How to Know If You Have ADHD
Getting a diagnosis for ADHD can be scary, but it’s a great first step in treating the disorder. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects about 1 in 25 adults. The symptoms of ADHD, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, can lead to significant problems in your life. However, getting a diagnosis and getting the right treatment can help you control your symptoms and improve your life.
To receive an official diagnosis of ADHD, a health professional must perform a thorough evaluation to determine what is causing your symptoms. This assessment is called a clinical interview. During this interview, the professional will review your medical history and discuss your symptoms with you. This evaluation may last from a few minutes to an hour.
The health professional may also ask you about any behavioral problems you may have had in the past. You may be asked to fill out a checklist of ADHD symptoms or complete standardized behavioral rating scales. This can help the professional identify possible co-occurring conditions and determine what treatment is appropriate. You may also be asked to talk with a close family member, friend, or co-worker. You can also be asked to participate in a clinical trial, which seeks to find new treatments and scientific knowledge. You can find information about clinical trials on the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) website.
To receive a diagnosis for ADHD, the symptoms must be present before age 12. Symptoms must also be present in more than one setting. ADHD is a mental disorder, and it can be confused with other medical conditions. The symptoms must interfere with the person’s ability to function in two major settings, such as school and home. The symptoms must have been present for at least six months.
You can receive an ADHD diagnosis at a primary care provider or a mental health professional. A health professional can also refer you to an ADHD support group. Some organizations offer online support groups. Other organizations can recommend a specialist.
A health professional can also conduct psychological testing to determine whether you have ADHD. These tests may examine your reasoning skills, working memory, and executive functioning. The tests can also help to determine if you have a learning disability. Learning disabilities can cause problems with reading, writing, and mathematics.
ADHD symptoms can also be associated with depression. Depression can cause changes in your sleep habits and eating habits, and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. The health professional can also conduct an evaluation to determine if you have any other mental health issues. These evaluations can involve talking to other doctors, as well as asking about your symptoms and medical history.
To receive an official diagnosis for ADHD, you must have six symptoms. These symptoms must have been present before age 12. ADHD symptoms must also interfere with social functioning and school functioning. You must also have another person confirm the diagnosis. You may also need to meet with a behavioral specialist at school. If you have an ADHD diagnosis, you can work to improve your self-control and improve your attention and work skills. You may be given medication or therapy to help you control your symptoms.