Michelle Beckett who set up ADHDaction.org talks about ADHD.
30s: Michelle Beckett is an ADHD campaigner, founder and CEO of ADHD Action and LinkedIn’s most connected.
50s: Tell us your story of how you got involved in ADHD Action. It was unplanned! I got an ADHD diagnosis last year at age 44. I always felt there was something different. I had a great business which was about community wed platform volunteering but I had the wrong business partner. I felt like a failure and actually felt suicidal at the end of 2016. Even though I had my boyfriend moving in, 3 amazing daughters and 2 soon-to-be step-daughters, I felt the world would be better without me but I got help from the Crisis team in Harrogate. I realised I got overwhelmed but then it passed quickly which was a key to my ADHD, I was previously misdiagnosed with bipolar because I got so engaged in my work. The Crisis team thought I’d been misdiagnosed so I went to get my diagnosis.
4min 52s: What are the boxes you tick for ADHD? It’s very common so it affects about 5% of children and 3% of adults. It’s common, chronic and it’s a neurodevelopmental condition which affects the way the mind works and how it takes up the neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine and dopamine, differently. Some people present with the hyperactive form which is the classic one where people imagine a a boy misbehaving in class. It affects attention – it says it’s a deficit but it’s more a lack of control. I describe it as having 1000 browser tabs open and your mind flicks through them without permission. If someone with ADHD is really interested in something, you can’t tear them away. A US doctor called Dr Halliwell says it’s like having a Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes and a wonky steering wheel.
6mins 42s: There is also impulsivity so you might interrupt people or do silly things – there are people in prison with ADHD because they can’t control it. There is the emotional aspect so people say that people with ADHD feel more passionately and can’t control their emotions. You mightprocrastinate a lot, be disorganised, have new ideas. But if it is unrecognised, we don’t know the long-term effects on well-being. 79% of people left undiagnosed into adulthood have anxiety and depression.
8min 58s: ADHD sound like it has many advantages! Would you turn it off if you could? Clinicians say it’s impairing like in jobs and relationships but it is stigmatised horrifically and I had to pay privately for my diagnosis. It was worth it though because it has taken away my guilt for things like why can’t I pay my VAT returns on time like everybody else? Low self esteem often accompanies ADHD and I struggle to see if a person is a worthy person.
11mins 40s: What medication do you have? They are amphetamine based, they are calming and nomalise the neurotransmitters to focus. It’s like going from radio techno to classic or the Carpenters. At first I thought my brain was a bit quiet but it was more ordered and I felt more normal and carefree.
14mins 4s: Many people have it and it is genetic but if you support people with ADHD, they can flourish. People like Thomas Eddison who invented the light bulb and Alan Turing who saved us in the war, both had ADHD.
15mins 32s: What is the purpose of your charity? To get rid of the stigma and make it more known. To embrace it and understand it. People say it is over-diagnosed but it is under-diagnosed. Around 25% of prisoners have ADHD. It costs around £45,000 to house a prisoner and if you treat with medication you can reduce re-offending by 32-41%. So we could save about £235 million.
18mins 9s: We have an issue of access to assessment and diagnosis, some parts of the country have no adult ADHD service. In the good parts of the country, there is a 2 year waiting list. In the bas parts, there is a 31 year waiting list.
19mins 2s: The dream is in a few years people will know what ADHD is and we will be picking kids up early and teaching them their strengths. We will give the data research to politicians who are already on board to change it.
21mins 24s: How can people listening help this worthy cause? Donations are always welcome! Learn about ADHD also employers to learn about ADHD for staff who have it and are late and have mental health issues to support their staff.. We have an attentive employer program to support people in the workplace. If you think you can help, then do!
22mins 55s: NICE now have guideline in ADHD? It was only recognised in adults in 2009 and if a child is diagnosed then there can be gaps in between being transferred to the adult department.
23mins 50s: Which celebrities are involved? Rory Bremner. Carrie Grant who has 4 children and 3 have an ADHD diagnosis, Olive Gray an actress and Loyle Carner a rapper.
25mins 38s: What advice do you have? Anyone you know who presents the signs, just think “could it be?” The earlier you are diagnosed, the better. There is Additude Magazine, How to ADHD on YouTube. My website is ADHDaction.org, we are on Facebook and I am on Twitter @MichelleBeckett.