ADHD-Europe is an European umbrella organisation which represents self-support patient ADHD advocacy NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations comprising of charities, family support groups, and other grass roots organisations) within Europe. Moreover it connects and works with research consortia consisting of scientists, academia and universities; and experienced professionals around Europe.
ADHD-Europe has a vision for a truly inclusive European community, where people affected by ADHD are understood, accepted, and valued as contributing members of a diverse European community. Our core values and visions are that everyone with ADHD and their families should:
- be given and treated with the respect for difference and without discrimination
- be accepted as part of human diversity and humanity
- have the right to a full and effective participation in society
- have equality of opportunity for treatment, education and employment
Our objectives are to promote evidence-based treatment, information and ADHD Awareness at European level, support the efforts of its members who provide support for children, adolescents, adults, parents and families as well as for their teachers, employers and other professionals who work with them across Europe. This includes: access to education; medical help and employment; as well as support in adulthood if needed ~ working together towards interventions for children, adolescents and adults living with ADHD, their families, professionals and decision makers.
The purpose of ADHD-Europe is to advance the rights and dignity, and advocate for all those living with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and co-morbid conditions) at various levels throughout Europe from working with the EU parliament to supporting efforts by their member organisations across Europe by serving as a supportive ADHD platform:
- Representing the voices and concerns of people with ADHD by collectively providing members advice, support, guidance. Facilitating the exchange of best practices or information, real-life experiences as well as meta-analytic reviews of a better understanding of ADHD and its treatment.
- Encouraging and contributing to ADHD research in collaboration with our supportive partners, scientists, academics and research consortia
- Contributing to policy and legislation, and practical initiatives. Representing and lobbying at the European Union’s institutions on behalf of the European community for its members on the topic of ADHD with a view to affecting policy and improving existing legislation on issues connected to ADHD and liaise with other non-governmental organisations sharing similar objectives.
- Disseminating information and offering support to those who live or are in contact with persons who have ADHD
- Committing together to combat ignorance, stigma, injustice and intolerance that people with ADHD face in their daily life.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a neurodevelopmental disorder which can effect someone’s ability to focus, study, work, and socialise. Its symptoms usually begin at an early age and often continue into adulthood. There is no link what so ever between intelligence and ADHD, but it can have a major effect on everyday life, creating daily challenges for individuals and families.
What are the symptoms?
– Inattention (Attention Deficit Disorder)
Inattention is where someone is easily distracted, and struggle to focus on the task at hand. Their mind will wander easily, they can have issues listening, and sometimes forget what they were about to say. An inability to organise work, study, and life is common in people with ADHD, with a big impact on their lives often surfacing when working on tasks requiring great attention or at the start of school.
Hyperactivity is where someone is often restless, having a hard time sitting still, relaxing, watching a movie or listening to a lecture. Hyperactive people will often talk non-stop and loudly on subjects that interest them. They will be constantly active with a project or idea to be worked on, sometimes many projects at once! Fidgeting is often prominent at an early age, and can evolve into an inner restlessness for teenagers and adults.
Impulsivity can cause people to be impatient, butting in to conversations or games, and be prone to impulsive purchases. They can easily get into trouble, not thinking about the consequences of their actions and struggling to understand them after the fact. This can result in difficulties in school for younger children, and for adults in keeping relationships and jobs. Impulsive decisions can lead to poor financial decisions, putting people into debt.
In addition to these symptoms, many adults with ADHD can suffer from mood swings, excitability, sensitivity to stress, and difficulties with organisation.
It is important to recognise that not everyone with ADHD will experience all of these symptoms, or will experience them to different degrees, depending on each person and their age.
What causes ADHD?
Researchers have shown that ADHD is a genetic condition, inherited by children from their parents. Often, but not always, more than one person in the same family will have ADHD. A bad childhood does not cause ADHD! The most prominent factors causing ADHD are:
- Heredity (60-80% of cases)
- A shock during pregnancy
- Premature delivery
- Brain damage during the first year
- Disease or accidents
- Other developmental disorders
The causes of ADHD are biological and result in disruption to the flow of neurotransmitters in areas of the brain important to controlling behaviour and attention.
Different types of ADHD:
ADHD can roughly be categorised into three types:
- Inattentive ADHD
- Hyperactive ADHD
- Inattentive and Hyperactive ADHD
Access to Diagnosis and Treatment in Europe survey
ADHD-Europe has recently published the Access to Diagnosis and Treatment in Europe survey which highlights that despite positive developments, the ideal situation in which an individual with ADHD can access the same standard of care and medication wherever they are in the EU, is still very far from reality.
There is an increased awareness of ADHD in adults and the lifelong effects of ADHD in specialists. Unfortunately, there remain circumstances that are in dire need of improvement: Continued long waiting lists for children to access diagnostic services in most member countries; (contrary to the early intervention advice of the NICE ‘gold’ standard).
There is continued inadequate provision of health services for adults in many countries (while research shows that untreated ADHD can lead to increased risk self-medication or drug addiction, unemployment, increased traffic accidents, etc) and lack of family clinics where child AND parent can be treated simultaneously (as ADHD is a heritable trait).
Some members report increased medication side-effects for minors using generics, others report positive effects. This urgently warrants unbiased research, including research into comparative medication efficacy and treatment adherence with branded and generic medication. National medicine procurement systems may take mainly price into consideration whilst lacking specialist and patient feedback mechanisms (except for extreme physical side-effects). In addition, ‘out of stock’ situations jeopardise especially youths during examination times.
National and regional discrepancies exist (especially in rural areas of large countries, island (countries) and Eastern European countries) which are often due to inadequate national funding for mental health services. Continued cultural “stigma” about ADHD amongst specialists, in the media and the general public. Some member countries even mention that dominant professionals apply a psychoanalytic approach only instead of a multi-modal treatment approach for children and adults with ADHD. There are different viewpoints on ADHD as a disorder and on its medication in society. Full details of the survey are available here.
ADHD Awareness for Girls & Women
ADHD Europe members have been shining a light on this topic including ‘Why are girls missed out? Executive functioning, High functioning ADHD, Late Diagnosis & Menopause’, a downloadable eBook about burnout and disseminating the Declaration about ADHD in Girls and Women, as issued by ADHD Europe in 2017 in many languages! Join the celebrations with the ADHD and Women project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin.
ADHD Awareness month
The month of October is ADHD Awareness month during which ADHD-Europe continues to collaborate with organisations across the globe continuing to spread ADHD awareness and disseminating information breaking down the walls of stigma for those affected by ADHD.
A number of webinars are being held in 2021:
- “ADHD and the Law” with Dr. Myriam Bea, President and Hans van de Velde, Vice-President of ADHD Europe , both being legal professionals who discussed information about legal issues as well as good practices concerning ADHD. Replay link.
- “How science is helping you, and how you can help science” with Dr Jeanette Mostert of Radboud UMC, Nijmegen, Netherlands who shared scientific information about great ongoing and past projects including the outcomes of CoCA and Eat2beNICE, as well as information on the new PRIMA and TIMESPAN projects. Replay link.
- 20 October – “Spotlight on new insights on health in women with ADHD” with Dr. Sandra Kooij will be returning to Broadcasting ADHD Europe with a public webinar on the results of a survey into the health of women with ADHD. Replay link
- 28th October – “Pathways to care for ADHD” with In this webinar, Dr. Blandine French, researcher at Nottingham University, will talk about the toolbox she designed for professionals in the frontline treatment of ADHD (GPs, coaches, psychologists, etc). This learning tool will help professionals, individuals, and parents to recognise and understand ADHD. This public webinar will also be followed by a Q&A. Registration link