talkhealth meets... Sarah Templeton
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, affects around 2.6 million people in the UK. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 3 to 7, however a large proportion of people - particularly females - are told they have ADHD later in life.
We asked the author and founder of Headstuff ADHD Therapy to answer seven quick-fire questions:
What’s your story?
I was 51 years-old when I went to a counsellor who had ADHD and two had ADHD sons. In the third session, she suggested that I might also have the condition. I went home and googled it and was then diagnosed. I believe I only got this diagnosis because the counsellor knew the condition so well. Then, I started raising awareness myself.
Why is ADHD often diagnosed late?
Up until 2009, they didn’t diagnose adults with ADHD. It was believed that the condition was a behavioural disorder that you outgrew in your teens. That’s why so many adults with the condition have been missed.
Why are women diagnosed with ADHD later than men?
The reason why it gets picked up later in women is because females are able to regulate their emotions more than men. When men get angry, they tend to get physical so they get noticed as ‘different’ earlier than women. That’s because women don’t have testosterone and thus the same levels of anger. It’s proven that ADHD is a hormone-related condition so women are better at masking than men are.
Is the support for young people with ADHD available at school?
No, support in schools is just as poor as it was when I was growing up in the 1970s. I hear 100s of stories of schools that are missing or ignoring it. In fact, I was in a school this week working with teachers on their ADHD knowledge as this is not included in their training.
I am currently working with a team to put together an ADHD act as we want this changed at parliament level. This is because, at the moment, the most training teachers get is three hours in three years.
Why do you think people with ADHD need to be treated by people with the condition?
I firmly believe, to work with someone with an ADHD brain, you need an ADHD brain yourself. There are so many ways our brains work differently that it's no good having someone without it trying to help. For example, we have something called rejection sensitive dysphoria and if someone doesn’t understand what it is like living with that, they shouldn’t be working with clients, in my view.
What are your top tips for managing ADHD?
My top tip is always medication. People with ADHD have something missing in their brains, so as soon as you put back what is missing nearly all of your issues can be dealt with.
There are other things that help too:
Exercise: Moving everyday for at least an hour gives people with ADHD the adrenaline which they are lacking in. It is a brilliant way to self-medicate.
Meditation and mindfulness: Anything to calm the brain down is good. ADHD people usually find it very hard to do, but if you are able to find someone to do it with who understands your behaviours, it might be easier.
What are the key signs of ADHD?
Addiction: Anyone who is struggling with addiction may have ADHD. It can be the obvious ones likes gambling or alcohol, and it can manifest itself in shopping, compulsive spending or eating.
People who can’t stop: Leading on from the last one, if you describe someone as a ’something-aholic’, this may be a red flag. They might be obsessed with exercise or working.
Restlessness: Keep an eye out for if your friend or family member is constantly changing their minds. It might be changing jobs, cars, homes, relationships but these are all signs of wanting more, which is an indicator of ADHD.
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 18 November 2022
Next review: 18 November 2025