How to Know If You Have ADHD

People with ADHD often have trouble recognizing their symptoms, especially in childhood. They may have been misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, a learning disability or simply bad behavior. Those without a proper diagnosis may struggle with school, work and family problems. Untreated ADHD can cause poor relationships, substance abuse and a range of other mental health problems.

The most accurate way to know if you have adhd is to see a licensed mental health professional for an evaluation. Your doctor will review the symptoms of ADHD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and assess your symptoms to determine if you meet the criteria for the condition. Your doctor will also consider your personal, medical and psychiatric history.

Your doctor will likely ask questions about your symptoms over the past 6 months. They may use a checklist designed to identify ADHD symptoms in adults or children, interview you and other caregivers, complete psychiatric and medical histories and request information about your education, upbringing and family life.

Symptoms of ADHD can include difficulty staying organized, being forgetful, losing things or being disorganized at home, school or work. Having trouble following through on tasks, staying focused for long periods of time and making careless mistakes are other common symptoms. People with ADHD may also find it hard to listen when others are speaking and have a tendency to interrupt or talk over them. They have a harder time remembering important events and appointments, and are more likely to miss out on social activities.

ADHD can have many overlapping symptoms with other conditions that affect your concentration, such as anxiety, depression or anxiety and stress disorders. People with these conditions often have difficulty with time management, leading to missed appointments and missing deadlines. It’s important to recognize the overlapping symptoms so that your doctor can accurately diagnose you and recommend the best treatment for your situation.

Getting an ADHD diagnosis can be an emotional experience, especially for those who have had the disorder well into adulthood. They may feel relieved to have an explanation for their struggles and confused about how to move forward. However, a diagnosis can help them better understand their strengths, including high energy levels and creativity, and how to capitalize on them in the workplace or in relationships. They can also learn to manage their symptoms with medication, therapy and lifestyle changes.

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