Should I be diagnosed?

There are many reasons to obtain a formal diagnosis of ADHD. However, it’s not always necessary.

A diagnosis of ADHD means that some of the ADHD traits that a person has are significant enough to have a negative impact on their life. It is certainly possible sometimes to get help with creating structures or finding just the right niche that allows a person with ADHD to live in the area of their strengths and not have their ADHD be a significant problem.

There are three main reasons for getting an official ADHD diagnosis. The first and probably most important is that a person just wants to know definitively what has been causing the challenges that they’ve had throughout their life in this area.

Another reason is that a person might want to try and ADHD medication as part of the treatment plan.

A third reason, is that a person, child or adult, may need an accommodation in school work to help them be as as successful as possible in their chosen endeavor.

70% – 80% of my personal clients have an official diagnosis of ADHD.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

How is ADHD diagnosed?

A diagnosis of ADHD is reached after an assessment by a doctor. The doctor might be an M.D., psychiatrist, or a psychologist. Currently, when evaluating any mental health concerns, doctors use something called the Diagnostic Statistical Manual DSM-IV to help them reach a diagnosis. The traits of inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity are often traits that all of us have, the difference for people with ADHD is that these symptoms are pervasive to the extent that they have a negative impact on the person’s life.

There is no such thing as adult onset of ADHD, we either had as a child or we don’t have it. For this reason one of the most important parts of the diagnostic process is gathering historical information from the patient, as well as parents, family members, and spouses. It’s important to get information from various sources is often the person with ADHD may not be as aware of the symptoms as someone who has spent significant time with them. Often old report cards and comments from teachers provide good objective evidence. In addition to the patient’s history, there are also some test of attention, and even some new brain mapping technology that can help doctors reach a conclusion.

It’s important when seeking a diagnosis, that we find a doctor who is experienced with ADHD and has a good foundation in making an ADHD diagnosis. Sometimes, it’s difficult to find doctors who have experience with ADHD in the adult population.