About the Author
Dr Susan Young is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Mental Health, Division of Brain Sciences, at Imperial College London and Director of Forensic Research & Development at West London Mental Health Trust. In 1994 Susan set up the clinical psychology service at the Maudsley Hospital National Adult ADHD service and she has extensive clinical experience in the assessment and psychological treatment of youths and adults with ADHD. Susan participated in the British Association of Psychopharmacology Consensus Meeting (2007) to develop guidelines for management of transition for ADHD adolescents to adult services. She was a member of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) ADHD Clinical Guideline Development Group (2009); her main contributions being to provide expert guidance on psychological treatment of children and adults with ADHD. Susan is President of the UK ADHD Partnership (www.UKADHD.com) and Vice President of the UK Adult ADHD Network (www.UKAAN.org). Susan has published numerous articles in scientific journals and books. She has written and published three psychological intervention programmes and authored three books.
The ADHD in Adolescence modules will be of use to healthcare practitioners working in a variety of services including paediatrics, child & adolescent psychiatry and adult mental health services. It is hoped that these materials will assist general practitioners who are the 'gatekeepers' to health services and who may be the only consistent health care professionals present throughout the transition process. The modules will also assist allied professionals working with young people in areas such as education and occupational services, and the criminal justice system. Service users and their families may also find the resources useful for their own interest and information.
In recent years, our scientific knowledge about ADHD has grown and it is now widely accepted that it is a condition that affects many people across the life-span. However, late adolescence has been identified as a risk period with high attrition from ADHD health services and discontinuation of medication by the age of 21 . This cannot possibly relate to spontaneous remission as studies investigating the life time prevalence of ADHD suggest that around two-thirds of children with ADHD will continue to suffer impairment of symptoms at the age of 25 . Adolescence is, therefore, a risk period for dropout of services. Many of these young people will present later in life in other psychiatric services and/or in the criminal justice system [3, 4].
International guidelines have led practitioners to focus on the needs of young people with persisting or remitting ADHD symptoms in adolescence and the support that they will need in effectively transferring from child to adult services. However, transition is not an administrative healthcare exercise as young people themselves are undergoing a personal transition as they mature both physically and emotionally. During this period, young people become increasingly autonomous as they move from a child to adult role and make important and defining decisions about their future, establish key life goals and beliefs and take responsibility for their behaviour. This is paralleled by role experimentation to form their self-concept and develop their personal and social identity. Transition between services, therefore, needs to be seen in this context and a recognition of the issues that young people may face at this time and in the future is needed to ensure that transition is effective.
This series sets out eight modules on the topic of adolescence and ADHD. Each module focuses on the experience and needs of teenage service-users, and their families, as they undergo a personal journey during an often turbulent period when they transition from childhood to adulthood. The modules focus not only on 'what the science says' in the literature, but also draw on clinical experience of working with young people and their families in the health service, and provide information from their unique perspective. The modules have been reviewed and endorsed by the CPD Certification Service, and include a 'Test your Knowledge' quiz in the Appendix.