ADHD: symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Written by: Dr Ragini Bahry
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Here, in this article below, distinguished London-based child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Ragini Bahry, discusses ADHD in expert detail, including diagnosis, related symptoms, and treatment options.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a condition where people experience persistent patterns of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It often begins in childhood and can continue into adolescence and adulthood. There are three main presentations: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined.


What are the main associated symptoms?

The main symptoms of ADHD can be categorised as follows:


  1. Inattention: Difficulty sustaining attention, organising tasks, and following through on instructions.
  2. Hyperactivity: Restlessness, fidgeting, and excessive talking.
  3. Impulsivity: Acting without thinking, interrupting others, and impatience.


How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves assessing symptoms, duration, and functional impairment. Clinicians rely on standardised criteria (such as DSM-5) and parent/teacher reports. Differential diagnosis rules out other conditions with similar symptoms.


How is ADHD most effectively treated?

Behavioural therapy is highly effective, as it teaches coping strategies, time management, and organisational skills. Stimulants (like methylphenidate or amphetamines) improve focus and self-control. Often, the most effective treatment approach is combining therapy and medication.


ADHD can also be effectively treated with the help of lifestyle strategies, such as:


  • Routine: Establish consistent daily routines.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity helps manage symptoms.
  • Nutrition: Balanced meals and avoiding excessive sugar may help.


Can adults develop ADHD later in life?

While ADHD is typically considered a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder, it is possible to diagnose late-onset ADHD in adults. Here are some key points related to late-onset ADHD:


  • Recent research suggests that ADHD can develop in adults without a history of childhood ADHD.
  • Some adults did not present with noticeable symptoms during childhood, but begin to experience disruptive symptoms later in life. 


To book a consultation with Dr Ragini Bahry today, simply head on over to her Top Doctors profile. 

By Dr Ragini Bahry
Child & adolescent psychiatry

Dr Ragini Bahry is a distinguished consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health throughout her medical career thus far. She specialises in autism, autism spectrum testing, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and OCD. She is currently practising at both the Priory Hospital North London and the Priory Hospital Chelmsford. 

Dr Bahry joined the Priory Group in 2018 as a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London. Prior to this, she served as a community consultant at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust for four years. Both her training and qualification (MRCPsych) as a psychiatrist were completed in 2011.

Following this, Dr Bahry then pursued higher training in child and adolescent psychiatry through the Royal London and Great Ormond Street rotation. This diverse experience exposed her to various mental health conditions affecting children and young people. She is also an expert in relation to Tourette’s syndrome, ASD, sleep disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, and stress, but to mention just a few.

She collaborates closely with highly qualified therapists at Priory Wellbeing Centres, ensuring comprehensive care for young patients. She strives to provide the highest quality of care to the children and families she encounters.

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