Where do i get tested for adhd
Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD
COVID-19: Information for parenting children with ADHD
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a process with several steps. This page gives you an overview of how ADHD is diagnosed. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms.
If you are concerned about whether a child might have ADHD, the first step is to talk with a healthcare provider to find out if the symptoms fit the diagnosis. The diagnosis can be made by a mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, or by a primary care provider, like a pediatrician.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that healthcare providers ask parents, teachers, and other adults who care for the child about the child’s behavior in different settings, like at home, school, or with peers. Read more about the recommendations.
The healthcare provider should also determine whether the child has another condition that can either explain the symptoms better, or that occurs at the same time as ADHD. Read more about other concerns and conditions.
Why Family Health History is Important if Your Child has Attention and Learning Problems
How is ADHD diagnosed?
Healthcare providers use the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5)1, to help diagnose ADHD. This diagnostic standard helps ensure that people are appropriately diagnosed and treated for ADHD. Using the same standard across communities can also help determine how many children have ADHD, and how public health is impacted by this condition.
Here are the criteria in shortened form. Please note that they are presented just for your information. Only trained healthcare providers can diagnose or treat ADHD.
Get information and support from the National Resource Center on ADHD
DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD
People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:
- Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
- Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
- Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
- Is often easily distracted
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
- Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
- Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
- Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
- Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
- Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
- Often has trouble waiting their turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
In addition, the following conditions must be met:
- Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years.
- Several symptoms are present in two or more settings, (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
- There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.
- The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (such as a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder). The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder.
Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:
- Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not inattention, were present for the past six months.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
Diagnosing ADHD in Adults
ADHD often lasts into adulthood. To diagnose ADHD in adults and adolescents age 17 years or older, only 5 symptoms are needed instead of the 6 needed for younger children. Symptoms might look different at older ages. For example, in adults, hyperactivity may appear as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity.
For more information about diagnosis and treatment throughout the lifespan, please visit the websites of the National Resource Center on ADHD and the National Institutes of Mental Health.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Arlington, VA., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults
Although there is no single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD, a diagnostic evaluation can be provided by a qualified mental health care professional or physician who gathers information from multiple sources. These sources include ADHD symptom checklists, standardized behavior rating scales, a detailed history of past and current functioning, and information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well. Some practitioners will also conduct tests of cognitive ability and academic achievement in order to rule out a possible learning disability. ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from brief office observations or simply by talking to the person. The person may not always exhibit the symptoms of ADHD during the office visit, and the diagnostician needs to take a thorough history of the individual’s life. A diagnosis of ADHD must include consideration of the possible presence of co-occurring conditions.
Clinical guidelines for a diagnosis of ADHD are provided by the American Psychiatric Association in the diagnostic manual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). These established guidelines are widely used in research and clinical practice. During an evaluation, the clinician will try to determine the extent to which these symptoms currently apply to the adult and if they have been present in childhood. In making the diagnosis, adults should have at least five of the symptoms present. These symptoms can change over time, so adults may fit different presentations from when they were children.
The DSM-5 lists three presentations of ADHD—Predominantly Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive and Combined. The symptoms for each are adapted and summarized below.
ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Has difficulty sustaining attention
- Does not appear to listen
- Struggles to follow through with instructions
- Has difficulty with organization
- Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Loses things
- Is easily distracted
- Is forgetful in daily activities
ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
- Has difficulty remaining seated
- Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
- Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
- Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Difficulty waiting or taking turns
- Interrupts or intrudes upon others
ADHD combined presentation
- The individual meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations.
These symptoms can change over time, so adults may fit different presentations from when they were children.
A diagnosis of ADHD is determined by the clinician based on the number and severity of symptoms, the duration of symptoms and the degree to which these symptoms cause impairment in various areas of life, such as home, school or work; with friends or relatives; or in other activities. It is possible to meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD without any symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. The clinician must further determine if these symptoms are caused by other conditions, or are influenced by co-existing conditions.
Several of the symptoms must have been present prior to age 12. This generally requires corroboration by a parent or some other informant. It is important to note that the presence of significant impairment in at least two major settings of the person’s life is central to the diagnosis of ADHD. Impairment refers to how ADHD interferes with an individual’s life. Examples of impairment include losing a job because of ADHD symptoms, experiencing excessive conflict and distress in a marriage, getting into financial trouble because of impulsive spending, failure to pay bills in a timely manner or being put on academic probation in college due to failing grades. If the individual exhibits a number of ADHD symptoms but they do not cause significant impairment, s/he may not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with ADHD as a clinical disorder.
