Symptoms, Signs, Treatment

Reaching a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a multi-step process. There is no  single test that definitively diagnoses ADHD.  To further complicate the  diagnostic process, many other issues can have very similar symptoms. Issues that can mimic ADHD include:

If  you suspect ADHD, the diagnosis can be made by a mental health care  professional. 

Symptoms of ADHD

There is a range of symptoms associated with ADHD, and  they can vary significantly between children and adults. The symptoms  broadly span inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Signs and  symptoms include:

A child or adult with ADHD may have school problems,  underachievement, poor social skills, and difficulty following rules.

Differences in ADHD in Adults

The  symptoms of ADHD are more difficult to define and notice in adults.  Adults with the disorder have developed coping skills throughout their  lives to mask the signs of ADHD, making a diagnosis more challenging.

ADHD  presents in childhood, so if it remains untreated, it will progress  into adulthood. Comorbidities such as depression and dyslexia may also  persist into adulthood. The significant symptoms of inattentiveness,  impulsiveness, and hyperactivity will present differently in adults and  often tend to be far more subtle.

Testing for ADHD

The first step to helping patients with ADHD is a thorough  evaluation. We’ll discuss your history, both medical and personal,  including any medications you have taken for ADHD or therapy you have  undergone. By the end of this evaluation, once we have confirmed your  ADHD diagnosis, we may prescribe medication. ADHD is proven to respond  very well to medication, so long as treatment is monitored. We will  clearly explain what ADHD is and teach you coping strategies.  Additionally, we will schedule follow-up appointments and monitor your  progress, adjust your medication as needed, and offer appropriate  lifestyle advice to further help you minimize your ADHD symptoms.

The  criteria for diagnosis include the two main categories of inattention  combined with hyperactivity and impulsivity. The same criteria are used  in adults but can look different than the symptoms manifest in children.

Inattention:

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Treatment Options for ADHD

There are a number of treatment options for ADHD. Treatment recommendations are based on: