How to Know If You Have ADHD

How to Know If You Have ADHD


There is no one test to determine whether you have ADHD. Getting a diagnosis requires a thorough psychiatric evaluation.

This will involve reviewing family, medical and psychiatric history. It will also involve discussing symptoms and evaluating how they interfere with your life at work, home and socially. ADHD symptoms can range from mild to severe.

What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD

In children, symptoms include forgetfulness that causes problems in school and work. They often miss appointments and have trouble remembering important events. They often seem to daydream or “zone out” during conversations. They may make careless mistakes in their work or school assignments and appear to lack interest in tasks that are not fun or rewarding. Hyperactivity, which appears as excessive restlessness, also can be a sign of ADHD. Children and teens who can’t sit still might wiggle their feet, talk incessantly or touch everything around them.

To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, multiple symptoms must be present before age 12 and cause problems in more than one setting. Adults with untreated ADHD can struggle to manage their lives and are often criticized by others as lazy, irresponsible or stupid.

Causes Of ADHD

Many people who have ADHD went undiagnosed in childhood or early adulthood. They may have been labeled as a dreamer, goof-off, or troublemaker instead of having a condition that makes it hard for them to keep up with the demands of school and work.

A doctor can evaluate whether a person has ADHD by comparing their symptoms to those of other children of the same age and doing a physical exam to make sure they don’t have an illness or injury that might be causing them to have trouble paying attention. They can also ask about the person’s history with mental health and other illnesses. People with ADHD often have a combination of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, but they can also have one type of presentation more than the other.

Getting Diagnosed With ADHD

For adults, the diagnosis of ADHD requires a professional evaluation by a licensed mental health professional or physician. This evaluation should include a clinical interview and behavioral observations.

Many people are good at disguising their ADHD symptoms, making it difficult to get a valid diagnosis. It is also important to have a psychiatrist or neurologist perform the assessment, rather than a general practitioner.

During the evaluation, the doctor may ask the patient to list his or her symptoms and how they affect daily life. The doctor will also discuss the person’s history and review family records. The doctor may also ask the person’s spouse, parents, siblings or teachers to fill out questionnaires. These will provide valuable insight that isn’t available through a checklist. In addition, the doctor will interview other people in the person’s life, such as coworkers and religious or scout leaders.

Risk Factors Of ADHD

There are several risk factors for ADHD, but it’s important to remember that the condition can occur at any age. Symptoms can be mistaken for normal childhood behaviour and laziness, so it’s easy to overlook them.

Genes play a big role in ADHD. Studies of twin and family groups show that the disorder runs in families. You also have a 1 in 4 chance of developing the disorder if one or more close relatives have it. Exposure to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy and birth, a significant head injury or prematurity increase the risk of developing ADHD.

Social factors such as low socioeconomic status (SES), a mother’s migration and maternal smoking during pregnancy have also been linked with the development of ADHD. However, there is considerable between-study heterogeneity.

Complications Of ADHD

People with ADHD have a harder time keeping jobs and maintaining relationships. They are more likely to have medical problems like anxiety and depression, have a hard time managing their finances, and be at higher risk for substance abuse and mental illness.

They may have trouble staying focused at work or at home, become easily distracted, and are often late for important events. Their homes and workplaces can be messy, disorganized and chaotic. They frequently lose things or forget appointments and medication instructions. They may have a poor diet, be prone to overeating, and have poor nutrition.

Talk to your health care provider if you think you have ADHD. He or she will evaluate your symptoms and history, interview family members and friends, and possibly perform a physical exam and psychological tests.

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