Treatment of ADHD in South Korea
April 12, 2007 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out my options for treatment of adult ADHD in South Korea.

I have ADHD, which is well-controlled with medication. In the next few months, my spouse and I will be going to South Korea to teach English. Before we go, I need to know (1) What the availability of various ADHD drugs will be; and (2) How well-recognized adult ADHD is as a diagnosis in South Korea.

I'll still be working with my current psychiatrist while we're abroad, but in order for him to be in compliance with the guidelines for prescribing controlled substances, I'll also need to find another practitioner who is actually in South Korea and with whom my current doc can partner. At least, that's what we're hoping we'll be able to do. At this point, my spouse and I don't know which city we'll be teaching in, so I'm not looking for a recommendation of a specific doctor right now. (Though if you have one, don't be shy with it.) I'm more concerned about whether the South Korean psychiatric community even recognizes adult ADHD as a diagnosis. (If it's not recognized, I'm going to have some serious problems.)

Also, before I go, I'd like to transition from my (wonderful, but very new and very expensive) FocalinXR onto whatever I'm most likely to be taking in South Korea, which I'm guessing will be some kind of methylphenidate.

Does anyone have any experience with this stuff? Alternately, can anyone tell me how I can figure out which of the various ADHD medications are being marketed in South Korea?

Thanks for your help, all.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Disclaimer: I don't have any personal experience with treatment for adult ADHD.

A quick search reveals that child ADHD is much more often treated then adult ADHD. However, there are a lot of private clinics around that deal with child ADHD, especially around Seoul, which seem to treat adult ADHD on the side as well. Here are some clinics that I found randomly, just so you get a feel. (they're in Korean only, sorry.)

Adult ADHD is recognized -- there's been articles and TV specials on the topic lately, and recognition has been growing. The clinics above that I linked to all mention ADHD medication as one of their methods of treating patients (both children and adults), so medication is available as well.

Korean medicine tends to be strongly influenced by American medicine -- Korea mostly trusts FDA approved medicine, and if it's in the DSM-IV, then Korea believes in it too. You might have to jump through a few hoops to get the specific medicine you want, however.

So yeah -- Adult ADHD is recognized, albeit not as much as child ADHD is, and both not as much as it is in the US. Treatment is probably possible.

I'm not even remotely knowledgeable about anything much more. Your best bet is to find a specialist. The US Embassy in Korea has a convenient list -- scroll down and go to the 'English-speaking specialist' section.

I'm not sure if that helped, but good luck!
posted by suedehead at 7:36 PM on April 12, 2007

I would suggest you call (actually, email might be better) the US embassy in South Korea and find out what sorts of resources are available for the expat community in South Korea. They might be able to direct you to a western doctor or two who can work with your us-based doctor. If the doctor in S. Korea is able to contact your doctor ahead of time, he can probably let your doctor know which medicines are available in South Korea.

Also, I know this is probably a long-shot, but maybe you can call the information line hosted by the manufacturer of the pill you are presently taking and explain your situation and ask what name the medicine is marketed under in S. Korea (if it is marketed there at all).

Good Luck
posted by birdlady at 7:34 AM on April 13, 2007

Or, what suedehead said (sorry didn't read the comment all the way through)
posted by birdlady at 7:35 AM on April 13, 2007

In Canada you can often get several months' worth (at least 3 for sure, maybe 6) of a prescription if your doctor okays it and the pharmacist knows it's because you'll be out of the country. You might want to try to get as much as possible before you go so that you have a cushion.

(I know these drugs are classified more strictly in the US, so I could be totally wrong.)
posted by loiseau at 7:05 AM on April 17, 2007

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