Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosing ADHD

How ADHD is Diagnosed?

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

No solo test is available to diagnose ADHD. Medical professionals diagnose ADHD after a person shows some or all the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder regularly for more than six months.

ADHD Diagnosis in Children

Pediatricians, child psychologists, or psychiatrists diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with the help of some standard guidelines set by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or American Academy of Pediatrics.


The diagnosis involves collecting information from several different sources like parents, schools, and caregivers. Doctors consider how the behavior of a child compares with that of other children of the same age and uses standardized rating scales to document these behaviors.

Symptoms of ADHD in children include inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:

  • Make careless mistakes
  • Do not finish tasks
  • Get easily distracted
  • Often lose things
  • Be forgetful
  • Squirm and fidget
  • Are in constant motion
  • Loose listening and concentrating skills

ADHD diagnosis also includes a full physical examination of the child, including vision and hearing screenings. FDA also approves the use of the NEBA (Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid) System, which is a noninvasive scan to measure beta and theta brain waves.

The theta/beta ratio is comparatively higher in children with ADHD than in children without it. The scan is a part of a complete psychological and medical exam, approved for use in children and adolescents between 6 to 17 years of age.

Additionally, the healthcare provider takes a complete medical history to check other conditions that may be affecting a child’s mental health and behavior. Medical conditions that mimic ADHD-like behavior include:

  • Major lifestyle changes
  • Undetected seizures
  • Thyroid problems
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Lead toxicity

ADHD Diagnosis in Adults

ADHD is not easy to diagnose in adults. Sometimes, a parent recognizes symptoms of ADHD when the healthcare provider diagnoses a daughter or son. Other times, they seek a medical professional for different conditions and find that their anxiety, depression, or other mental illness symptoms are due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Inattentiveness and impulsiveness are the most common signs of ADHD in adults. Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Chronic lateness
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Short temper
  • Restlessness
  • Poor listening skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble finishing a task
  • Immediate response
  • Trouble controlling behavior

If not managed properly, these difficulties can cause occupational, social, emotional, and academic problems for the adults.

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults includes current and persistent symptoms that date to childhood. There are several recommendations for an accurate diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults:

  • Psychological testing
  • A history of childhood behavior of the adult
  • A complete physical examination including neurological testing
  • An interview with parents, life partner, close friends, and other near ones.

ADHD Treatment

After the diagnosis of ADHD, the next big step in the treatment of the condition. Stimulants are useful for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adderall is a potent and very common stimulant for ADHD treatment in both adults and children. It affects the part of the brain that controls behavior and attention, thus treating ADHD.

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