How to Know If You Have ADHD
For a person to be diagnosed with ADHD, several symptoms must be present prior to age 12, and they must cause significant impairment in more than one setting. Impairment can include losing a job, arguing with a partner, getting into financial trouble due to impulsive spending or neglecting medical checkups.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
ADHD symptoms typically begin during childhood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused on tasks, forgetting important tasks, and being disorganized. It’s common for people with ADHD to have trouble keeping up with work, school, and personal obligations.
In the hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD, symptoms focus on fidgeting or constantly moving. It’s hard for them to stay seated when they are supposed to, and they have trouble waiting for their turn in games or conversations. They may blurt out answers before others are finished speaking and seem unable to think before acting.
To get a diagnosis, providers use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) to make sure children exhibit at least six symptoms that significantly interfere with their daily functioning. They must have the symptoms for at least six months to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Causes Of ADHD
For many children, ADHD goes unrecognized. They may be labeled as dreamers, goof-offs, slackers or troublemakers and are often able to compensate for their symptoms until they grow into adults with a full range of responsibilities like pursuing a career, raising a family, and running a household.
To get a diagnosis of ADHD, your provider will have to identify at least six symptoms that significantly impair everyday functioning. In addition, they will need to determine that these symptoms were present before age 12.
Stimulants are a first-line treatment option. They work by increasing the availability of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that connect pathways in the brain. These medications are not recommended for people with glaucoma or severe arteriosclerosis, and they should not be taken by those who take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). They can cause serious side effects and should only be used under the care of a medical professional.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
Many adults don’t know that they have ADHD until they run into problems in their adult lives, such as trouble keeping a job or meeting deadlines, relationship issues, or financial difficulties caused by poor budgeting and impulsive spending. The symptoms can also contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and physical problems, such as obesity, sleep or eating disorders and drug or alcohol abuse.
To diagnose ADHD, a person needs to be evaluated by a qualified health care professional. It’s best to get recommendations from other doctors or therapists, or search online for professionals who specialize in ADHD evaluations for adults. The evaluation will include a medical exam and interviews with family members and close friends. The evaluator may also use standardized behavior rating scales or ADHD symptom checklists to determine whether the symptoms meet criteria for a diagnosis.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
While some people who have ADHD may not be diagnosed, those who are will have problems in many areas of their lives including poor relationships, low self-esteem and trouble at school and work. They are also at risk for a variety of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.
Researchers are looking at factors such as environmental toxins, food additives, sugar consumption and prenatal alcohol, drug or tobacco use as potential risk factors of ADHD. But the most important thing is for parents and children to talk to their GPs about any concerns they have. They can then be referred to a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist. This is the only way to be sure the symptoms are a true diagnosis of ADHD and not some other condition.
Complications Of ADHD
People with ADHD can be very successful in many different areas of life. But they also often struggle with challenges that other people don’t face, including poor relationships due to impulsive actions and lack of follow-through. They may have trouble getting a good job, keeping one, following health guidelines or managing their finances due to disorganization and forgetfulness.
To make an accurate diagnosis, a health care provider or mental health professional needs to use a number of sources of information including checklists and standardized behavior rating scales. They should interview the person, their family members and other people who know them well. They may also want to ask if they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial to learn more about new treatments for ADHD.