Seeking a diagnosis of ADHD

This resource is for adults seeking a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

There are a few different ways you can seek a diagnosis of ADHD in the UK, the pathways include;

  • via the NHS/ your GP
  • via Right to Choose through the NHS
  • or pay for a diagnosis privately.

This article is primarily going to look at getting a diagnosis through the NHS/Right to Choose. We have laid out the steps below:

Step 1: See your GP

We recommend seeing your GP first even if you are going down the privately funded route as they may have more advise. The GP will usually ask you to complete an ASRS V1.1 questionnaire. It can be helpful for you to have already looked at this or completed it ahead of your GP appointment. It is also really useful to make some notes on each point as to why you feel they apply to you or for you to have some examples ready. The GP will ask more questions but having these answers ready will help you to feel a little more prepared for the conversation.

Step 2: The referral

If you are going through NHS or Right to Choose then your GP will need to make a referral. ADHD UK have a great article on this which outlines which providers you can currently access through Right to Choose. They also explain about some of the challenges of this route.

NHS waiting lists can vary depending on area, so before you choose to wait for an NHS referral or to go private, it would be worth finding out how long your local waiting list is.

Should you decide to go privately your GP may need to write a referral letter to the company that you decide to use, depending on what provider you have chosen the process is usually outlined on their website. If you are uncertain, you can contact the provider to enquire about the steps your GP needs to take for your referral, so you attend your GP appointment fully informed.

Step 3: The diagnosis

Whichever route you decide on there will be an assessment which will go over your mental health, family history and any other health conditions. There will usually be another questionnaire for you to complete before your first appointment. After the assessment they will either tell you in the appointment or send you a letter if you have been diagnosed with ADHD. They might ask you if you want to try medication, this is completely up to you and is a very personal decision to make.

Diagnosis can cause a lot of different emotions to come up its important to talk these through with someone and you could consider a referral to a counsellor to understand and come to terms with your diagnosis.

Step 4 Medication

If you decide to go onto medication you will go through a period called Titration. Some providers will have a waiting list for Titration (even after you’ve had your assessment). During Titration it is very important to be completely honest with the person that is supporting you. Titration is a little bit of trial and error which can be frustrating. Sometimes medication is the best decision, but sometimes it’s not right for you, it is a personal choice!

Step 5: Next Steps

Once you have finished Titration your provider will explain the next steps, if you have gone through Right to Choose then the next step is something called ‘Shared Care’ which is where an agreement is made between the Right to Choose provider and your GP. Your Right to Choose provider will give you more information on this.


Hopefully, this has been helpful, if you do want more information there are some useful links below.
If you would like more information on seeking a diagnosis then here are a couple of external NHS links to look at:

Find out more about the NHS Right to Choose Diagnosis pathway.

The NHS can offer further guidance on seeking a diagnosis.

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