What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects an estimated 3 to 5 percent of children and often persists into adolescence and adulthood. The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
I think I might have ADHD, but I've never been diagnosed. What should I do?
Schedule an appointment with a counselor in Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS, 3rd floor Tang Center) of the University Health Services (UHS). You can drop by CPS or call 510-642-9494 to schedule an appointment. If appropriate, the CPS counselor can provide you with referrals to specialists who can assess and treat ADHD.
What does a diagnostic assessment include?
Although different clinicians will vary somewhat in their procedures and testing materials, certain protocols are considered essential for a comprehensive evaluation. Comprehensive evaluations take considerable amounts of time for clinicians to perform, and it is not unusual for the evaluation to take several hours over several visits. It also often entails filling out questionnaires about ADHD symptoms. And the clinician will often interview parents, teachers, or other significant people in your life. A full diagnostic assessment for ADHD should include at a minimum the following:
- A complete history of your life, including developmental, educational, medical/psychiatric, substance use, and family histories.
- Comprehensive information about specific symptoms of ADHD and their impact on your life.
- Direct observations of your behavior.
- A summary of the effectiveness of any past and current medications prescribed for the ADHD symptoms.
- A summary of the effectiveness of any behavioral interventions.
A specialist will know what all of this means! In addition to the above, specialists may also include interviews with significant people in your life (e.g. parents, teachers, employer, partner, friends, etc.) and/or questionnaires filled out by these people.
Please note that tests of intelligence, cognition/information processing, and academic achievement, which may or may not be part of the diagnostic process itself, may be needed by the Disabled Students Program to determine appropriate accommodations and services.
I have already been diagnosed with ADHD and would like to receive medication treatment for it. What do I need to do?
Since August 24, 2009, due to a lack of adequate resources, UHS has no longer been able to provide medication treatment for ADHD to students who were not already receiving this service at UHS. Students who are already receiving medication treatment for ADHD at UHS as of the above date are still able to continue their treatment.
The UHS Counseling Staff are, however, available to assist students seeking ADHD-related evaluations and treatment by providing referrals to local professionals who provide these services, including local psychologists and psychiatrists who accept the Blue Cross Student Health Insurance Plan. The first thing you need to do is to speak to a counselor in Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS, 3rd floor Tang Center) of the University Health Services. You can drop by CPS or call 510.642.9494 to schedule an appointment. The counselor will ask you some basic questions and discuss your options with you, including referrals to local psychologists for an updated diagnostic assessment and/or referrals to local psychiatrists for a medication evaluation.
Can a UHS physician or nurse practitioner start me on medication and/or refill my roommate's medication?
UHS clinicians cannot initiate any new ADHD medication treatment or refill ADHD prescriptions of outside providers. If you are already taking medication prescribed by outside providers, we strongly encourage you to continue working with them while you go through the steps to transfer your care to UHS.
Please keep in mind that a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD does not guarantee any specific type of medication or treatment. Medication and other treatment options, recommendations, preferences, and decisions can be discussed once you meet with a UHS psychiatrist.
Even though UHS is not able to provide ADHD diagnostic assessments or initiate new ADHD medication treatment, we can provide referrals, when appropriate, to local professionals who do provide these services. The first step in the process is to make an appointment with a counselor in CPS, located on the third floor of the Tang Center, at UHS. Please drop by or call 510-642-9494 for an appointment.
Suggested websites for more information on ADHD, including diagnostic assessment guidelines:
Fees - see fees page.