Which ADHD test will work best for you? Here’s everything you need to know about ADHD tests and tools.
The most common misconception about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is that children will simply “grow out of it”. The truth of the matter is that children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. Research shows that more than 60 percent of children face significant impairment as adults, who have to strive incredibly hard to make their ADHD symptoms work to their advantage. While there are many ADHD tests to help diagnose and evaluate the condition in children and adults, there is no one-test-to-rule-all per se. Doctors and diagnosticians have to take a multi-dimensional approach to diagnose ADHD which generally involves:
While trying to evaluate children, doctors will usually talk to the parents and teachers about any ADHD symptoms they might have noticed. Furthermore, they will want to know at what age the symptoms first became obvious and how the symptoms have affected the child’s behavior.
When it comes to adults, doctors generally delve into the patient’s childhood to understand if the same symptoms existed back then. They will speak with the spouse, significant other or family members to complete their evaluation.
Before a doctor can zero in on ADHD as the causative condition, it is imperative to rule out any other medical conditions or illnesses that may be causing the symptoms. In order to do this, certain tests such as hearing/eyesight tests, lead level test, thyroid disease evaluation, CT or MRI scan to check brain abnormalities and brain electrical activity measurement tests may be recommended.
There are a number of written ADHD tests, symptom checklists and criteria that are followed while diagnosing someone with ADHD. In most cases, more than one of these ADHD tests will be employed to diagnose the condition with any measure of certainty.
Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the DSM-5 includes two sets of symptoms corresponding with a pattern of inattention and/or impulsivity-hyperactivity. Based on the number of symptoms that match (6 or more for children/5 or more for adults), the DSM-5 criteria are used to diagnose ADHD of three presentations – predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined presentation.
Created by the World Health Organization (WHO), the ICD-10 are a set of criteria used to diagnose severe cases of ADHD and hyperkinetic disorder. The criteria presented by the ICD-10 are a whole lot narrower than those presented by DSM-5. However, if only ICD-10 criteria were used in diagnosis, only those with severe ADHD would be diagnosed while many others suffering from milder yet damaging forms wouldn’t be diagnosed correctly. With this in mind, most doctors use both the criteria to arrive at a diagnosis.
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