How is ADHD diagnosed?
A diagnostic evaluation is the first step in helping to manage ADHD. A qualified health care professional -- psychologist (Ph.D.), physician (M.D.), clinical social worker (LCSW, MSW), professional counselor (MA, MS), school psychologist (Ed.D.) -- can provide a diagnostic evaluation to determine if a child, adolescent, or adult has ADHD.
Basic facts about ADHD diagnosis:
ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from brief office observations.
ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from talking to the person.
There is no single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD.
A comprehensive diagnostic assessment should include:
A thorough diagnostic interview, including past and current functioning
A comprehensive history (developmental, medical, academic, work, social, family)
ADHD symptom checklists
Standardized behavior rating scales for ADHD
Other types of psychological testing as deemed necessary by the clinician
Review of past evaluations and school records
Screening for the presence of other co-existing conditions
Contrary to popular stereotypes, most children with ADHD do not "grow out of it."
A diagnostic evaluation may be performed at any age or any stage in the life cycle.