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Why an influx of Canadian adults are seeking ADHD diagnosis and treatment, according to experts – The Globe and Mail



Adult ADHD advocate and podcaster André Brisson at his home near Ingersoll, Ont., on June 2.Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

Looking back, Pippa Boyd can see the telltale signs – like frequently getting in trouble in grade school for moving around too much, and needing an organizational system that relied heavily on cue cards to make it through nursing school – but only recently has she started to think she has ADHD.

“In highly adrenalized situations my focus is spot on, but in daily life it’s a struggle,” says the 54-year-old from Toronto.

That struggle has only gotten worse in the past two years, And it’s one many others are also experiencing.

Clinicians and ADHD advocacy organizations say they are seeing a large influx of adults seeking an ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Gurdeep Parhar says the number of adults coming to his Burnaby, B.C., clinic seeking an ADHD diagnosis is up 25 per cent since the pandemic began. Not all of them will meet the diagnostic criteria, dealing instead with a normal amount of difficulty paying attention, an understandable situation considering all the ways life has changed in the past two years. But with the pandemic’s collapse of routines and schedules – whether it’s no longer going into the office, making it to the gym or attending social functions – many people’s previously undiagnosed ADHD has been brought to the fore, Dr. Parhar says.

“COVID has brought it more to light,” he says. “People who did well in a structured environment, whether it was a classroom or an office, are all of a sudden given all of this unstructured time.”

Adults have ADHD. We should have accessible care, too

There is also a wider awareness of ADHD and its nuances than in earlier generations. This is leading some adults to consider it as a reason for why they are struggling, rather than dismissing it as a diagnosis only found in children, says Heidi Bernhardt, director of education and advocacy at the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada, a non-profit organization based in Toronto.

Wayne O’Brien runs a support group in Toronto for adults with ADHD. Prior to the pandemic, the group had approximately 100 active members, who would meet twice a month at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The meetings have gone virtual and the number of active members has tripled, Mr. O’Brien says. Many newcomers have yet to be diagnosed, but are sure they suffer from the disorder, he says.

When it was first identified in the 1960s, ADHD was known as “hyperkinetic reaction of childhood.” Thanks to a better understanding of the condition, including identifying inattentiveness as a symptom, it was finally named ADHD in 1987, when the American Psychology Association released the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

ADHD is the most common mental-health disorder identified in children, affecting nearly 5 per cent of people of all ages, but an estimated 90 per cent of adults who have ADHD are undiagnosed, Ms. Bernhardt says.

Typically, it is hyperactive boys disrupting classrooms who are singled out for assessment, she says. “Those are the kids who would be picked up because they’re highly annoying to adults.”

People who struggle more with attention than hyperactivity are more likely to slip through the cracks. This is true especially of girls – boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’ve been finding a lot of women are coming during the pandemic,” says Dr. Doron Almagor, a Toronto-based psychiatrist and former chair of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the understanding of ADHD among health care professionals.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and therefore something people are born with, Dr. Almagor says. The pandemic hasn’t caused any adult to develop ADHD. It’s instead brought their ADHD more starkly into focus. “The pandemic may have tipped the balance in their functioning,” he says.

The move to working from home has likely been the biggest such balance-shift for many, Ms. Bernhardt says.

“If you’re in a good job that works to your strengths, if you have a spouse who does all the organizing, if you have good scheduling you thrive,” she says. But when “all that scaffolding disappears,” a person’s ADHD symptoms can quickly become exacerbated. “That’s what’s happened in the pandemic.”

André Brisson, who was diagnosed with ADHD shortly before the pandemic, has struggled with the transition to working from home.

Before COVID-19, he’d often be driving to Toronto from his home in Ingersoll, Ont., to meet with clients. “Constant movement is important for me,” says the 47-year-old, who runs a structural engineering company. “I get bored easily, and when I get bored my impulsivity takes over.”

Working from home has not only meant having to fight boredom, but also structuring and organizing his professional life away from an office, something that is still a challenge.

“I just created my little ADHD office in the last few months. It’s completely separated from everyone else, I’ve got nothing on the walls, it’s got no distractions,” he says.

The pandemic may have also caused some people to wrongly suspect they have the disorder, Dr. Almagor says.

“People are stressed out and might be expecting too much of themselves. There are limits to productivity and focus,” he says.

There is a strict diagnostic criteria for ADHD Dr. Parhar says. While it is based on a psychological assessment, importantly, it must cause dysfunction. If you’re not struggling with work, family or personal relationships, then you probably don’t have ADHD, he says.

As for Ms. Boyd, she will be meeting with a specialist later this summer after her family physician initially dismissed ADHD. She made it through nursing school and therefore couldn’t have the disorder, he told her.

But she has found things harder than ever during the pandemic.

“Keeping on top of e-mails, my phone, it’s hard. I’m really struggling with my organizational stuff right now,” she says.

