There are several types of professionals who can diagnose ADHD, including clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, nurse practitioners, neurologists, psychiatrists, and pediatricians. Regardless of who does the evaluation, the use of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD is necessary.
ADHD Testing – Children
Determining if a child has ADHD, is a complex process. Many biological and psychological problems can contribute to symptoms similar to those exhibited by children with ADHD. For example, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities may cause similar symptoms. In some cases, these other conditions may actually be the primary diagnosis; in others, these conditions may co-exist with ADHD. A thorough history should be taken from the parents and teachers, and when appropriate, from the child. Checklists for rating ADHD symptoms and ruling out other disabilities are often used by clinicians; these instruments factor in age-appropriate behaviors and show when symptoms are extreme for the child’s developmental level.
ADHD Testing – Adults
For adults, diagnosis also involves gathering information from multiple sources, which can include ADHD symptom checklists, standardized behavior rating scales, a detailed history of past and current functioning, and information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well. ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from brief office observations or just by talking to the person. The person may not always exhibit the symptoms of ADHD in the office, and the diagnostician needs to take a thorough history of the individual’s life. A diagnosis of ADHD must include consideration of the possible presence of co-occurring conditions.
Take the Next Steps
Are you concerned you or your child may be suffering from ADHD? The good news is you do not have to continue to deal with these symptoms without knowing the cause. The team at IPC-MN can conduct the needed assessments to determine whether ADHD is the cause and the needed treatment steps. Contact us to learn more about ADHD testing services and schedule an appointment today.