I am a 23-year-old CA student. All my life, I have struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), even though I have only been diagnosed recently. The symptoms go back to my earliest years and I don’t remember not having it. As ADHD is not taken seriously in Nepal and its medications are banned, I have had to struggle with depression and anxiety for most of my life. I have been taking counseling sessions but haven’t felt better. Any help would be greatly appreciated. -A hopeful neurodivergent student
Answer by Dr Rishav Koirala, Psychiatrist at Grande Hospital
This is a growing concern. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that may include persistent problems like struggling to pay attention, being hyperactive, and being impulsive. It starts from childhood and a huge percentage may also later have Adult ADHD.
Yes, it is a new concept in Nepal. Only recently is childhood ADHD slowly being addressed. This is not enough. But Adult ADHD is still not something many people are aware of. We don't have a cultural expression of Adult ADHD apart from seeing it as bad behavior, hence we don’t notice and hence do not care if somebody is suffering from ADHD, thus worsening things for the sufferers. On average, about four or five percent of the total population suffers from ADHD.
As ADHD is not recognized here, there are almost no medications available for someone who needs it. The Department of Drug Administration is still to approve medicines for the condition. There is a shortage of skilled professionals to diagnose and treat Adult ADHD as well.
However, just like you, a growing number of young people struggling with ADHD have been able to recognize it and are becoming aware that they need help. Some have been bringing medicines from different countries, but that is not possible for all. (I wonder if that is an option for you.)
Though psychotherapy can help in ADHD, pharmacological treatment is the gold standard. The best option, for now, would be to visit a psychiatrist and tell them about what you struggle with, and even if they don’t have any experience with it in the past, you will get some kind of help. Since ADHD is associated with anxiety and depression, a professional can help you with those too.
But this is also a larger social issue. On a community level, there is a need for greater awareness of ADHD and its prevalence in children, which can often continue into adulthood. Mass awareness will also make the concerned authorities think of making ADHD treatment and medication available in our own country.