How to Know If You Have ADHD
ADHD is a serious disorder that can have life-altering consequences if left untreated. Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step to finding effective treatment. It can help you understand the problems that you have been struggling with and provide you with tools to manage those issues.
If you suspect you might have adhd, start by contacting your primary care doctor or mental health professional to schedule an evaluation. They will discuss your symptoms, ask you questions and perform a physical exam to find out whether ADHD is the culprit.
You may also have a discussion about your family history and past behavioral problems. This can be helpful as many people who have ADHD often have other disorders, such as anxiety or depression, that can cause the same or similar symptoms.
A thorough assessment includes reviewing your medical records, taking note of any other conditions you have, and completing psychological tests that assess executive functioning (planning and decision-making skills), visual and spatial abilities, or reasoning skills. These tests will provide your provider with the most detailed information about you, your ADHD symptoms, and any other medical problems you have.
The diagnosis of ADHD requires that a person have a number of symptoms that are significant enough to interfere with daily living and that they have been present for at least six months. They also have to be consistent and not better explained by another condition.
Common symptoms of ADHD include impulsivity, difficulty paying attention, and trouble focusing on tasks. These symptoms can be a source of frustration, especially when they occur over long periods of time and interfere with work and other important areas of life.
These symptoms can also be related to mood and irritability issues. Symptoms like this can make it hard to control your emotions, which can lead to unhealthy behaviors and relationships.
You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of ADHD by reading the NIMH’s fact sheet, “How to Know If You Have Adult ADHD,” which provides tips for discussing your condition with your doctor and a list of self-tests to help you determine whether you are likely to have it. You can also visit the NIMH’s website to access additional information, including a free online ADHD and ADD self-assessment tool.
A doctor or other health care provider who is knowledgeable about diagnosing ADHD will take notes on what a person says and how much it affects their everyday lives. They will ask about your moods and behavior, how you spend your time, and what changes you have noticed in your lifestyle habits.
It is not uncommon for adults to have a difficult time recalling some of their childhood experiences, so it can be helpful for the evaluator to have a parent or someone else who knows the person well bring details about their childhood and family history to the appointment.
Using this information, your health care provider or mental health professional will be able to pinpoint the specific problem and the type of treatment that will be the most effective. They will use a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes to treat your ADHD.