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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADD and ADHD are increasingly common issues facing college students today. ADD and ADHD symptoms show up in various situations, such as in the college classroom, and may create difficulties getting work done. Symptoms may also affect relationships with friends and family. While ADD and ADHD symptoms are frequently present prior to 7 years of age and are most commonly diagnosed in children, ADD and ADHD often go undiagnosed until adulthood. This can have a negative effect on an individual's sense of self-worth. For example, those with misunderstood ADD and ADHD symptoms may have taken in negative perceptions of themselves as "lazy," "dumb," or "slow." To complicate matters further, men may be over-diagnosed and women may be under-diagnosed. The hallmark symptoms of ADD and ADHD include:

  • Difficulty focusing attention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity

It is not unusual for university students to experience some symptoms of ADD and ADHD at some time in their college careers. For instance, at some point in their schooling, university students may find that they have difficulty focusing on schoolwork or make impulsive, poorly thought-out decisions; these characteristics alone are not reflective of ADD and ADHD. Rather, symptoms must be present in two or more settings including school, home, and work and interfere significantly with daily functioning. Further, symptoms of depression or anxiety may be mistakenly understood as ADD and ADHD. If you have questions about ADD and ADHD or any other distress you may be experiencing, assistance is available at the Health Services Counseling Department.

Signs of ADD and/or ADHD include:

  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks
  • Being easily distracted or forgetful in daily activities
  • Making careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Lack of follow through in completing homework, chores, or responsibilities at work
  • Losing things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Fidgety or difficulty remaining still
  • Talking excessively or not seeming to listen when spoken to
  • Interrupting others or blurting out answers before questions have been completed

Health Services does not offer comprehensive ADHD screening and testing for students. However, students can visit with a Health Services counselor if they are concerned about ADD and ADHD.  The counselor will refer the student to a community resource for ADD and ADHD testing if they feel testing would be beneficial to the student.  Students will want to contact their insurance companies in advance to discuss coverage.

ADHD Stimulant Medication Protocol for UMD Health Services

UMD Health Services and its medical providers are available to write prescriptions for patients using stimulant medications( Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvanse, Focalin, etc.) for the treatment of ADHD. However, the following conditions must be met before a prescription will be written:

  1. The student requesting stimulant medication must provide records of comprehensive psychological testing for ADHD within the last 5 years. Self report questionnaires or symptom rating tools will not be considered sufficient. If the student has not had psychological testing done or if it has been longer than 5 years since testing was performed, testing must be completed or updated and results sent to UMD Health Services. UMD Health Services will provide a list of clinics in the Duluth area which perform comprehensive psychological testing and we can assist in making appointments for such testing as well as  verifying insurance coverage. Comprehensive testing may also be arranged in the student’s home town or city.
  2. Once testing has been completed, results will need to be reviewed by the medical provider who will be seeing the patient at a scheduled appointment. If the testing strongly suggests or confirms the diagnosis of ADHD, discussion regarding starting or continuing a stimulant medication can be held with the patient including UMD Health Services use of controlled substance contracts for these medications.

Consideration of this protocol will help students avoid a lapse in their treatment if they are currently being treated by their local primary care provider.  If students have never been evaluated for ADHD but suspect they may have symptoms consistent with the condition, an appointment is encouraged with a UMD Health Services Mental Health Therapist to discuss symptoms,  and to create a diagnostic and assessment plan, and refer for psychological testing if appropriate.

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Last modified on 11/03/15 10:31 AM
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