How to Know If You Have ADHD
If you suspect that you have ADHD, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor. They can do a detailed assessment of your symptoms, and use the guidelines outlined in the DSM-5 to make an accurate diagnosis.
Your doctor will also need to confirm that the symptoms you are experiencing have begun before age 12 and have lasted for more than six months. And they must occur in multiple settings — like home, school, and work — and cause impairment.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
If you are having problems paying attention, staying organized, concentrating on tasks or activities, or controlling your impulses, you might have ADHD. Symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity can be frustrating, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans.
Inattention symptoms may include trouble paying attention in school, completing homework assignments, or focusing on work projects. Symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity may include excessive fidgeting, tapping feet, or talking too much.
To be diagnosed with ADHD, at least six of the symptoms must impair daily functioning in two or more settings. They must also have been present for at least six months.
Causes Of ADHD
ADHD is a genetic condition that tends to run in families. It may also be triggered by a child’s prematurity, birth weight, or exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy.
People with ADHD have differences in the way their brains process information. That can cause problems paying attention, focusing and managing their emotions.
Some children with ADHD don’t get better at these skills as they grow up. That’s why they may have problems at school or in social situations.
Providers make a diagnosis of ADHD in one of four ways, using the kinds of symptoms your child displays. If your child’s symptoms are mostly inattentive, providers might refer you to a psychiatrist or child psychologist. If your child’s symptoms are mostly hyperactive or impulsive, providers might refer you to a pediatrician or family therapist.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
To get an accurate diagnosis, doctors must use a number of different methods and tests. These include a clinical interview using a standardized ADHD rating scale, and screening tests to rule out common coexisting conditions like learning disabilities, autism, or mood disorders.
A doctor will also ask you about your symptoms and what they mean to you. This is a good time to be honest about any issues you’ve had in the past, whether they’re related to ADHD or not.
A doctor will also need to gather information from parents, teachers, and caregivers. This can be done with a variety of questionnaires and written feedback.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
A number of factors may increase the risk that a child will develop ADHD. These include genetic risk, environmental toxins such as lead exposure and maternal stress during pregnancy.
Some of these factors can be prevented or treated by changing a child’s lifestyle. For example, avoiding screens when a child is young can help them avoid developing attentional problems later in life.
Several studies have shown that children who suffer from ADHD are at increased risk for suicide. This is because they often suffer from other psychiatric disorders and have higher degrees of impulsivity.
The strongest evidence to date shows that ADHD is a strong heritable disorder, with significant first degree familial risk (two to eightfold) in parents and siblings of probands with ADHD. Twin and adoption studies also highlight this high genetic component.
Complications Of ADHD
If you have ADHD, it can affect your life in many ways. It may impact your ability to focus on tasks, stay organized and handle stress.
You could also have trouble getting along with others. This is because you might act too quickly or interrupt others.
Having ADHD also makes it harder for you to have good social skills. It’s common for children with symptoms of impulsivity or hyperactivity to be shy or seem withdrawn from their peers.
Adults with ADHD often experience difficulties with work and money. They might not be able to keep track of bills, pay on time or follow the rules at their job. They might be impulsive and make decisions that cost them money. They might also have difficulty remembering birthdays, anniversaries and important dates.