ADHD in Children - Diagnosis

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How did physicians diagnose ADHD in your child?

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How do physicians diagnose ADHD in children?

In order for a child to receive an ADHD diagnosis, he or she must demonstrate six symptoms of inattention or six symptoms of combined hyperactivity and impulsivity, while an older teen or adult need only exhibit five of either group of symptoms. The symptoms should start before 12 years of age, be present in more than one setting (for example, home and work), be severe enough to cause problems for the individual, and not be able to be better explained by another condition for the diagnosis of ADHD. There are three kinds of ADHD: predominately inattentive type, predominately hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) type.

Many health-care professionals, including licensed mental-health therapists, primary-care providers, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers may help make the diagnosis of ADHD in adults. One of these professionals will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination as part of the assessment. ADHD is sometimes associated with a number of other mental health problems, like depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders, Asperger's syndrome, and other autism-spectrum disorders. ADHD is also often associated with other behavior disorders, like conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Therefore, the evaluator will likely screen for signs of depression, manic depression, anxiety, and other mental-health symptoms. The symptoms of ADHD may also be the result of a number of medical conditions or can be a side effect of various medications. For this reason, health-care professionals often perform routine laboratory tests during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed. As part of this examination, the sufferer may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help establish the diagnosis. Some ADHD symptom checklists for children include the Vanderbilt Rating Scale and the Connors' Rating Scales.

Return to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)

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Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 12

Through most of my life I had always felt being different from other children my age. I seem to be the one who is in trouble consistently. I was often the focal point of my father's wrath which I discovered was a form of emotional and mental abuse. I also had an uncanny ability to spot details other people often miss. It wasn't until 1993 when I met a person who changed my life. My friend recognized some of the symptoms of ADHD and urged me to get tested for it. In 1995 I was formally diagnosed with ADHD. After that key year questions which had bothered me through most of my life began to make sense.

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Comment from: Elveretta, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I have been on Adderall XR for a little over a year. It was a GOD send for me. I was able to remember, learn new things, ect. I recently had a mental break down and was sent to a new Psychiatrist, he took me off Adderall and put me on Vyvanse 40mg., after about 7 days I thought I could tell that it might be working, but not much, after the 7 days I started to be unable to sleep. I tried Rozerem . My Dr. had given to me a few week's earlier, but I didn't want to take it. The first few nights it worked then I was unable to sleep again, I feel like the new medication Vyvanse is keeking me awake. When my doctor had started me on the Adderall a year, ago it didn't keep me awake. The Adderall seems to help me more, I can't tell much from the Vyvanse except it won't let me sleep.

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