1 Year Wait To Get Diagnosed At Vancouver’s BC Adult ADHD Clinic 2

Update: They shut down the BC Adult ADHD clinic and abandoned the patients. No other hospital has opened a similar clinic to deal with the needs of Adults with ADHD.

There’s a one year wait to get diagnosed at the main place that does it in Vancouver, the ADHD clinic at Children’s hospital according to the clinic’s director Dr. Margaret Weiss. This was mentioned at last week’s CHADD Vancouver meeting, where she spoke. She was very informative and entertaining, if you ever get a chance to see her do go. Her dog does seem to have ADD, as others have mentioned, but I got along with it fine. I’ve been trying to get our non profit Vancouver Adult ADD Support group listed on their website for more than a year.

She said she told the BC Government how long the wait was and asked for more funding but was declined. I guess people with ADD don’t count for much in BC.

Is it really acceptable that people with ADD have to wait for a whole year to get diagnosed? We’re 5% of the population (adults, children are about 8%), why are we treated like 2nd class citizens?

I have a list of people who have been known to diagnose and treat ADHD in the Vancouver, BC area that I email out, but many just deal with children and some have long waiting lists and some are probably not even taking people for their waiting list. Some of them are psychologists and if you don’t have extended medical to cover it, you have to pay out of pocket, and it’s not cheap. The ADHD Clinic at Children’s hospital probably does most of the diagnosis of ADD in the lower mainland, if not BC.

Unfortunately you can’t assume most doctors know about ADD.

I’ve heard and read far too many stories (not just Vancouver but across Canada and in the US) of people saying that “my doctor/psychologist/psychiatrist doesn’t have a clue about ADD/denies it exists.” Even if they do know, many don’t accept new patients for ADD testing because the BC government only pays for 15 minutes and you can’t diagnose ADD in 15 minutes. Margaret suggests doing a serial diagnosis to cover that, i.e., 15 min one day, 15 the next etc. It’s a good short-term solution. But the BC government should really pay adequately for people to properly diagnosis ADHD.

Diagnosis is the starting point. How can you deal with a problem when you don’t what it is? It may be ADD, maybe something that looks like ADD, may be ADD and one or more comorbid or coexisting conditions.

I answer the CHADD Vancouver phone lines and hear the stories of people who think they might have ADD and are sometimes going through hell because of it and really need a diagnosis and treatment. Some can’t afford ADHD coaching or a psychologist who knows ADD, and most of the psychiatristc that do know ADD and are taking patients, or a wait list, only do medication not therapy and the ADHD clinic only does diagnosis and getting people with ADD initially stabilized on ADHD meds. If you see someone that doesn’t know about ADD they can do you more harm than good.

Medication is one part of ADD treatment but pills don’t teach skills or develop awareness and change attitudes and behaviors. They are useful, and can help increase the odds of learning those things but they’re not by themselves a complete solution. Sometimes some of these people are on the verge of losing their jobs, their apartments, their marriages, their families.

If I tried helping all of them I’d be out of business. Sometimes I feel like saying to them,

I’m sorry sir/madam, you unfortunately have a condition that’s only popular as a scapegoat to all of society’s perceived ills. The government, the media (many of which have ADD) and society at large don’t really care about people with your condition at all. Some in fact doubt that it exists even though every major medical and psychological association say it is a real condition and there is plenty of evidence of that.

Others with ADD don’t bother getting organized to change things for the better, they know from personal experience it’s a real problem and the suffering others go through, but most of them just say things like “I’m too busy, I’m too overloaded, I’m not organized enough, I can’t make a difference, I’m not an expert, I’m powerless” etc. and expect someone else to do something. Well there is no one else. Unless ADDers and their families and friends get organized and demand services it won’t happen.

There should be adequate resources to help you, but there’s not. My apologies, but you’re screwed.

I don’t actually say that to them, but sometimes I feel like saying it.

Any suggestions other than just press releases that might actually change this condition and reduce the wait list?

Has anyone got their local government/health authority to adequately deliver services for ADD or even moderately adequately? If so how did you do it?

In the next post I’ll cover a site with all the tests medical professionals need to diagnose and treat ADHD in adults and children, it includes ADD medications, their side effects and how to mange those side effects.

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