A LAW student has revealed how he was sent a “patronising” letter by his psychiatrist telling him he was too intelligent to have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Matthew Simpson, from Glasgow, shared the “disgusting” note he says he received from a locum doctor to mark World Mental Health Day on Monday.
The University of Dundee student had been struggling to cope while studying and was even forced to repeat his final year due to his “overwhelming” symptoms.
However, he says doctors refused to believe him, citing his success at university as proof he did not have the disorder and even suggested he might be using his illness as a “safety net” to ensure a good grade.
The letter, which was sent in January, reads: “There is no evidence from your referral of ADHD, and the fact he insists on a referral, presumably against your better judgement, might say something about his personality, but does not suggest ADHD.
“If he has managed to get to the third year of a law degree, then presumably he does not have significant cognitive impairment, and it’s not of course, the duty of the local mental health services to help him get a 2:1 degree in law.
“The best advice, in this respect, is that he works hard. I do not want to offer him an appointment and a diagnosis, simply as a safety net, just because he might not do as well as he expects in his exams.
“Presumably, he has not medical training and is not an expert in psychiatry, and, therefore, will need to accept your expertise.”
The 24-year-old has since been given an ADHD diagnosis, but has had to pay thousands to obtain treatment privately.
Matthew shared his story on Twitter along with a photo of the letter and said: “After years of operating in a constant state of overwhelm, exhaustion and anxiety, I went to my GP in January to seek a referral to NHS psychiatry because I had come to believe that I was suffering with undiagnosed ADHD. A week later I received this letter.”
The letter has been widely re-shared and heavily slammed by those in the medical community.
Dr Sarah Bennison said: “The patronising tone in that letter is disgusting.
“While I was referred for ADHD assessment with relative ease the other year, I know a fellow academic who was recently told something similar to yourself.
“These views of ADHD are absurd and like you say, dangerous.”
The letter received Matthew stating he will not be getting seen to check for ADHD. (C) Matthew Simpson
Psychologist Dr Susan Phoenix added: “Such arrogant ignorance should embarrass this member of the so-called ‘caring professions’ that it obviously is not.”
@anxious_doctor said: “What an idiot. This makes me so angry. I had been a qualified doctor for 9 years before I was diagnosed with autism, and I strongly suspect co-morbid ADHD. High IQ is associated with higher psychiatric co-morbidity.”
And Dr Jamie Wallis wrote: “Awful letter. Aggressive, judgmental, dismissive. Made all the worse by the fact you were deliberately copied into it as well. Sorry you received it.”
MSP Daniel Johnson, who was diagnosed with ADHD at 35, also criticised the letter and expressed a desire to investigate.
Speaking today, Matthew said: “I’m in talks with the Royal College of Psychiatrists after they got in touch with me about this.
“There is no official complaints procedure, so I’m going to have to go through the NHS health board and the practice.”
A spokesman for Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment on individual cases.
“I would invite Mr Simpson to contact our Complaints and Feedback Team so that we can discuss his concerns.”
A spokesman for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “We’ve been successful in working with health boards and the Scottish Government on ensuring the needs of adults with ADHD are met through promoting safe, person-centred and effective care.
“The College was also heavily involved in responding to the Strang Review on the overuse of locums and risks attached at NHS Tayside.
“Focus must be placed on the recruitment and retention of consultant psychiatrists. We must move away from overdependence on locums.”