Internet self-rating scales
There are many Internet sites about ADHD that offer various types of questionnaires and lists of symptoms. Most of these questionnaires are not standardized or scientifically validated and should not be used to self-diagnose or to diagnose others with ADHD. A valid diagnosis can only be provided by a qualified, licensed professional.
Who is qualified to diagnose ADHD?
For adults, an ADHD diagnostic evaluation should be conducted by a licensed mental health professional or a physician. These professionals include clinical psychologists, physicians (psychiatrist, neurologist, family doctor or other type of physician) or clinical social workers.
Whichever type of professional is chosen, it is important to ask about their training and experience in working with adults with ADHD. Many times the professional’s level of knowledge and expertise about adult ADHD is more important for obtaining an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan than the type of professional degree. Qualified professionals are usually willing to provide information about their training and experience with adults with ADHD. Reluctance to provide such information in response to reasonable requests should be regarded with suspicion and may be an indicator that the individual should seek out a different professional.
How do I find a professional qualified to diagnose ADHD?
Ask your personal physician for a referral to a health care professional in your community who is qualified to perform ADHD evaluations for adults. It may also be helpful to call a local university-based hospital, a medical school or a graduate school in psychology for recommendations. If there is an ADHD support group in your area, it may be very helpful to go there and talk with the people attending the group. Chances are that many of them have worked with one or more professionals in your community and can provide information about them. Most insurance plans list professionals by specialty and can assist those who participate in their plans to find a health care professional. Finally, there are many internet sites that list providers of ADHD services, including CHADD’s professional directory.
How do I know if I need an evaluation for ADHD?
Most adults who seek an evaluation for ADHD experience significant problems in one or more areas of living. The following are some of the most common problems:
- Inconsistent performance in jobs or careers; losing or quitting jobs frequently
- History of academic and/or career underachievement
- Poor ability to manage day-to-day responsibilities, such as completing household chores, maintenance tasks, paying bills or organizing things
- Relationship problems due to not completing tasks
- Forgetting important things or getting upset easily over minor things
- Chronic stress and worry due to failure to accomplish goals and meet responsibilities
- Chronic and intense feelings of frustration, guilt or blame
A qualified professional can determine if these problems are due to ADHD, some other cause or a combination of causes. Although some ADHD symptoms are evident since early childhood, some individuals may not experience significant problems until later in life. Some very bright and talented individuals, for example, are able to compensate for their ADHD symptoms and do not experience significant problems until high school, college or in pursuit of their career. In other cases, parents may have provided a highly protective, structured and supportive environment, minimizing the impact of ADHD symptoms until the individual has begun to live independently as a young adult.
How should I prepare for the evaluation?
Most people are a little nervous and apprehensive about being evaluated for any type of condition such as ADHD. This is normal and should not stop anyone from seeking an evaluation if s/he is having significant problems in life and ADHD is suspected. Unfortunately, some of the common misconceptions about ADHD, such as “it only occurs in children” or “the person is just looking for an excuse,” make many people reluctant to seek help.
Many professionals find it helpful to review old report cards and other school records dating back to kindergarten or even the preschool years. If such records are available, they should be brought to the first appointment. Copies of reports from any previous psychological testing should also be brought to the appointment. For adults who experience problems in the workplace, job evaluations should be brought for review if available.
Many professionals will ask the individual to complete and return questionnaires before the evaluation and to identify a spouse or other family member who can also participate in parts of the evaluation. Timely completion and return of the questionnaires will expedite the evaluation.
What is a comprehensive evaluation?
Although different clinicians will vary somewhat in their procedures and testing materials, certain protocols are considered essential for a comprehensive evaluation. These include a thorough diagnostic interview, information from independent sources such as the spouse or other family members, DSM-5 symptom checklists, standardized behavior rating scales for ADHD and other types of psychometric testing as deemed necessary by the clinician. These are discussed in more detail below.
The diagnostic interview: ADHD symptoms
The single most important part of a comprehensive ADHD evaluation is a structured or semi-structured interview, which provides a detailed history of the individual. The interviewer asks a pre-determined, standardized set of questions in order to increase reliability and decrease the chances that a different interviewer would come up with different conclusions. The clinician covers a broad range of topics, discusses relevant issues in detail and asks follow-up questions to ensure that all areas of interest are covered. The examiner will review the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and determine how many of them apply to the individual, both at the present time and since childhood. The interviewer will further determine the extent to which these ADHD symptoms are interfering with the individual’s life.
