Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Tokyo, Japan

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric developmental disorder, which although frequently diagnosed during childhood, often persists into adulthood. This disorder mainly affects the executive functions, that is, the abilities that allow us to plan, organise and complete tasks.

ADHD has three basic characteristics that globally affects the social, emotional and cognitive development of an affected individual:

  • Inattention: Unable to concentrate for long periods of time, the affected individual is continually distracted and has difficulty completing tasks that require sustained attention.
  • Hyperactivity: The individual is physically active to such an extent that it is difficult to stay in the same position for a long period of time. Individuals with ADHD are always in motion, even if it is only one part of their body, shifting in their seat, shaking their legs, etc.
  • Impulsive behaviour: Characterised by emotional instability and difficulties in controlling one’s behaviour.

Classification and Symptoms

ADHD is classified into three types based upon the symptoms present:
    Predominantly hyperactive / impulsive type
    • Is constantly agitated
    • Is impatient
    • Talks a lot and out of place
    • Is constantly moving
    • Has difficulty staying in one place
    • Interrupts constantly
    • Fidget constantly
    • Does not show self-control
    • Does not think about consequences before acting
    Predominantly inattentive type
    • Gets distracted easily
    • Gets bored and abandons the task frequently
    • Does not pay attention to details
    • Forgets things and lose things
    • Changes activity constantly
    • Has difficulties organizing tasks
    • Day dreams a lot
    • Has difficulty following instructions
    • Has difficulty understanding information
    • Seems not to listen when spoken to
    Combined type
    • Symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity
    It is said it is more common for boys to show hyperactive symptoms, while girls show more symptoms of inattention.
    Assessment of ADHD


    ADHD is often comorbidity with other disorders, hence the importance of a comprehensive assessment:
    • Learning Disabilities:
    About 20–30% of children with ADHD also have a learning disability and or learning difficulties. ADHD is not considered a learning disability in itself, but it very frequently causes academic difficulties.
    • Behavioural Disorders:
    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD), are both common in people with ADHD. These disorders are characterised by antisocial behaviours such as aggression, tantrums, lying and theft.
    • Bipolar Disorder:
    Adults with symptoms of ADHD sometimes have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, as the symptoms of both disorders can be similar.
    • Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Depression:
    These disorders can often co-occur with ADHD and can be missed or undertreated.
    • Substance Use Disorder:
    Adolescents with ADHD and adults with undiagnosed ADHD are at increased risk of substance abuse.

    Assessment of ADHD

    In order to evaluate whether an individual suffers from ADHD, it is necessary to use psychological tests designed to measure the symptoms related to ADHD. The tests focus on measuring the individual’s attentional processes, but it is also necessary to evaluate the individual’s performance in the areas of memory, intelligence, processing speed, self-control or self-regulation, reasoning, and problem solving, among others.

    In addition to the specialised tests used to assess ADHD, it is also necessary for the psychiatrist or psychologist to perform observation evaluations, interviews with parents and teachers, and symptom checks.
    ADHD | What to Do

    Treatment of ADHD

    ADHD treatment can be divided into 2 broad areas: biological treatment and psychological treatment.

    Biological treatment refers mainly to psychiatric medication. Psychiatrists can prescribe and monitor medicines used for ADHD, both stimulants and non-stimulants. However, rules about medication vary by country. In the UK for example, medication is recommended as a first-line treatment for adults, but is only recommended for severe ADHD in children. In contrast, in the United States, medication is recommended for all ages.

    Psychiatrists prescribe ADHD medications when necessary for patients, and also fine-tune the medication type, dose, and preparation for the individual. This approach can reduce or eliminate side effects. While medications do not cure ADHD, they can significantly improve the symptoms for about 80 percent of people with ADHD, helping them function in the daily life.

    Psychologists, counselors, social workers and therapists can help children and parents understand ADHD and develop strategies to reduce the symptoms and improve their daily life of those who suffer from ADHD. Behavioural and cognitive therapies have showed good results in the treatment of inattention for ADHD, and these are usually the first line therapies recommended for those with mild symptoms or for younger children. Other psychological therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, school interventions, social skills training, parent management training and interpersonal psychotherapy.Psychologists need to work closely with teachers and school counselors to plan support and interventions at school if the effects of ADHD on a child’s performance are to be minimised.

    ADHD | What to Do

    If you think you or your child are suffering from symptoms of ADHD, you should seek further assessment from a doctor and discuss what sort of treatment might be helpful.

    Come see us at our Tokyo psychiatry clinic at American Clinic Tokyo in Akasaka for assessment. Dr Andrew Kissane, our UK-trained, British psychiatrist is a native English speaker. He is on the General Medical Council’s specialist medical register in the UK, is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and holds a Japanese medical license.

    If you wish to have a complete evaluation and assessment for ADHD, please email us requesting our psychological testing service at our Ginza 1-chome office.

    Psychiatry Clinic at American Clinic Tokyo in Akasaka

    Psychiatry Clinic At American Clinic Tokyo


    American Clinic Tokyo 3rd Floor Niikura Building 1-7-4 Akasaka, Tokyo Easy access from Nambuko line, Ginza line and the Marunouchi line via Tameike-Sanno station – exit 13, 2 minutes walk Parking available nearby

    Office Hours

    • Monday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
    • Thursday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
    • Friday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

    Psychological testing at Tokyo Mental Health offices in Ginza 1-chome

    Psychological Assessment at Tokyo Mental Health Office


    Ginza Yoshida building, 5th floor, Ginza 1-19-9, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Easy access from Asakusa line, Ginza line, Yurakucho line, Hibiya line, and JR Yamanote line:
    • Takaracho station – exit A1, 4 minutes walk
    • Kyobashi station exit 1, 5 minutes walk
    • Ginza 1-chome station, exit 10, 5 minute walk
    • Shintomicho station exit 2, 5 minutes walk
    • Higashi Ginza station exit A7 or exit 3, 6 minutes walk
    • JR Yurakucho station, 10 minute walk
    Parking at Shirauobashi, 3 minute walk

    Office Hours

    • Monday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
    • Tuesday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
    • Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
    • Thursday: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
    • Friday: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
    • Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
    • Sunday: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM