How to Know If You Have ADHD

How to Know If You Have ADHD

If you’re concerned about ADHD, or if you’re a parent of an ADHD child, it’s important to know what steps to take for an accurate diagnosis. The good news is that ADHD symptoms can improve with the right treatment, including medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Diagnosing ADHD

When you see a doctor for an evaluation, you’ll likely undergo an interview and assessment. This involves looking at your life and how the symptoms have impacted you and others in your life. The assessment may include questions about your development, social skills, and medical and psychiatric history. It also includes a physical examination to rule out other conditions that might cause symptoms like those of ADHD, says Dr. Keath Low, MA, a therapist and clinical scientist at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina.

A self-report scale, such as the DSM-5 Adult Symptom Inventory, is another way to get an idea of what you’re dealing with. This tool isn’t free, but it can give you a better sense of your overall situation.

Taking a self-assessment without the help of a professional can lead to inaccurate information and a negative outcome. It can also make you feel more defensive about the fact that you have ADHD.

It is essential to seek a professional who has experience diagnosing and treating ADHD. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner can help you find the best diagnosis and treatment for your specific needs. They can also recommend support groups in your area.


Medications can be effective in treating ADHD, but they can have side effects and require your doctor’s supervision. The most common types of medications are stimulants, which boost the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels to improve focus and attention.

Medication is typically used together with behavioral therapies to control symptoms and improve functioning. It’s best to start with a small dose of medication to determine how well it works before increasing it or trying new combinations.

Finding a therapist

The best way to find a therapist who specializes in treating ADHD is to ask your family doctor for a referral or search online for a therapist near you. You can also try your local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), which can provide names of therapists in your area who specialize in this condition.

Your medical insurance should cover the cost of an initial diagnosis and testing, but check with your plan first. You should also consider going outside your network to find the best doctor for you.

Getting an ADHD diagnosis and treating your symptoms isn’t always easy, but it can be worth it in the end. The good news is that many people with ADHD live happy, healthy lives with the proper treatment and support.

Regardless of your medical coverage, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis for ADHD. The sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be.

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