- May 27, 2023
ADHD cannot be diagnosed from a brief office visit or just by talking to the person. A person may not always show symptoms of ADHD during an office visit, and the diagnostician should ask for detailed information about the individual’s lifestyle. A diagnosis of ADHD must take into account possible co-occurring conditions.
Co-presentation of ADHD
Individuals who meet the criteria for presentation of ADHD are inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive.
These symptoms can change over time, so adults may have different symptoms than children.
Diagnostic criteria for ADHD include hyperactivity and impulsivity without symptoms. The doctor must determine whether these symptoms are caused by another condition or are influenced by the existing condition.
Impairment refers to how ADHD interferes with a person’s life. Examples include being fired from a job due to ADHD symptoms, experiencing extreme conflict with family issues, experiencing financial hardship due to impulsive spending, failing to pay bills on time, or failing academic exams in college. . If a person has some symptoms of ADHD but does not cause significant impairment, they may not qualify for the diagnosis of ADHD as a clinical disorder.
Who can diagnose ADHD?
For adults, an ADHD diagnostic evaluation must be done by a licensed mental health professional or physician. These professionals include clinical psychologists, physicians (psychiatrists, neurologists, family physicians, or other physicians), or clinical social workers.
The level of education and experience of an adult ADHD specialist is more important to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan than the type of qualification. Professionals are usually willing to share their training and experience with adults with ADHD. Refusal to provide such information in response to informal requests should be viewed with suspicion and may be an indication that the individual should seek another professional.
How do I get an expert professional who can diagnose ADHD?
Ask your GP for a referral to a healthcare professional who can do ADHD assessments for adults. If there is an ADHD support group in your area, it can be very helpful to go there and talk to people who participate in the group. Most insurance plans list specialists by specialty and can help plan members find a healthcare professional. Finally, there are many websites that list ADHD service providers, including CHADD’s professional directory.
How do I know if I need to be evaluated for ADHD?
Most adults who seek an ADHD evaluation have significant difficulties in one or more areas of their lives. These are listed below:
- Not suitable in work or career; often losing their jobs or being laid off
- History of academic and/or professional failure
- Relationship problems due to failure to fulfill obligations
- Forget important things or get easily upset over small things
- Chronic stress and anxiety due to inability to meet goals and responsibilities
- Feelings of chronic and intense sadness, guilt, or guilt
A professional can determine whether this problem is related to ADHD, other causes, or causes. Although some symptoms of ADHD may appear in childhood, some people may not experience significant problems until later in life.
Steps to diagnose ADHD
There is no single test for ADHD. Instead, a qualified professional will use a series of assessments and tests to diagnose ADHD.
ADHD cannot be diagnosed from a simple observation or a quick interview. Additionally, in some cases, other conditions such as learning disabilities or mood disorders may need to be ruled out. You can read more about the various evaluations that may occur during an adult ADHD diagnosis below.
Learn your personal history
You will be ready to answer many questions about your childhood. A doctor or mental health provider will want to know the answers to questions like:
- How are your grades in school?
- Do you have frequent problems?
- Are you having trouble getting organized?
- Is your room always a mess?
You can get report cards or other records during school if you can get them. Often, report cards will show not only grades, but also teacher comments that may indicate ADHD.
In some cases, the evaluator may refer to parents, guardians or others who can provide detailed information about your child.
Many adults with ADHD have trouble remembering certain events from childhood. It can reduce symptoms or cause problems, so it can help evaluators talk to parents or fill out questionnaires before appointments.
Some symptoms of ADHD must be present before the age of 12 to be diagnosed, so this part of the assessment is very important. In some cases, these symptoms may change as you get older.
Your symptoms may not be the same as when you were a child. However, for most people with severe ADHD, there are clear symptoms in childhood.
Assessing your current challenges
You should also mention any problems or challenges you have. This can include:
- difficulties with college studies or work
- problems in your relationship
- have trouble paying bills
- frequent meetings
Even if you don’t think it’s ADHD-related, it’s important to be as honest as possible about the problems you’re experiencing. Your family, spouse, or close friend may also be asked to be part of this assessment. When planning an ADHD evaluation, you may want to ask your healthcare professional permission to send questionnaires to people you choose to get a better understanding.
Other people may see issues you missed or remember events from a different perspective. For example, you may think you have no problem keeping your appointments straight, but your partner may keep telling you that they have to remind you several times.
This assessment step is very important because ADHD cannot be diagnosed unless you have significant problems. This means that you may have some symptoms of ADHD, but if these symptoms do not cause problems in your life, you will not be diagnosed with ADHD.
Using a behavioral rating scale
One or more behavioral rating scales can be used in your assessment. This scale has typical characteristics in people with ADHD. The assessor may ask you to fill it out before the assessment or take it with you to the appointment.
If you are in a relationship, they can ask your partner to evaluate your behavior.
Test for other mental health conditions
Some evaluators want to test you for other conditions. For example, cognitive tests may be needed to screen for learning or intellectual disabilities. This can cause you problems at school or at work.
You may also be screened for personality or mood disorders that may cause ADHD-like symptoms. These tests are not specific for ADHD, but they rule out other conditions to help the evaluator make a diagnosis.
Take a physical exam
A medical exam may be necessary to rule out underlying medical reasons for your symptoms. Conditions such as thyroid disorders and seizure disorders can sometimes cause ADHD-like symptoms.
If it has been more than 1 year since your last medical exam, you may need to get one before your evaluator can accurately diagnose ADHD.
Further Diagnosis in adults
ADHD is more difficult to diagnose in adults because there are some misunderstandings about whether the list of symptoms used to diagnose children and adolescents applies to adults.
In some cases, the diagnosis of ADHD can be made if 5 or more of the hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms listed in the diagnostic criteria for children with ADHD are present.
As part of the evaluation, the specialist will ask about your current symptoms. If you have trouble remembering when you were a child, your specialist may want to look at your old school records or talk to your parents, teachers, or others who knew you well as a child.
When an adult is diagnosed with ADHD, the following aspects of his life are affected:
- training in business or education
- dangerous driving
- have problems making or keeping friends
- relationship problems with partners
You are not considered to have ADHD unless your problem is new and has not been persistent in the past. Because it is now thought that ADHD does not develop in adults for the first time.
- May 27, 2023
- ADHD in Adults