book now

We are currently not taking on any new patient assessments. Existing patients can continue to request repeat prescriptions and book follow-up appointments. Currently our telephone lines are not open, we request that all existing patient enquires are sent to our admin team at Enquiries will be responded to on Monday-Friday between 9am-6pm

April Newsletter: Ask the Expert!

ADHD is typically observed and diagnosed in boys more as they tend to present with more ‘externalised’ behaviours, which could be more disruptive in a classroom setting. Therefore, I highlighted more.

Girls with ADHD tend to have more ‘internalised’ difficulties, and their hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to be more around chatting with friends or friendship difficulties, which may be harder for parents and teachers to recognise.

There has been an increase in both boys and girls seeking an ADHD diagnosis as there has been increasingly more awareness of this disorder in general and on social media. This can lead to some young people feeling they have an ADHD diagnosis. Still, their attention, hyperactivity-impulsivity difficulties may be related to different disorders such as anxiety, learning difficulties, autism, or depression.

You can do many things to help your attention and fidgetiness, whether you have ADHD or not. These include having a good routine, using aids to remember things and remind you, getting a good night’s sleep, eating well, and getting lots of exercise.

Lifestyle changes

Several things could help improve attention even without an ADHD diagnosis. These include

  • Making lists and having reminders.
  • Preparing things in advance, such as packing your bag and laying out your clothes the night before.
  • Try to keep things organised so you know where things are.
  • Keep to routines, so you know what you will need and when.
  • Avoid using your phone or playing on computers for long periods – these activities cause a lot of dopamine release in your brain, which, although feels great at the time, tends to make you want to spend longer and longer on these devices. Your brain then struggles to focus on less stimulating things making work, reading, or activities that require a lot of attention harder to do.

Please see the link for a podcast that may be useful to explore this further.


When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain struggles to process information, reaction times increase, you respond poorly to environmental signals, and you can be more confused. It’s harder for you to remember things, and you often have to keep re-reading information to understand and process it. Research has shown that increasing the amount of sleep (to 8hrs) can increase your grades in exams and tests to roughly a 20% improvement. Therefore, implementing a good sleep routine is important to ensure you get as much quality sleep as possible.



Eating a balanced diet is important in ensuring good brain health and helping with focus. Skipping meals and being hungry will impact our brain’s ability to focus on work as it will be trying to determine where the next meal is coming from. The brain also likes a steady supply of nutrition. Our brains need about 400-500kcal a day to function well, so restricting diets will impact cognitive ability.

Brain-boosting foods include green leafy vegetables, fatty fish like salmon, berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.), walnuts, and caffeine.


The higher your physical fitness is, the better your brain is greater the improvement in attention and concentration, working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, and processing speed.


Mindfulness is an innate human capacity to deliberately pay full attention to where we are and our experiences and learn from them. Jack Komfield (2005)


Mindfulness can be beneficial for improving attention in both ADHD and non-ADHD people. Due to many of our current lifestyle choices (phone use, social media, immediate access to information), our brains are learning not to have sustained attention. Mindfulness is a way to improve concentration by practicing this type of focus.


Several studies have demonstrated that caffeine increases both selective and sustained attention. Caution must be used as too much caffeine could cause difficulty with sleep and ‘jitteriness.’

Hayley Ponsford

Hayley Ponsford

Dr Ponsford is a Child and Adolescent Consultant Psychiatrist who graduated from Liverpool Medical School in 2005.
Following this she completed her psychiatry training in South West London & St George’s Trust and South London & Maudsley gaining experience in National Specialist Anxiety and Depression teams, Eating Disorders, Neuropsychiatry and General Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This rich training experience enables Dr Ponsford to work with both highly complex cases as well as general presentations with children from 6-years old up to 18-years old.

Dr Ponsford has worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the past 7 years in both in-patient and out-patient settings focusing on Eating Disorders and General Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Neurodevelopmental conditions.

Dr Ponsford works as an Honorary Consultant in South London and Maudsley Trust where she is the Principal Investigator for drug trial looking at a new anti-depressant medication to be used in adolescents

View Author Page

Speak with an experienced medical secretary

Book an assessment and attend your appointment from the comfort of your home.


Latest posts:

Child Autism Test

Share this post:

Do you need support managing the mental health symptoms dominating your life?

Get in touch today to have a no-obligation call with one of our medical secretaries.