Is there a list of things to look for if you have ADHD?
A checklist is a simple yet useful technique for assisting children, adolescents, and even adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Checklists are useful for remembering to finish chores, remaining on track with time budgeting, and keeping track of information.
The following recommendations are broad in scope. They are provided as ideas to consider when getting tested for ADHD, but they are not regulations or mandates in and of themselves. Inquire about the following when seeking an adult ADHD evaluation:
What is the level of detail in the interview? Because adult ADHD is a complicated developmental illness that frequently appears alongside other problems and obstacles, a clinical interview for possible adult ADHD should be quite detailed and comprehensive. A history of previous educational experiences, childhood development, and recent occupational and relationship functioning should all be investigated. A detailed medical and mental history should also be collected, as a variety of other diseases frequently coexist with adult ADHD or can mimic its symptoms.
Is There Any Collateral Data Collected? Patients' self-report is commonly relied upon by clinicians. There are benefits and drawbacks to this. It is frequently beneficial to gather supplementary or collateral information from other sources in order to obtain a more complete history. This is especially true for adults with ADHD, because most of the material needs recall of previous occurrences. Secondary information from educated others (parents, love partners, friends, etc.) can be quite helpful throughout the evaluation process. Furthermore, when available for physicians to evaluate, earlier paperwork such as old grade and high school report cards, previous standardized test scores, and other records are frequently beneficial.
Are there any specific DSM-5 criteria for the diagnosis that have been met or not met? Despite the fact that the DSM-5 criteria have been challenged for relying on self-report, most mental health clinicians still use them to diagnosis ADHD. This is critical if we are to reach a consensus on what ADHD in adults is and is not. As a result, the DSM-5 criteria for ADHD should be evaluated in either a written or spoken style during the evaluation procedure.
Is a thorough examination of other possible or co-occurring conditions performed? Because ADHD is frequently associated with other difficulties (learning disabilities, OCD, tic disorders, depression, anxiety, sensory processing issues), and because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other neurological and psychiatric conditions (head trauma, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, sleep apnea), evaluating for ADHD is really examining for an exclusionary diagnosis. In other words, through a careful interview, collateral information, and standardized testing, other conditions that commonly occur with ADHD or that appear to be ADHD should be ruled out or detected in the evaluation. This is critical not only for a correct diagnosis, but also for developing the best treatment plan feasible.
Are Cognitive and Personality Tests Used to Back Up Claims? Cognitive exams and specific test patterns are not fundamental diagnostic components of adult ADHD, unlike intellectual disability (previously known as mental retardation) or Alzheimer's disease. Certain cognitive domains, however, are consistently significantly impacted by ADHD in adulthood. As a result, administering a variety of cognitive tests can help provide objective data on the existence or absence of ADHD in adults, as opposed to self-report and collateral data. Furthermore, a personality assessment can aid in documenting the impact of ADHD on an individual, as well as determining whether other disorders are present in addition to ADHD, or whether another diagnosis can better explain the person's ADHD-like symptoms.
Is a full-fledged treatment plan available? This is, in some ways, the most crucial question of all. What can be done, given that the assessment was correct in the first place? Most persons seeking professional help will not benefit from leaving with a new label and a store-bought self-help book. In actuality, as a healthcare consumer, the patient is entitled to a detailed and actionable plan to treat all of the problems and symptoms indicated in the evaluation, to the degree that they can be handled. This could include medication, counselling, social skills training, support groups, information about the illnesses, family interventions, couples work, and/or a variety of other effective or well-established intervention strategies accessible in their region. Of course, the treatment plan will be based on the problem(s) found during the evaluation, but all problems should be addressed in some way in order for the treatment plan to be as useful to the person seeking the evaluation as possible.