How to Know If You Have ADHD
ADHD symptoms can interfere with work, school, and relationships. They may also cause problems with eating, sleeping, and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
If you suspect that you have ADHD, talk to your health care provider. They will review your symptoms and do a physical exam to rule out medical issues that can mimic ADHD symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
People with ADHD may have trouble staying focused on schoolwork or other tasks. They might make careless mistakes or forget important things. They might fidget or talk more than other people. They might also have trouble sitting still or finishing tasks. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must have at least six of these symptoms. Providers use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) to diagnose ADHD.
The symptoms of ADHD usually appear during childhood. They can interfere with work, relationships, and social life. People with ADHD can develop low self-esteem and struggle to succeed at school or in jobs. They can also experience health problems like obesity, anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. They are at higher risk for drug abuse and suicide.
Causes Of ADHD
In addition to recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors, parents should also set clear and consistent limits on their child’s behavior. Punishing bad behavior teaches children to behave that way, so instead, focus on teaching appropriate behaviors and rewarding good behavior.
In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, health care providers must evaluate an individual and identify at least six of the symptoms listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition Text Revision (DSM-5) criteria for either the predominantly inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive type. They must also determine that these problems substantially interfere with daily functioning in home, school and/or work.
People with ADHD often have difficulty staying organized and focused, which can cause frustration or lead to failure in their personal and professional lives. They may also have trouble managing their emotions and often suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
For an adult to be diagnosed with ADHD, their symptoms must significantly impact two areas of their life — such as work or relationships. This usually involves demonstrating that their symptoms cause major impairment, such as losing a job because of inattention or lateness, financial problems caused by impulsive spending, or conflict and distress in their marriage because of difficulties with communication.
While there is no single test for ADHD, a qualified mental health care professional or physician can perform an ADHD evaluation by examining the patient and reviewing written feedback from those who know them well, including checklists and information from their teachers or coworkers. Some doctors also interview spouses or close friends to gain additional insight that cannot be gleaned from questionnaires alone.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD often appear in childhood and can cause problems with school work, friendships and performance at work. Those who don’t get treated with appropriate medication can end up having trouble with relationships and financial stress.
Research shows that certain genetic factors are linked to the development of ADHD. It also appears that close relatives are more likely to have the condition. A person may also have a greater chance of having the disorder if their mother smoked or drank during pregnancy. Exposure to toxins such as lead paint or pipes, prenatal drug and alcohol use and being born prematurely are also risk factors.
Despite these risks, many children do not develop ADHD. They are more likely to have other problems that are causing them difficulty, such as learning difficulties, low self-esteem and depression.
Complications Of ADHD
If you have ADHD, juggling work, family, and other responsibilities can be overwhelming. As adults, your ADHD symptoms can cause career difficulties, marital distress, financial problems (lost paperwork or late fees), and a sense of chronic underachievement.
If your ADHD symptoms cause significant impairment, it may be time to get a diagnosis. In order to diagnose ADHD, a health care professional must identify several of the disorder’s symptoms and confirm them with an interview with a trusted friend or loved one.
Interviews with significant others are especially important in adults, as they help the provider understand how the symptoms affect your life. They can also help the non-ADHD spouse or partner develop an empathetic attitude toward the challenges of living with ADHD. In addition, the clinician should interview the individual’s parents or life partners about childhood behavior.