Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Many students come to Vanderbilt with a prior diagnosis of ADHD. The PCC has professionals available to manage ongoing pharmacologic treatment, psychotherapy, reading and study skills, and assessment for ADHD as needed. We have specific parameters for pharmacologic management of ADHD in order to ensure safe and effective treatment of ADHD for our students. We recognize that students with ADHD may benefit from treatment with stimulant medication(s). There are also students who perceive stimulant medications as a form of performance enhancement and seek access to the medications for that purpose.  The use of a specific algorithm for treatment enables us to create structure regarding access to these medications. We encourage you to review carefully the information below in order to ensure appropriate transition to the university setting. All students seeking pharmacologic management for ADHD at the PCC must have an initial evaluation by one of the PCC medical providers.

  1. If your student is currently receiving stimulant medication for ADHD and plans to have the medical providers at the PCC prescribe you must provide the complete test report documenting the diagnosis of ADHD. This should include educational or psychological testing.
    1. If the testing is not immediately available the PCC will request consent from the student to talk with a parent/guardian of the student to confirm the following:
      1. Developmental history consistent with ADHD
      2. Confirmation that testing has been done and is consistent with ADHD
      3. The PCC will prescribe one month of medication pending receipt of the test report if there are no contraindications.
  2. In addition to the testing you should provide a summary of treatment recommendations from the provider at home who is prescribing the medication(s).
  3. In the absence of psychological or educational testing there are the following options:
    1. If a diagnosis was made by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist or Pediatrician prior to 18 years of age:
      1. You should provide a summary of treatment recommendations from the provider at home who is prescribing the medication(s).
      2. Consent should be provided for PCC provider to talk with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist/ Pediatrician to confirm diagnosis.
      3. Consent should be provided for PCC provider to obtain developmental history from parent/ guardian
    2. If not assessed by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist or Pediatrician, the PCC offers a screening that requires approximately 2 hours of student time and requires completion of rating scales by parents. There is a small charge for this screening. The screening assesses for ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
      1. If there is evidence for anxiety and/or depression your student will be referred to one of our providers for more in depth assessment of the anxiety and/or depression to assess the impact upon attention/ concentration.
      2. When indicated the recommendation will be that the student address the anxiety and/or depression at the PCC prior to consideration of stimulant medication for possible ADHD. This is based upon the recognition that both anxiety and depression may have a significant impact upon attention and concentration.
      3. If the screening is definitive re: ADHD your student will be referred to one of our medical providers for treatment.
      4. If screening is suggestive of ADHD but not definitive then we will proceed with full testing with our assessment psychologist. There is a fee associated with full testing.
      5. Note that if you have financial needs we will review the fee on an individual basis.

* At certain points in the semester, it may take two or three months to get an appointment for a screening evaluation. If you prefer not to wait, we can refer you to an outside provider for evaluation. If you seek evaluation outside of the PCC, please review the Guidelines for ADHD Documentation required by the PCC to verify a diagnosis of ADHD.

Once a decision is made for pharmacologic treatment with stimulant medication, students will receive prescriptions in no more than 30 day amounts. In order to receive a refill the student must return for a medication assessment every 30 days unless more often is indicated. Note that not all students respond to stimulant medication and that for some students other medications for ADHD are more appropriate and effective. In those situations the requirement for complete testing may be waived.

Please click here to view "College Students with ADHD" by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).