ADHD testing near me
Doctors at an ADHD testing center near you will ask you questions to see if you have any symptoms that could be related to inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Different elements of the ADHD exam can be used to see common signs and symptoms of ADHD that correspond to DSM-V criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), allowing doctors to make an accurate assessment of their patients.
Personality differences, cultural variances, and expectations based on the observer's background and belief system all play a role. "Tough graders" may exaggerate their reports, making it sound like a child is a perfect hellion in class or a wreck because they "should" be getting A's instead of B's. "Tough graders" include really strict teachers but also other people (parents, spouses) who tend to be behaviorally rigid, demanding, and judgmental. Alternatively, they may believe that their (perhaps soon-to-be ex-) spouse is the devil incarnate due to impulsivity and inattention. During the clinic appointment, we may be less impressed by the intensity of these symptoms (or the reverse could be true). We're not the ones who taught or raised this youngster, and we're not the ones who live with this adult, so we may underestimate their amount of impairment in the well-defined and self-contained environment of a medical consultation.
The point is this: Building on what we discussed in the previous piece, the point is this: The definition of ADHD has changed dramatically since it was given its current term, and it has gone from being regarded a "moral defect" limited to school-aged children to a "attentional deficit" that can last a lifetime in less than a century. The disorder was first identified in children who couldn't perform or behave in a structured classroom setting, and it's only been in the last decade that the psychiatric community has officially recognized (via DSM criteria) that children with ADHD don't simply "grow out of it"—their symptoms persist, but they develop coping mechanisms and adjust their lives to accommodate their ADHD. They avoid slower-paced, quiet employment with delayed benefits, for example—kids with ADHD don't normally grow up to be librarians or government managers waiting for their pension to kick in. Sports professionals, salespeople, firefighters, musicians, visual artists, professional chefs, entertainers, retail, and the rare high-powered serial entrepreneur are among those who pick stimulating and fast-paced occupations with short-term payoffs/reward systems.
How will doctors define and diagnose ADHD in the future? Some of our patients hope that one day there will be a "brain scan, DNA test, or whatever" that can be used to diagnose ADHD. Unfortunately, MRIs can only depict the brain's general structure right now. An MRI is not a microscope, even though it can look into the brain in three dimensions. Its resolution is about the same as the naked eye. Currently available brain scans are unable to detect small changes in brain structure that may be at the root of ADHD and other behavioral and emotional disorders. Even if we improve our ability to picture the brain to a far higher resolution, simply seeing precise anatomy will not be enough to tell a clinician how the brain WORKS—that is, the intricate wiring and activity levels of brain cells, much alone what the chemicals flying between them are doing. Similarly, while we can currently analyze a patient's genome, it will be some time before we can consistently anticipate what a DNA sequence implies clinically—that is, which genetic differences, especially when combined, predictably lead to disparities in attention (or other psychiatric issues).
Perhaps one day a doctor will be able to order a test that will provide all of the diagnostic information required to make a diagnosis, but that day is not now. Perhaps, in the future, professionals will laugh at us and today's diagnostic criteria—very it's likely, almost certain—but for now, the art of medicine and diagnostic criteria remain the greatest way to explain and diagnose ADHD.