There is no single medical or physical test to diagnose ADD/ADHD. To determine if you or your child has ADD/ADHD, a professional psychologist or psychiatrist will need to conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which has been standardized by medical and psychological associations of your or your child’s symptoms. Some symptoms of ADD/ADHD such as concentration problems and hyperactivity are common to many other medical conditions and psychiatric disorders. Getting a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis is very important.
The evaluation process should include a detailed clinical interview, a computer assessment or tests based on ADD/ADHD rating scales and a medical prescreen. The interview should cover past and present ADD/ADHD symptoms, developmental history, emotional functioning, academic history, work history, and personal and family psychiatric history.
The computer assessment and standardized tests are based on the DSM-IV criteria for ADD/ADHD and assess for inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity and combined behaviors. You will also probably be asked to name someone close to you such as spouse or other family member totake part in some of the evaluation. If the client is a child, the assessor will talk with the parents about the child’s behaviors.
The assessor will provide the results once all data is gathered. Getting a diagnosis can be the first step to changing your child’s or your life. The diagnosis may explain why you or your child may have struggled with things like paying attention, following instructions, losing things, being easily distracted and being unable to organize tasks and activities. Treatment can help you or your child gain control over ADD/ADHD.