The diagnostic interview: screening for other psychiatric disorders
The examiner will also conduct a detailed review to see if other psychiatric disorders that may resemble ADHD or commonly co-exist with ADHD are present. ADHD rarely occurs alone, and research has shown that more than two-thirds of people with ADHD have one or more co-existing conditions. The most common include depression, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities and substance use disorders. Many of these conditions have symptoms that can mimic ADHD symptoms, and may, in fact, be mistaken for ADHD. A comprehensive evaluation includes screening for co-existing conditions. When one or more co-existing conditions are present along with ADHD, it is essential that all are diagnosed and treated. Failure to treat co-existing conditions often leads to failure in treating the ADHD. And, crucially, when the ADHD symptoms are a secondary consequence of depression, anxiety or some other psychiatric disorder, failure to detect this can result in incorrect treatment of the individual for ADHD. Other times, treating the ADHD will eliminate the other disorder and the need to treat it independently of ADHD.
The examiner is also likely to ask questions about the person’s history of health, development going back to early childhood, academic and work experience, driving history, drug and alcohol abuse, family and/or marital life and social history. The examiner will look for patterns that are typical in individuals with ADHD and also try to determine if factors other than ADHD may be causing symptoms that look like ADHD.
Participation of loved ones
It is also essential for the clinician to interview one or more independent sources, usually a significant other (spouse, family member, parent or partner) who knows the person well. This procedure is not to question the person’s honesty, but rather to gather additional information. Many adults with ADHD have a spotty or poor memory of their past, particularly from childhood. They may recall specific details but forget diagnoses they were given or problems they encountered. Thus, the clinician may request that the individual being evaluated have his or her parents fill out a retrospective ADHD profile describing childhood behavior.
Many adults with ADHD may also have a limited awareness of how ADHD-related behaviors cause problems for them and have impact on others. In the case of married or cohabitating couples, it is to the couple’s advantage for the clinician to interview them together when reviewing the ADHD symptoms. This procedure helps the non-ADHD spouse or partner develop an accurate understanding and an empathetic attitude concerning the impact of ADHD symptoms on the relationship, setting the stage for improving the relationship after the diagnostic process has been completed. If it is not possible to interview the loved ones, having them fill out checklists of symptoms is a good alternative.
Many adults with ADHD may feel deeply frustrated and embarrassed by the ongoing problems caused by the disorder. It is very important that the person being evaluated discuss these problems openly and honestly and not hold back information due to feelings of shame or fear of criticism. The quality of the evaluation and the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment recommendations will be largely determined by the accuracy of the information provided to the examiner.
Standardized behavior rating scales
A comprehensive evaluation can include one or more standardized behavior rating scales. These questionnaires use research comparing behaviors of people with ADHD to those of people without ADHD. Scores on the rating scales are not considered diagnostic by themselves but serve as an important source of objective information in the evaluation process. Most clinicians ask the individual undergoing the evaluation and the individual’s significant other to complete these rating scales.
Depending on the individual and the problems being addressed, additional psychological, neuropsychological or learning disabilities testing may be used as needed. These do not diagnose ADHD directly but can provide important information about ways in which ADHD affects the individual. The testing can also help determine the presence and effects of co-existing conditions. For example, in order to determine whether the individual has a learning disability, the clinician will usually give a test of intellectual ability as well as a test of academic achievement.
If the individual being evaluated has not had a recent physical exam (within 6–12 months), a medical examination is recommended to rule out medical causes for symptoms. Some medical conditions, such as thyroid problems and seizure disorders, can cause symptoms that resemble ADHD symptoms. A medical examination does not confirm ADHD but is extremely important in helping to rule out other conditions or problems.
Concluding the evaluation
Towards the end of the evaluation the clinician will integrate the information that has been collected through diverse sources, complete a written summary or report, and provide the individual and family with diagnostic opinions concerning ADHD as well as any other psychiatric disorders or learning disabilities that may have been identified during the course of the assessment. The clinician will then review treatment options and assist the individual in planning a course of appropriate medical and psychosocial intervention. Afterward, the clinician will communicate with the individual’s primary care providers, as deemed necessary.
For more information
Barkley, RA. (2014). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, fourth edition: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Wolraich, M. & DuPaul, G. (2010). ADHD diagnosis and management: A practical guide for the clinic and the classroom. Baltimore, MD: Brooks Publishing.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
ADHD symptom test
The ADHD test includes many different symptoms that in one way or another indicate the presence of this mental disorder. However, the severity of the disease and its symptoms can vary greatly.
This test incorporates the results of previous studies to ensure the validity and reliability of the results for identifying symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Do you have symptoms of ADHD? For each following statement, indicate how much you agree with it.
The ADHD test (IDR-ADHDST) is owned by IDRlabs. It builds on the work of Dr. Lenard Adler and colleagues who created the ADHD Questionnaire (ASRS). This test is not affiliated with any particular researcher or organization in the field of psychopathology.
