatment and management aims to close that gap.
SBS Insight returned to our screens on March 16, 2021, with new host Kumi Taguchi finding out what it’s like for adults living with ADHD who are widely misunderstood by the community and critically underserved by the public health system.
Diagnosis and treatment remain inconsistent, however, new guidelines developed by the Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA) are hoping to remedy the issue.
In this episode, Insight hears from adults navigating the life-shaping consequences of living with ADHD and features AADPA’s President, Prof. Mark Bellgrove, as one of the expert guest panellists, alongside Dr Charles Chan and Mark Brandtman.
Watch this episode of Insight now on SBS on Demand.
A common ADHD misconception is that it is only a childhood condition, but data would suggest two-thirds of children will carry symptoms and impairment into adulthood.
“ADHD in adulthood is still poorly recognised, poorly detected and almost certainly under-treated in adults in Australia,” Professor Bellgrove said.
Adult ADHD almost without exception, is treated in the private health system rather than the public one – which is unusual for this kind of neurodevelopmental condition. They [patients] have to pay privately for treatment, and if they can’t afford that, they’re just not going to get care.
AADPA anticipates that the new evidence-based guidelines will be submitted to the government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) by the end of 2021. The guidelines aim to highlight areas of inequity within the current healthcare system for adults with ADHD.
This means adults with ADHD may have an easier time acquiring a diagnosis, access to a greater range of subsidised medications on the PBS and a more consistent pathway to managing the symptoms of adult ADHD.
“We want to have a Bible that tells clinicians in Australia, that these are all the evidence-based steps of diagnosis so that we have a standardised clinical care,” Professor Bellgrove said. “We need to be detecting, diagnosing and treating better in Australia.”