NICE Guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provide national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care and this month they released a new set of guidelines for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD) These new guidelines update and replace the previous guidelines from 2008.

The team here at SPACE are particularly pleased to see an increased focus within the guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of girls and adults of both sexes. A common ADHD myth is that the condition only affects male children, which is now known to be completely untrue.

There are a number of common misconceptions about ADHD, particularly the idea that it is solely a problem of behaviour, which leads to the common stereotype of naughty boys shouting and throwing chairs. Whilst there are many cases where this is true, it completely ignores anybody that doesn’t present with those symptoms which creates a serious problem for those who have the Inattentive form of ADHD. The new guidelines includes a reference to attention issues, under recognition, highlighting the fact that ADHD is not a behavioural condition, despite the fact that it is often challenging behaviour that is most widely recognised.

By only recognising challenging hyperactive behaviour, children who are well behaved in the classroom and able to maintain a reasonable level of academic attainment are left to manage without support. This can lead to them fighting internally to control their behaviour during the school day and “exploding” the minute they get home.

Internalising the effects of undiagnosed ADHD is also a problem for adults, particularly women and there are large numbers of adults presenting with mental health complaints, which actually stem from a lack of diagnosis and support for ADHD.

The updated NICE Guidelines are for healthcare professionals, medical commissioners, those with ADHD and their families and carers. Outdated information is responsible for many people not receiving the support they need to thrive and we are pleased to see that the updated information from NICE recognises a number of factors which were not present in the previous edition, including a recognition of the hereditary factory. We are hopeful that this will lead to an improvement in diagnosis and training and lead to better outcomes for families with ADHD.

View the NICE Guidelines here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87/

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