The ADHD symptom test is based on material that has been published in the following sources: Kessler RC, Adler L, Ames M, Demler O, Faraone S, Hiripi E, Howes MJ, Jin R, Secnik K, Spencer T, Ustun TB , Walters EE. The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population. Psychol Med. 2005 Feb;35(2):245-56. doi:10.1017/s0033291704002892. PMID: 15841682; Adler LA, Spencer T, Faraone SV, Kessler RC, Howes MJ, Biederman J, Secnik K. Validity of pilot Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) to Rate Adult ADHD symptoms. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2006 Jul-Sep;18(3):145-8. doi: 10.1080/10401230600801077. PMID: 16923651; Adler, L., Faraone, S., Sarocco, P., Atkins, N., Khachatryan, A. (2018). Establishing US norms for the adult ADHD self-report scale and characterizing symptom burden among adults with self-reported ADHD. The International Journal of Clinical Practice.
The work of Dr. Adler and colleagues looks at the main symptoms of ADHD. This work also describes certain diagnostic criteria that are intended for clinical use by qualified mental health professionals. This test provides information for educational purposes only. IDRlabs and this test are in no way affiliated with the above researchers, organizations or institutions.
The ADHD symptom test is based on known research on the condition and other psychiatric disorders. However, all free online tests like this one are only introductory materials that will not be able to determine your inherent qualities with absolute accuracy and reliability. Therefore, our test provides information for educational purposes only. Detailed information about your mental state can only be provided by a certified specialist.
As the authors of this free online ADHD symptom ratio test, we have made every effort to ensure that this test is reliable and valid through numerous validations and statistical data controls. However, free online tests like this provide information "as is" and should not be construed as providing professional or certified advice of any kind. For more information about our online tests, please see our Terms of Service.
ADD(H) test for adults
The SDVG.LIFE site is a continuation of the book and therefore new materials must meet the same standards as the book.
Hence the rules for discussion participants:
- - Civilized intellectual communication
- - No personal attacks
- - No policy
Pre-moderation has been introduced for the first few posts.
Adult ADHD Test
ADD(H) test for adolescents and adults 17 years of age and older, in accordance with the methodology of the American DSM-V guide.
Number of questions: 18 .
For more information, see the article from the Notes.
To answer "Yes", the symptom must be:
- Stable during the last 6 months .
- Was expressed in measure not corresponding to the level of development .
- Had a negative impact on academic performance and/or professional activities .
The test is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any disease.
Consult a doctor for diagnosis.
Often makes nervous movements with hands or feet, or fidgets and wriggles while sitting in a chair.
Often interrupts or annoys others.
For example, breaks into conversation, games or activities without invitation; can use other people's things without asking; for teenagers or adults - they can interfere with someone else's work or continue someone else's work themselves.
Often has difficulty waiting in line.
For example, in the shop or at the game.
Often blurts out an answer before the question has been fully asked.
For example, completes sentences when others are speaking; cannot wait for their turn to join the conversation.
Often too talkative.
It is often in constant motion and behaves as if a motor was attached to it.
For example, absolutely unable or unable to stay comfortably in one place in restaurants or meetings; perhaps people around him consider him a restless person or a person with whom it is difficult to deal with.
Often has difficulty playing or spending leisure time quietly.
Often runs back and forth without restraint or climbs in situations where this is unacceptable.
Note: Teenagers and adults may not be running, jumping or climbing but may be restless and out of sorts.
Often leaves his seat in class or in other situations where the person is expected to be seated.
For example, leaving one's seat in a classroom, in an office or other place of work, or in other situations where one is expected to be seated.
Often fails to pay due attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, and other activities.
For example, does not notice or skips details, the work is not done accurately.
Often forgetful in daily activities.
For example, forgetfulness in housework, while doing errands; for older teenagers and adults - they forget to return calls, pay bills, come to a meeting or appointment (to a doctor, for example).
Often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. For older teenagers and adults, this includes thoughts that are inappropriate for the time / place.
Often loses things needed for lessons or classes.
For example, notebooks, textbooks, pencils, books, tools, keys, paper forms, glasses, mobile phones.
Often avoids, dislikes, or reluctantly takes on things that require sustained mental effort.
For example, schoolwork or school homework, for older teens and adults - preparing reports, filling out forms, studying long texts.
Often has difficulty organizing lessons and classes.
For example, trouble moving from one task in a chain to another, difficulty keeping materials and personal belongings in order, sloppy, unorganized work, poor time management, failing to complete work on time.
Often does not follow instructions to the end and does not complete class work, chores, or duties in the workplace.