Deciding if a child has ADHD is a process with several steps. This page gives you an overview of how ADHD is diagnosed. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms. If you are concerned about whether a child might have ADHD, the first step is to talk with a healthcare provider to find out if the symptoms fit the diagnosis. The diagnosis can be made by a mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, or by a primary care provider, like a pediatrician.
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Popular culture propagates the myth that ADHD recedes with age; this is not the case. Adults with ADHD show significant comorbidities with depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use, oppositional defiant disorder, personality disorders, sleep problems, and learning disabilities. However, symptoms that result from ADHD, such as mood symptoms or lability, are often mistaken for comorbid disorders. Comorbidity with ADHD impacts treatment compliance, treatment response, and patient insight.
ADHD Tests and Diagnosis
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD can't be diagnosed with a physical test, like a blood test or an X-ray. During the evaluation, a professional gathers information about you or your child to determine if the criteria for ADHD are met. Regardless of the specific presentation of ADHD—inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, or combined—several conditions must be met in order to arrive at an official diagnosis:.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It used to be called ADD attention-deficit disorder. ADHD is a behavioral disorder that makes it hard for someone to sit still, pay attention, and focus on tasks. ADHD affects millions of children and often lasts into adulthood.