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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Diagnosis

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHDAn attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis may be apparent when you have at least some symptoms prior to the age of seven years old, causing some level of impairment.  The impairment associated with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis is usually apparent in an individual's social, academic or occupational functioning.  It must be evident in more than one setting in order to meet the diagnostic criteria.  Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be diagnosed in individuals of any age, but it is usually easier to establish the childhood onset criteria with younger individuals rather than for individuals at a more advanced age.  The three subtypes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are identified as follows: (1) a predominantly hyperactive /impulsive type, (2) a predominantly inattentive type, and (3) a combined type. The following information is used to determine if an individual would meet the criteria for an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis.

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis criteria:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 

  1. Either (1) or (2)

(1)     Six (or more) of the following symptoms of "inattention" which have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level: 

Inattention  

(a)     Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work, work, or other activities.

(b)     Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.

(c)     Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.

(d)     Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace.

(e)     Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.

(f)      Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.

(g)     Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities.

(h)     Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.

(i)       Is often forgetful in daily activities. 

(2)     Six (or more) of the following symptoms of "hyperactivity-impulsivity" have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level: 

Hyperactivity 

(a)     Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.

(b)     Often leaves seat in classroom or another situation in which remaining seated is expected.

(c)     Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).

(d)     Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.

(e)     Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".

(f)       Often talks excessively. 

Impulsivity 

(g)     Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.

(h)     Often has difficulty awaiting turn.

(i)       Often interrupts or intrudes on others. 

  1. Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.
  2. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school, work or at home).
  3. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  4. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or Personality Disorder).

Please see additional information related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on page #2.

Some information from DSM-IV-TR Mental Disorders Diagnosis, Etiology & Treatment

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Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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