How to Know If You Have ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD can be hard to distinguish from normal behavior. If you find it hard to complete tasks, keep track of your keys or forget appointments, then a diagnosis of ADHD might be necessary.
This online screening is not a diagnostic tool, only a trained medical professional, like a doctor or mental health professional can help you determine the next steps.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
Children with ADHD may get distracted easily or have trouble staying focused on tasks. They often have difficulty finishing their schoolwork and tend to forget appointments. They also may be impulsive and impatient, and they might have trouble controlling their emotions.
Teachers and parents often notice these behaviors in kids when they are very young. However, they don’t always mean that a child has ADHD. To be diagnosed, a child must have ADHD symptoms that have been present for at least 12 months and interfere with their functioning in school and home.
ADHD symptoms tend to last into adulthood. But this doesn’t mean that people with the disorder can’t succeed. They just have to find ways to manage their symptoms. This can include medication, therapy and changing their habits.
Causes Of ADHD
Many people with ADHD have difficulty paying close attention to details or making careless mistakes at school or work. They may also have trouble staying focused on tasks and activities, such as listening to lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading, or seem to daydream or be distracted.
Those who have the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation of ADHD fidget, can’t sit still, talk excessively and quickly interrupt others. They may not be able to calm themselves down and can’t stop moving or thinking about things they’re excited about.
According to current guidelines, to qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD, symptoms must have been present prior to age 12 and cause difficulty in at least two settings, such as home and school. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD often find they spend a lot of time and money on products that help them stay organized, manage their impulsive behaviors, improve their ability to concentrate, communicate clearly and overcome negative feelings like frustration and anger.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
Whether someone has been told by their family members that they might have ADHD or simply know they’re forgetful and struggling with poor time management, the only way to get diagnosed is to visit a doctor or psychologist. Ask your personal physician for a referral or contact a local university-based hospital, medical school or graduate school in psychology for recommendations.
During an evaluation, the clinician will interview you in detail about your symptoms and how they have impacted your life, work and relationships. They will also ask about your history with ADHD since childhood.
Adults who have ADHD may be better at hiding their symptoms than children. They can seem rushed or overwhelmed during meetings and might fidget or talk excessively. They might also be more likely to show hyperactivity, but only a small percentage of adults experience hyperactivity with ADHD.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of ADHD with normal childhood behavior or laziness, but the condition is a serious health problem that can cause significant difficulties at home, school and work. It can also lead to problems in relationships and self-esteem.
Genetic vulnerability can play a role in developing ADHD and studies have shown that it tends to run in families. It can also be caused by alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy or by birth complications like low birth weight or brain damage.
Other risk factors include male gender, family history of mental illness or other psychiatric disorders, food additives and diet, maternal smoking during pregnancy, low levels of mother’s education, and preterm delivery. Socioeconomic disadvantage can also contribute to the development of ADHD and can be associated with a number of factors that increase risk for the disorder.
Complications Of ADHD
Many people with ADHD go undiagnosed throughout childhood. They may have been labeled as dreamers, goof-offs or slackers by teachers and parents, who were unable to see the difficulties caused by their symptoms. When they grow up and become adults, they may find it even more challenging to keep all the balls in the air, especially as their responsibilities increase.
The only way to know if you have ADHD is to discuss your symptoms with a mental health professional. A full psychiatric evaluation includes an interview with you and your family, completion of rating scales, symptom checklists and psychological tests. Medications are usually prescribed, particularly stimulants, which work by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. A few types of non-stimulant medications are also available and are sometimes prescribed in combination with stimulants for better effectiveness.