Diagnosing ADHD in Children and Adults

How is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosed? Are symptoms different in adults? Here’s a quick look at common questions about ADHD.

Diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a child requires cooperation among the child’s parents, teacher and doctor, and should be done by a qualified therapist or pediatric developmental specialist.

There are three main types of ADHD:

Predominantly inattentive, in which a child doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes, has problems sustaining attention, doesn’t appear to listen, struggles to follow instructions, and has difficulty with organization, among other symptoms.

Hyperactive-impulsive, in which the child fidgets and squirms and has trouble staying in his seat, is hyperactive, talks a lot, blurts out answers, has problems waiting or taking turns.

Or… a combination of the two.

In adults, common ADHD symptoms include:

  • Memory problems
  • Problems persisting on tasks
  • Problems regulating emotions and motivation
  • High variation in task or work performance
  • Chronic lateness and poor perception of time
  • Becoming easily bored
  • Low self-esteem and high anxiety
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Problems with keeping a job
  • Relationship problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Poor time management

Learn more about ADHD by visiting the National Institute of Mental Health.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest