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A Brief Guide to ADHD Assessment for Adults

by The Anna Centre - 29 Aug 2022, Monday 273 Views Like (0)
A Brief Guide to ADHD Assessment for Adults

ADHD or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a common psychological disorder impacting adults and children. But not everyone who is excessively impulsive, inattentive, or hyperactive has ADHD.

For ADHD assessment for adults, one must consider many vital questions: are the problems continuous or just a response to a temporary situation? Does the behaviour manifest in many settings or only in one place, like the office?

The person’s pattern of behaviour is compared to a set of criteria and features of the disorder. Such criteria have been defined in a manual named the DSM-5. There is also a need to screen out other potential causes of symptoms like medical conditions, mood swings, and learning disabilities.


Kinds Of ADHD

There are two kinds of ADHD and they are ADHD-PIP and ADHD-PHIP. ADHD-PIP is a condition commonly called ADD, a passive form of ADHD wherein the patient displays distractibility, poor focus/concentration, and inattention. ADHD-PHIP, on the other hand, is an impulsive and hyperactive kind of ADHD where the patient manifests symptoms like restlessness, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and behavioural issues.

 Diagnosis In Adults

One may always be misplacing keys, always feel incapable of finishing tasks at work, or might invite the comment- ‘you have ADHD.’ Regardless, gaining an accurate diagnosis of ADHD is the first step toward successful treatment. In addition, it is critical to gain control over symptoms that cause problems in one’s life, personally and professionally.

Though there exists no single genetic, physical, or medical test for ADHD, there is the potential for a diagnostic evaluation to be offered by a qualified professional in mental health or a physician who collates information from several sources.

These information sources include standardised rating scales for behaviour, checklists of ADHD symptoms, detailed history of present and past conditions, and information gleaned from those who know the patient well, like family members.

Some professionals may also conduct academic achievement tests, educational assessments, and cognitive ability to rule out possible learning disabilities. Note that ADHD cannot be adequately diagnosed by simply talking to the patient or observations from brief office visits.

After all, the patient may not exhibit symptoms during an office visit, so the professional must prepare a thorough history of the patient’s life. Diagnosing ADHD should also involve considering the potential manifestation of co-occurring conditions.

The DSM-5 is a clinical manual for diagnosing ADHD. These well-set-up guidelines are used commonly in clinical practice and research. In the diagnosis process, the professional clinician will weigh which symptoms the patient displays and whether they have existed since childhood.



For diagnosing ADHD, there should exist at least five symptoms from the DSM list. In addition, such symptoms can change with time, so adults will exhibit symptoms different from those in childhood.

The DSM lists three ADHD presentations- Hyperactive-Impulsive, Predominantly Inattentive, and Combined.

Following are symptoms of Predominantly Inattentive ADHD:


?      Making careless mistakes

?      Failure to focus

?      Find it tough to sustain attention

?      Failure to listen properly

?      Struggling to follow instructions

?      Find it tough to organise

?      Disliking or avoiding tasks involving mental effort

?      Keeps losing things

?      Gets easily distracted

?      Forgetful in activities

The following are symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD:

?      Keeps squirming in chairs and fidgets with their feet and hands

?      Finds it tough to stay seated

?      Extreme restlessness

?      Finds it tough to keep quiet during activities

?      Feel driven by a motor

?      Excessive talking

?      Answering before questions have been completed

?      Find it tough to take turns

?      Intrudes into and interrupts others


Combined ADHD symptoms:

The patients can manifest symptoms of both Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD and Predominantly Inattentive ADHD.

An professional completes an accurate diagnosis of ADHD is completed depending on the severity and number of symptoms, duration of symptoms, and the level at which these symptoms impact different areas of life like work, academics, or home, with family or friends.

There is always the possibility of meeting ADHD criteria for diagnosis without symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity. The mental health professional should determine further whether other medical conditions cause any symptoms of ADHD.

It is possible that symptoms already existed in the patient before age twelve. It must be corroborated by informants like parents and sources like educa???????tional assessments. The key to ADHD diagnosis is impairment in at least two areas of a person’s life. Impairment is meant by how it interferes with the life of the patient.