How to Know If You Have ADHD
If you have symptoms of ADHD, your health care provider or mental health professional will need to do a thorough evaluation. This will include looking at your medical history and asking about your childhood experiences.
To qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD, adults need to show at least five symptoms. These must have been present since early childhood and not be better explained by another condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD usually show up during childhood. They may affect work, school and home life. People with this condition often have trouble staying organized, making decisions and following through on tasks. They tend to make careless mistakes and be easily distracted by low-priority activities. They also have trouble sitting still, are restless and talkative. They frequently get bored with tasks and seek out new experiences.
There are four different ways providers diagnose ADHD, based on the kinds of symptoms someone displays. Children with this disorder present with inattentive ADHD. This means they struggle with attention but have fewer hyperactivity and impulsiveness symptoms than other types of ADHD. Boys and children assigned male at birth receive diagnoses more often than girls or children assigned female, but this doesn’t mean they have more symptoms or that they have more of the hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD.
Causes Of ADHD
Getting diagnosed with ADHD requires more than just a brief office visit. A qualified mental health care provider or primary care physician will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient, gathering information from several sources: symptom checklists and questionnaires, medical history, responses to questions by family members, teachers and others who know the person well, psychiatric history, laboratory tests and information about education, environment and upbringing.
Often, symptoms of ADHD go unrecognized until adulthood. By then, people may have learned to compensate for their difficulty keeping their attention on tasks and managing their responsibilities. But if the disorder isn’t treated, it can interfere with career and family life, and lead to problems in other areas of life as well. ADHD can be caused by genetics, problems during childhood development and certain medical conditions and psychological disorders.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
Adults with ADHD often live with their symptoms for decades before they get diagnosed. Their frustration with work or family life prompts them to seek help, or their doctor may recommend a mental health professional for an evaluation.
A thorough ADHD evaluation includes a history, rating scales, and an interview with the person being evaluated. It is also helpful to have loved ones interviewed as well, so that the evaluator has accurate information about how the person’s behavior affects their lives.
A physical examination should also be done. This can help rule out medical conditions, such as thyroid or seizure problems, that can cause symptoms that resemble those of ADHD. The evaluator might use behavioral rating scales and other tests to evaluate working memory, executive functioning, and visual and spatial skills.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD can affect many aspects of a person’s life. People with the condition may have difficulty getting or keeping a job, meeting deadlines or following company policies. They can also have trouble managing their finances and paying bills on time.
If a child has symptoms of ADHD, parents should seek medical advice from their primary care provider. They can then refer the child to a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist for evaluation.
Although the symptoms of ADHD can be different in adults, they are usually similar to those of children. A doctor will evaluate the patient using criteria outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. This will include an interview with the patient and their caregivers.
Complications Of ADHD
People with ADHD can experience depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. These problems can cause difficulty in their personal and professional lives. They can also cause problems with their relationships. They may feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and have trouble keeping track of things like bills, appointments, and schoolwork.
People who have ADHD can be impulsive, often acting before thinking. They may get bored quickly and seek new activities. They might have trouble playing or relaxing quietly and fidget a lot. They might blurt out answers without waiting for their turn or intrude on others’ conversations or games.
Getting diagnosed with ADHD can be difficult, but it’s essential for treatment and a better quality of life. It is possible that you went undiagnosed throughout childhood or as a teenager.