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  • Writer's pictureGurprit Ganda

How Do You Check for ADHD in Adults?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often associated with children, but it can persist into adulthood and affect daily life in various ways. Understanding how to check for ADHD in adults is crucial for those who suspect they might have the condition or know someone who does. This blog post will guide you through the process of identifying ADHD symptoms, seeking professional help, and understanding the diagnostic criteria.


How to check for adhd in adults

Understanding Adult ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual's ability to focus, control impulses, and manage time effectively. While it is commonly diagnosed in childhood, many adults remain undiagnosed until later in life. This can be due to a lack of awareness or the misconception that ADHD only affects children.


Common Symptoms of Adult ADHD

The symptoms of adult ADHD can vary widely but generally fall into three categories: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Here are some common signs:


Inattentiveness

  • Difficulty focusing on tasks or following through on instructions

  • Frequent forgetfulness and losing items

  • Struggling to organise tasks and manage time effectively

  • Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort


Hyperactivity

  • Feeling restless or fidgety

  • Difficulty sitting still for extended periods

  • Talking excessively or interrupting others


Impulsivity

  • Making hasty decisions without considering consequences

  • Interrupting conversations or activities frequently

  • Struggling with patience and waiting for one's turn


Self-Screening Tools To Check for ADHD in Adults

Before seeking professional help, you may want to use self-screening tools to assess whether you exhibit symptoms of adult ADHD. Several online questionnaires can provide a preliminary indication:


The Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS)

Developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ASRS is a widely used screening tool that consists of 18 questions designed to identify symptoms of adult ADHD.


The Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS)

This scale focuses on childhood behaviours that may persist into adulthood. It helps identify patterns that suggest long-term issues related to ADHD.

While these tools can be helpful, they are not definitive diagnoses. They serve as a starting point for discussing your concerns with a healthcare professional.


Seeking Professional Help

If self-screening tools indicate potential signs of adult ADHD, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation. Here's what you can expect during this process:


Initial Consultation

During your initial consultation, your doctor will discuss your symptoms, medical history, and any family history of ADHD or other mental health conditions. Be prepared to provide detailed information about how your symptoms impact your daily life.


Comprehensive Evaluation Using CAARS-4

When conducting a comprehensive evaluation using the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS-4), a structured and systematic approach is employed to assess various aspects of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The CAARS-4 is a widely recognized tool that consists of self-report and observer forms, offering a comprehensive assessment of ADHD symptoms and related behaviors in adults.


During the evaluation process, individuals are required to complete the CAARS-4 questionnaire, which includes scales measuring inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and other associated features of ADHD. Additionally, collateral information from family members, partners, or colleagues may be gathered to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the individual's behavior across different settings.


The results obtained from the CAARS-4 evaluation are then carefully analyzed to determine the presence and severity of ADHD symptoms in the individual. This analysis involves comparing the individual's scores to established norms and considering the context in which the symptoms occur. The comprehensive evaluation using CAARS-4 aims to provide valuable insights into the individual's functioning, helping clinicians make informed decisions regarding diagnosis, treatment planning, and intervention strategies.


Overall, the CAARS-4 assessment process plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing ADHD symptoms in adults, facilitating a more holistic approach to evaluation and intervention.


Clinical Interview

A clinical interview allows the healthcare provider to gather detailed information about your symptoms and their impact on various aspects of your life. They may also speak with family members or close friends who can provide additional insights.


Medical Examination

A medical examination ensures that other conditions do not cause your symptoms. Conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, thyroid problems, or substance abuse can mimic or exacerbate ADHD symptoms.


Diagnostic Criteria

To diagnose adult ADHD accurately, healthcare professionals rely on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). According to DSM-5 guidelines:


  1. Symptoms must be present since childhood: At least some symptoms should have been evident before age 12.

  2. Symptoms must be pervasive: They should occur in multiple settings (e.g., work/school/home).

  3. Symptoms must cause significant impairment: They should interfere with social relationships; academic/work performance; daily functioning.

  4. Other conditions must be ruled out: The clinician will ensure no other mental health disorders better explain the symptoms observed.


Treatment Options

Once diagnosed with adult ADHD treatment options include medication therapy behavioural interventions lifestyle changes support groups/counselling sessions tailored specifically towards managing this condition effectively over time


Medication Therapy

Commonly prescribed medications include stimulants like methylphenidate and amphetamines, as well as non-stimulant medications such as atomoxetine, guanfacine, and clonidine. However, non-medical treatment options are also available, both complementary to the medications and as a complete alternative.


Behavioural Interventions

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) organisational skills training mindfulness techniques stress management strategies


Lifestyle Changes

Regular exercise balanced diet adequate sleep routines structured schedules reminders/alarms breaking tasks into smaller manageable steps


Support Groups/Counselling Sessions

Connecting others experiencing similar challenges sharing experiences coping strategies emotional support valuable resources navigating everyday situations successfully


Conclusion

In conclusion, our blog post has shed light on the importance of recognizing and understanding Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is crucial to be aware that ADHD can persist into adulthood, impacting various aspects of daily life. By highlighting the common symptoms and providing guidance on how to identify and seek professional help for ADHD in adults, we aim to offer valuable insights for those navigating this condition. We hope this information serves as a helpful resource for individuals who suspect they may have ADHD or for those supporting loved ones through the diagnostic process. Remember, seeking appropriate support is a proactive step towards better managing adult ADHD and improving overall quality of life.

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