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In a crisis?

For urgent medical attention, for example, if you’re worried about acting on thoughts of suicide, or you’ve seriously harmed yourself, you can call 999 or go straight to A&E.


What is ADHD?

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is the most common behavioural disorder in young people. Its symptoms existing on a spectrum from mild to severe. It typically begins around 18 months old, with symptoms usually becoming noticeable between the ages of 3 and 7 years old.

If you have ADHD, you may have a lot of energy and often find it difficult to concentrate – symptoms are associated with inattentiveness (difficulty paying attention), hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It can also be difficult to control your speech and actions. Common symptoms of ADHD include:


  • being easily distracted;
  • difficulty following directions or finishing tasks;
  • difficulty listening;
  • not paying attention and making careless mistakes;
  • forgetting about daily activities;
  • having problems organising daily tasks;
  • disliking doing things that require sitting still;
  • losing things frequently;
  • tending to daydream often.


  • squirming, fidgeting, or bouncing when sitting;
  • difficulty staying seated;
  • difficulty playing quietly;
  • restless and always moving, such as running or climbing on things;
  • talking excessively;
  • always being ‘on the go’ as if ‘driven by a motor’.


  • having trouble waiting for your turn;
  • blurting out answers;
  • interrupting others.


How can I help myself?

Although there’s no cure for ADHD, it can be managed with appropriate educational support, advice and support for those affected and their parents/carers, alongside medication, if necessary.

Methods to help with ADHD include:

  • psychoeducation – discover, demystify (make a difficult subject easier to understand), encourage hope, educate, empathise, recognise, be sensitive, motivate;
  • relaxation strategies – breathing techniques, mindfulness, traffic light systems;
  • behavioural modification – teaches ways to replace bad behaviours with good ones;
  • social skills training – teaches behaviours such as turn-taking and sharing;
  • anger management techniques – such as learning about what anger is, learning about ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms, the anger thermometer, anger diary and ABC charts;
  • psychotherapy – can help someone with ADHD learn better ways to handle their emotions and frustration. It can also help improve their self-esteem;
  • support groups – meeting people with similar problems and needs can help with acceptance and support. Groups also can provide a way to learn more about ADHD.


If you’re worried about your child’s development, or their school has raised concerns

The first step is to speak to your GP or health visitor who, if appropriate, can make a referral to your local Child Development Team or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.


Useful contacts – in a crisis

Dorset Mind isn’t a crisis service and we’re unable to help someone who may be in serious mental distress. Please use the following options if you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

Urgent medical attentionIf you or someone else is in serious risk of death or injury, call 999.

Other crisis situations:

  • Call your GP or other allocated health professional, such as your Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) or Mental Health Crisis Team)
  • Call NHS 111 (out-of-hours)

Someone to talk toIf you’re desperate to talk to someone, the Samaritans can help – call 116 123 for emotional support and a listening ear 24/7. This is a freephone number. It can be called from a mobile that has no credit and the call won’t appear on the phone bill.


Useful contacts – who else can help?

ADHD Foundation

Works in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies to improving emotional well-being, educational attainment, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of ADHD, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and other learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Irlen’s Syndrome, dyscalculia and Tourette’s Syndrome.

National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS)

Provides people-friendly information and resources about ADHD to anyone who needs assistance – parents, people with ADHD, teachers and health professionals.

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