There is no single test that doctors can use to diagnose ADHD. Instead, they use a combination of interviews and written tests to identify behaviors that are symptoms of ADHD. ADHD screening is important because individuals can seek the correct treatment once they have a diagnosis.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can't be diagnosed with a physical test, like a blood test or an X-ray. Instead, a health professional uses an evaluation process to diagnose ADHD. During the evaluation, a professional gathers information to determine if the criteria for ADHD are met.
The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Screener (ASRS) is one of the most commonly used self-assessment tools for adult ADHD. The ASRS was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD. This tool is meant to be used with people 18 and over and assesses for the most common symptoms of ADHD.
The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. That's because the disorder has a number of possible symptoms, and they can easily be confused with those of other conditions, like depression or anxiety.
If you are concerned that you may have ADHD, the first step is to see a doctor. They will most likely refer you to a psychologist. A psychologist can only make a diagnosis after a detailed assessment of your behaviour. There are many behavioural disorders that can cause symptoms of ADHD, especially in young children.
Most evaluations will include a patient interview, possible interviews with or questionnaires for friends or family members and a written assessment form, such as the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale, Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV or the Connors for adults.
A formal diagnosis of ADHD can only be made by qualified health professionals. Whilst general practitioners, and other front-line health providers may have useful information and experience in identifying ADHD symptoms, the diagnosis needs to be made by a paediatrician or a child psychiatrist.
Untreated ADHD in adults can lead to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. This is because ADHD symptoms can lead to focus, concentration, and impulsivity problems. When these problems are not managed effectively, they can lead to feelings of frustration, irritability, and low self-esteem.
Women with ADHD face the same feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted as men with ADHD commonly feel. Psychological distress, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and chronic stress are common. Often, women with ADHD feel that their lives are out of control or in chaos, and daily tasks may seem impossibly huge.
Girls Tend Towards Introspection Rather Than Hyperactivity
Inattentive ADHD involves a lot of daydreaming, inability to focus, forgetfulness, and having trouble staying organized. Because that doesn't look like 'typical' ADHD — and can be mistaken for simple scatterbrained-ness — it's often not diagnosed as such.
Women and girls experience the same general symptoms of ADHD as men and boys. However, the way the symptoms are expressed in their behaviors can appear different from their expression in men and boys. This difference in expression has historically been one of the reasons girls and women are underdiagnosed.
Multiple factors may contribute to the lack of ADHD diagnosis in girls during childhood, including differences in predominant symptoms (internalizing rather than externalizing) and subtype (inattentive rather than hyperactive)7; the presence of comorbid psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety,8,9 which ...
Unfortunately, there are no lab tests that can accurately determine whether you have ADHD. Instead, you must undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to determine whether it is indeed the cause of your struggles. Once an accurate diagnosis is received, you can begin to pursue treatment.
There is no test for ADHD – the assessment is made using a wide range of information provided by both the family and your child's school. Other health professionals, such as a speech pathologist, may also become involved in your child's assessment.
To legally protect the rights of people with ADHD in Australia, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), a person's ADHD must be classed as a disability according to the criteria as specified in the DDA.
Help for ADHD
As a first step, see your GP (family doctor). A GP can assess your symptoms and write you a referral to see a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist if you need it.
Adults with undiagnosed ADHD often seem disorganized or even scattered. These organizational struggles can affect many areas, from prioritizing tasks to keeping track of personal items. Common signs of organization problems include: Always looking for items they can't find.
Age itself doesn't necessarily make ADHD worse. The way your symptoms show up depends on several factors. The good news is that most adults are able to manage their lives well with therapy and medications.
Girls with ADHD sometimes struggle to make and keep friends. Many also experience low self-esteem, depression or anxiety. They also have higher rates of self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide attempts than other girls.
Girls with ADHD may want to move and talk, but don't want to be seen to be misbehaving, so they keep it in. They may fidget in smaller, less recognisable ways, such as doodling or playing with jewellery, or may be overly chatty when allowed to talk.