More and more Canadian adults are seeking to be diagnosed with ADHD

The number of adults seeking a diagnosis and treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADHD) appears to have increased dramatically, clinicians and ADHD advocacy organizations have found.

This is particularly the case of Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, who has observed a 25% increase in the number of adults who have presented to his clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, for a diagnosis since the start of the pandemic.

Not all of them met the diagnostic criteria, however, but had a normal amount of attention difficulties. An understandable situation given all the upheavals linked to the pandemic over the past two years. With routines and schedules collapsing, undiagnosed ADHD in many people has come into focus, Dr Parhar told The Globe and Mail.

“COVID has brought it into more light,” he said. People who have done well in a structured environment, whether it’s a classroom or an office, are suddenly given all that unstructured time.”

There is also a greater awareness of ADHD and its nuances than in previous generations.

Wayne O’Brien runs a support group in Toronto for adults with ADHD. Before the pandemic, the group had around 100 active members, who met twice a month. Meetings have gone virtual and the number of active members has tripled, according to O’Brien. Many newcomers have not yet been diagnosed, but are convinced they have the disease.

ADHD is the most common mental health disorder in children. Affecting nearly 5% of people of all ages, however, it is estimated that 90% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed.

There are strict diagnostic criteria for ADHD, Dr. Parhar mentioned. Although it is based on a psychological assessment, it must above all cause dysfunction. If you’re not struggling with work, family, or personal relationships, you probably don’t have ADHD, he claimed.

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