Shrewsbury Township ADHD Testing

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Empowered Learning Transformation Centers

Diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder in Children and Adults

On their own, none of the symptoms of attention deficit disorder are abnormal. Most people feel scattered, unfocused, or distracted at times. Furthermore, the symptoms of ADHD are easy to confuse with other problems, including learning disabilities and emotional issues, that require totally different treatments. That’s why it’s important to see a mental health specialist to determine if the symptoms really point to ADHD.

 

Diagnosing ADHD: What you need to know

Are you easily sidetracked, hopelessly disorganized, or frequently forgetful and wondering if attention deficit disorder’s to blame? Do you look at your rambunctious, fidgety child and think it might be ADHD? Before you jump to conclusions, keep in mind that diagnosing ADHD isn’t quite that simple. Even chronic hyperactivity or distractibility doesn’t necessarily equal ADHD.

There is no single medical, physical, or other test for diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously known as ADD. To determine if you or your child has ADHD, a doctor or other health professional will need to be involved, and you can expect him or her to use a number of different tools: a checklist of symptoms, answers to questions about past and present problems, or a medical exam to rule out other causes for symptoms.

Keep in mind that the symptoms of ADHD, such as concentration problems and hyperactivity, can be confused with other disorders and medical problems. Just because it looks like ADHD doesn’t mean it is, so getting a thorough assessment and diagnosis is important.

 

Making the ADHD diagnosis

ADHD looks different in every person, so there is a wide array of criteria to help health professionals reach a diagnosis. It is important to be open and honest with the specialist conducting your evaluation so that he or she can come to the most accurate conclusion.

To be diagnosed with ADHD, you or your child must display a combination of strong ADHD hallmark symptoms, namely hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention. The mental health professional assessing the problem will also look at the following factors:

 

How severe are the symptoms? To be diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms must have a negative impact on you or your child’s life. In general, people who truly have ADHD have major problems in one or more areas of their life, such as their career, finances, or family responsibilities.

 

When did the symptoms start? Since ADHD starts in childhood, the doctor or therapist will look at how early the symptoms appeared. If you are an adult, can you trace the symptoms back to your childhood?

 

How long have the symptoms been bothering you or your child? Symptoms must have been going on for at least 6 months before ADHD can be diagnosed.

 

When and where do the symptoms appear? The symptoms of ADHD must be present in multiple settings, such as at home and school. If the symptoms only appear in one environment, it is unlikely that ADHD is to blame.

 

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