Healthy Living

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?


How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

If you think the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may need to consult your medical practitioner. If you’re bothered by your child’s condition, it would be wise talking to the teachers before seeking medical attention. This will help you identify any concerns regarding your child’s behavior.

Your GP cannot formally diagnose ADHD; however, they can evaluate your symptoms, discuss them with you, and recommend a special assessment whenever necessary. When you visit your physician, you may be asked about the following questions:

• Issues regarding your signs and symptoms or those of the child
• A long family history of ADHD
• When the symptoms began
• Whether the symptoms interfere with the quality of your life
• Where the episode occurred
• If you or your child has recently encountered a traumatizing event like death or divorce
• About any other symptoms associated with a distinct health condition that could be prevalent


If your doctor thinks that the symptoms are associated with ADHD, he/she might suggest a monitoring period lasting about three months to check if the symptoms will improve, remain the same, or worsen. A parenting training or educational program may also be initiated to help you learn about useful strategies that will enable you to take good care of your child. Moreover, if the condition is critical, the physician may refer you to an ADHD specialist.

For those adults presumed to have ADHD, the GP will analyze the symptoms and suggest a comprehensive assessment if:

  • The symptoms interfere with the patient’s quality of life. For instance, if it causes underachievement at work or make it difficult for the individual to enjoy social freedom with family and friends.
  • You’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD since you were young, but the symptoms started during childhood and have always been persistent.
  • Your symptoms are different and can’t be described as a mental condition.

You might be referred to a medical specialist if you experienced ADHD when you were young, and your signs or symptoms are now triggering mild or detrimental functional impairment.


There are several specialists that you might be referred to for a comprehensive formal assessment. They include:

  • Child or adult psychiatrists
  • Disability specialists, occupational therapists, or social workers with exceptional expertise in ADHD
  • Pediatricians

There is no simple test to determine if you or your child is suffering from ADHD. However, your specialists may perform an accurate diagnosis after conducting a detailed assessment that might include:

  • A sequence of interviews with the patient.
  • A detailed physical examination that helps in ruling out other probable causes of the signs and symptoms.
  • Reports from other significant associates like teachers, partners, and children.

The criteria for performing ADHD diagnosis are dependent on behavioral and age factors.

Diagnosis in Children

To be diagnosed with ADHD, the child should portray more than six symptoms relating to impulsiveness, not being active or inattentiveness, as well as hyperactivity. Other criteria include:

• Symptoms that have started before attaining 12 years of age.
• The symptoms have been consistent for about six months.
• The ADHD signs have manifested in two distinct settings like in school and at home. This will aid in establishing if the behavior is a minor reaction to teachers or parental control.
• Symptoms that disrupt the child’s educational, social, and occupational well-being.