She is meditating daily, making lists of everything she needs to do and relying on alarms on her Google calendar to try and stay focused. All the research she has done on her own has convinced her she has ADHD and it puts all her earlier challenges in a new light.

“It’s just a real eye opener,” she says.

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DeMille Anticipates Broader Rollout Of 4th Dose Vaccination – Country 105



The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is getting ready for the annual flu shot campaign, as well as a broader ask for arms to get the fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province expanded the second booster dose eligibility on April 7th to those who are 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.

“At this time, I’m not hearing any indication of the province opening up (eligibility) to the broader population, and I’m not sure really we would have evidence that would be needed at this time,” DeMille told Acadia News Monday. “We are much lower in terms of the amount of COVID-19 (cases) in the province of Ontario. With the summertime, we see overall less spread (of the virus).”

DeMille did mention that the District anticipates the call will get broader in the fall.

As of June 21st, 133,334 people within the TBDHU have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80,719 have received three doses.

Officials have given fourth doses to 18,687 individuals as of the last update.

DeMille was also asked about a return to school in September, and what that might look like after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told Federal MPs on June 8th that there is a real threat of the seventh wave of COVID-19.

The Medical Officer says it’s hard to look into the crystal ball and pinpoint what will happen based on the fact that right now a majority of the new infections are the Omicron variant.

“The schools overall did fairly well,” DeMille stated. “We know that a lot of people did get infected, which can cause a lot of disruption because people still need to isolate so that they are not spreading (the virus) to others. Likely a lot of spread happened in the schools when we re-opened in January and through the last few waves.”

DeMille noted that the schools took a lot of measures that helped in previous waves, including improving ventilation.

“I anticipate that (masking) will always be optional, but when the Omicron variant is spreading, it’s always helpful when people are masking in indoor spaces when they are interacting with others,” said DeMille. “(Down the road) we might recommend that people wear masks in schools, but that advice will really depend on what we see circulating, how much it is circulating and what the impact is on schools.”

DeMille mentioned whether it is the school, the workplace, or any other indoor space, the goal is to return to as normal as possible in an eventual post-pandemic world.

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, says WHO – Global News



Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said.

The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the U.N. agency has stepped back from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after advice from a meeting of international experts.

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There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported in the last six weeks from 48 countries where it does not usually spread, according to WHO.

So far this year almost 1,500 cases and 70 deaths in central Africa, where the disease is more common, have also been reported, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Monkeypox, a viral illness causing flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading largely in men who have sex with men outside the countries where it is endemic.

It has two clades – the West African strain, which is believed to have a fatality rate of around 1% and which is the strain spreading in Europe and elsewhere, and the Congo Basin strain, which has a fatality rate closer to 10%, according to WHO.

Click to play video: 'More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll'

More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll

More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll – Jun 17, 2022

There are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, although they are in limited supply.

The WHO decision is likely to be met with some criticism from global health experts, who said ahead of the meeting that the outbreak met the criteria to be called an emergency.

However, others pointed out that the WHO is in a difficult position after COVID-19. Its January 2020 declaration that the new coronavirus represented a public health emergency was largely ignored by many governments until around six weeks later, when the agency used the word “pandemic” and countries took action.

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; additional reporting by Mrinmay Dey; Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2022 Reuters

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Kingston, Ont., area health officials examining future of local vaccination efforts – Global News



More than 455,000 people in the Kingston region have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now health officials say they’re using the summer months, with low infection rates, to look ahead to what fall might bring, urging those who are still eligible to get vaccinated do so.

Read more:

Kingston Health Sciences Centre to decommission COVID-19 field site

“Large, mass immunization clinics, mobile clinics, drive-thru clinics and small primary care clinics doing their own vaccine,” said Brian Larkin with KFL&A Public Health.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Gerald Evans says those who are still eligible for a third and fourth dose should take advantage and roll up their sleeves during the low-infection summer months.

“Now in 2022, although you still might get COVID, you’re probably not going to be very sick. You are less likely to transmit and ultimately that’s one of the ways we’re going to control the pandemic,” added Evans.

He expects another wave of COVID-19 to hit in late October to early November and that a booster may be made available for those younger than 60 who still aren’t eligible for a fourth dose.

Read more:

Kingston, Ont. COVID assessment centre cuts hours for the summer

“The best case scenario is a few more years of watching rises in cases, getting boosters to control things and ultimately getting out of it with this being just another coronavirus that just tends to cause a respiratory infection and worst-case scenario is a new variant where all the potential possibilities exist to have a big surge in cases and hopefully not a lot more serious illness,” said Evans.

Public Health says they’re still waiting for direction from the province on what’s to come this fall.

“We’re expecting that we would see more age groups and younger age groups be eligible for more doses or boosters but about when those ages start, we have yet to have that confirmed,” said Larkin.

The last 18 months of vaccines paving the way for the new normal could mean a yearly COVID booster alongside the annual flu shot.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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