ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
(ADHD OR ADD)
Determining your plan of action
ADHD is a psychiatric condition which may involve difficulties in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The condition begins before age 7 and can persist into adulthood. However, sometimes it is not diagnosed in childhood but is later detected in adulthood in a college setting. An accurate diagnosis requires a thorough evaluation. Academic and organizational difficulties may look like ADHD but instead be related to other causes.
ADHD symptoms are pervasive, meaning they are present much of the time and in a variety of settings - social, academic and work. As an adult, there may be other factors contributing to challenges in these areas. Sometimes other psychiatric conditions or life circumstances can be the cause or can be present along with ADHD. Trying to balance academic demands and social activities, mood or anxiety problems, and stressful life events can contribute to difficulty focusing. The cause of your difficulties needs to be evaluated before determining whether or not they are due to ADHD. The right diagnosis leads to the right treatment.
There are a number of options available both at UCSB and in the community to help you get the right diagnosis and treatment. Some of the options will depend on whether or not you were formally diagnosed and treated as a child. If you have never been evaluated for ADHD and have concerns about possible symptoms of ADHD, there are resources to guide you in the right direction. The goal is for you to become educated about where to seek the assistance and information you need to make an informed choice about assessment and treatment options. If you are diagnosed with ADHD, the treatment options may include medication, education and psychotherapy.
Counseling and Psychological Services: Overwhelmed by ADHD? Find Your Focus group meetings
For more information about academic supports, please see the UCSB Disabled Students Program Website
Campus Learning and Assistance Services: Academic Skills Workshops
For more information on ADHD Medication Use and Abuse see:
UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program: Adderall
Adderall and College Students Article
You may receive a free screening from Student Health social work services as an initial step to obtain information about your symptoms and what options you have for obtaining an evaluation for ADHD and other issues that may be of concern to you. The social worker can also link you with appropriate services on campus and in the community. Call (805) 893-3087 if you have any questions or to schedule a social work services appointment.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is vital to the correct treatment. As you may be aware, there is significant abuse of medication for ADHD, and students sometimes think because it seems to help they may have this condition or it is worth the risk to continue taking medication that has not been prescribed for you. These procedures are now being required for students who are seeking medication treatment for ADHD. We hope this information will deter you from treating your own symptoms with non-prescribed stimulant medication. It is very important to your health and safety that ADHD and related conditions be properly evaluated and treated.