A national shortage of medication for ADHD patients in the UK has resulted in many individuals being unable to access their necessary prescriptions. The shortage is anticipated to last until December and is impacting three different medicines. The Department for Health and Social Care attributes the shortage to increased global demand and manufacturing issues. This comes at a time when there is a growing awareness of the condition and a rise in demand for diagnosis and treatment. The shortage is causing significant difficulties for individuals managing their symptoms, including difficulty concentrating and focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
One individual affected by the shortage is Tom, a 25-year-old from Plymouth. He has been unable to obtain his medication and is finding it challenging to focus on his new job. The shortage has not only impacted his work but also his home life, making it difficult to manage daily tasks and routines. Tom has been using his own coping strategies, such as making lists and structuring his activities, but finds it much harder without medication. Similarly, Ellie, a 26-year-old from Manchester, has chosen to ration her medication due to the shortage, despite medical advice against doing so. She struggles to determine when to take her medication, as she worries about how long her current supply will last. The days when she does not take medication are noticeably different, leaving her feeling sluggish and lacking energy. She is concerned about the potential loss of the positive effects of medication on her mental health.
Emily, a 22-year-old from Hertfordshire, has also been impacted by the shortage. She has requested a prescription refill but has yet to receive a response, leaving her uncertain about when she will be able to obtain her medication. The thought of going back to her previous life without medication is overwhelming and frightening for her, as it has significantly improved her mental well-being. Dr. Saadia Arshad, a consultant psychiatrist specializing in ADHD, acknowledges that medication shortages are not a new issue but a recurring one. Abruptly stopping medication can result in withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness and difficulty paying attention. Dr. Arshad advises against taking matters into one’s own hands and emphasizes the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional before making any changes.
For those seeking alternative ways to manage their symptoms, ADHD coach Leanne Maskell suggests exploring resources available through ADHD UK, mental health charity Mind, and the NHS. The Department for Health and Social Care assures the public that they are working closely with manufacturers to promptly resolve the supply issues and ensure continuous access to ADHD medication in the UK. BBC Newsbeat has reached out to the NHS in Scotland and Wales for their comments on the matter.