On their own, none of the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be classified as abnormal. It is perfectly normal for most people to feel scattered, distracted and unfocused at times. In addition, some of the symptoms associated with ADHD are often confused with other problems such as emotional issues and learning disabilities that require completely different treatments. Therefore, it is best to consult a mental health specialist in order to determine if you are really suffering from ADHD.
What you need to know about diagnosing ADHD?
Are you hopelessly disorganized, easily sidetracked and frequently forgetful? Do you think this is because you have ADHD? Some parents blame ADHD for the fidgety and rambunctious behavior of their child. But, before jumping to conclusions, parents should remember that an ADHD diagnosis is not that simple. Even chronic distractibility and hyperactivity doesn’t necessarily mean ADHD. Previously called ADD, ADHD cannot be diagnosed through a single physical, medical or other test. Parents can take an ADHD quiz online to get an idea if they are correct, but an official diagnosis can only be made by a doctor or any other health professional.
These people use a number of tools for making a diagnosis, which includes a checklist of common signs and symptoms, answers to questions about past and current problems and a medical exam for ruling out other causes. Getting a thorough and proper assessment and an accurate diagnosis is important because the symptoms alone are no guarantee of ADHD.
Making the Diagnosis
It is essential to bear in mind that ADHD will be different for everyone and this means that health professionals can only make a diagnosis by studying a wide array of criteria. You need to be honest and open when talking to the specialist conducting the evaluation to ensure they can reach the most accurate conclusion. For an ADHD diagnosis to be made, a child has to display a combination of strong ADHD symptoms, which are namely inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Some of the factors that the mental health professional will take into account are:
- Severity of symptoms
An ADHD diagnosis can only be made when the symptoms have a negative impact on the child’s life.
- Starting of the symptoms
As ADHD symptoms start showing in childhood, the doctor will want to know exactly how early the symptoms started appearing.
- Duration of symptoms
ADHD cannot be diagnosed unless the symptoms have been going on for about six months.
- Occurrence of symptoms
It is necessary for the symptoms of ADHD to appear in a variety of settings such as at school and at home. If they just appear in one setting, ADHD is unlikely to blame.
Common symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Fidgeting with or tapping their hands or feet
- Leaving seat in situations when they need to be seated
- Running and climbing in inappropriate situations
- Unable to wait for their turn
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting or intruding on others
- Unable to stay quiet while playing or in leisure activities
- Blurts out answers before completion of the question
Symptoms of inattention
- Failing to give attention to details and then making mistakes
- Doesn’t listen to when spoken to directly
- Loses things needed for activities or tasks
- Face difficulties in organizing activities and tasks
- Unable to sustain attention in different activities
- Fails to follow instructions and doesn’t finish schoolwork on time
- Easily distracted when there is extraneous stimuli
- Dislikes, avoids and is reluctant to perform any tasks that need sustained mental effort
These can help healthcare professionals in making a proper ADHD diagnosis in order to start a treatment program.