Increasing numbers of young adults need continued support for their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) beyond the age-boundary for children's services. The sparse literature on transition in general suggests patchy provision and huge gaps in transitional care, but also that young people with ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders fair particularly badly. Transition in health care coincides with many other important life-transitions while the difficulties associated with ADHD may make these challenges particularly hard to cope with. Parents or other advocates therefore often need to be involved, which can present problems in adult mental health services given that they tend to be less family oriented than children's services. Importantly, young people need help negotiating the transition from passive recipient of care to active self-management, and in building relationships with the adult team.
In addition to patchy provision of adult ADHD services, transition is currently hampered by poor understanding of ADHD as a long term condition and uncertain knowledge of what services are available among young people and parents as well as the clinicians working with them. Guidelines recommend, and more importantly young people want, access to psycho-social interventions as well as medication. However, available evidence suggests poor quality transitional care and adult services that are highly focused on medication.
Adult ADHD services need to undergo similar development to that experienced by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and community paediatrics over the last few decades. While we debate the relative merits of dedicated or specialist v. generic adult mental health services, for young adults with ADHD the training, experience and availability of professionals are more important than their qualifications or setting.