9 Unpopular Facts about ADHD
Many people often assume that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with someone bouncing off the wall, buzzing with pent-up, or exhibiting unfocused energy. However, many people with ADHD are not hyperactive at all, and by the time they reach adulthood, a larger majority of hyperactive individuals have calmed down — at least on the outside.
This explains why Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which was widely considered a childhood condition, is today being diagnosed in adults as well. In fact, studies suggest that as many as 4 percent of adults are profoundly affected by the symptoms of ADHD. Most of them can’t hold on to a job or stick with a relationship. They are also chronically late or forgetful.
They may jump into impulse purchases or jobs and relationships without thinking them through, only to regret their actions later. People with ADHD often get stuck in self-destructive patterns or fall prey to addiction and depression. In many cases, they can’t figure out why they struggle more than everyone else.
Facts About ADHD Testing
For many kids and adults struggling with symptoms of ADHD, an accurate diagnosis can be a huge relief. It helps them figure out why they always feel out of step with the world.
Here are a few unpopular facts you might not have known about ADHD testing and diagnosis:
1: ADHD Can’t Be Diagnosed with a Physical Test
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can’t be diagnosed with a physical test, such as a blood test or an X-ray. Instead, health professionals use an evaluation process to test and diagnose ADHD.
During the evaluation, health professionals gather information about you or your child to determine if the preset criteria for ADHD are met. The criteria are drawn from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a product of more than 10 years of effort by renowned international experts in all aspects of mental health. It is the official diagnostic guide used across the United States.
2: ADHD Testing Involves Multiple Screening Tools
Testing for ADHD involves several screening tools, full history, physical observations, self-tests, and other neurocognitive evaluations. However, there is no accepted radiologic or blood test for the disorder. There are, however, hopes that such evaluation methods shall come up in the near future.
3: There are Three Types of ADHD
To correctly diagnose ADHD, doctors often use guidelines established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). There are three types of ADHD disorder according to the group:
For someone to be diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD, they must have at least six out of the following nine symptoms, and a few symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive type:
- Doesn’t stay on a task
- Doesn’t listen
- Doesn’t pay attention to detail or frequently makes careless mistakes
- Doesn’t follow instructions or complete schoolwork or chores
- Avoids or dislikes doing tasks that take concentration or effort
- Trouble organizing activities or tasks
- Easily loses things
- Easily distracted
To be diagnosed with hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, the person must have at least six out these nine symptoms, and a few symptoms of inattentive type:
- Gets up from their seat a lot
- Fidgets or squirms a lot
- Climbs or runs at inappropriate times
- Trouble playing quietly
- Always “on the go” more like being driven by a motor
- Excessive talking
- Blurts an answer even before the question is completed
- Trouble waiting for their turn
- Interrupts others
This is the most common type of ADHD, and people with it exhibit symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.
4: Testing ADHD with Rating Scales
Along with APA guidelines, doctors may use rating scales to help them evaluate and track ADHD symptoms. Here are a few examples:
- The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale: This is a 55-question assessment tool that doctors use to review symptoms of ADHD. It also checks for other conditions such as anxiety, depression, conduct disorder, and oppositional-defiant disorder.
- Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC): This ADHD test looks for things such as conduct problems, hyperactivity, and aggression. It also looks for depression, anxiety, lack of certain essential skills, and attention and learning problems.
- Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) or Teacher Report Form: This scale looks at physical complaints, delinquent behavior, aggression, and withdrawal among other things.
- The Child Attention Profile (CAP): Teachers can fill out this scale to track common ADHD symptoms in children.
5: Diagnosing ADHD Using Brain Wave Tests
The Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System is an innovative scan that measures brain waves. Children and adolescents with ADHD tend to record a higher ratio of certain brain waves. The scan is currently approved for use in children aged 6 to 17 years. However, it is meant to be used as a part of a comprehensive medical and psychological exam.
6: Treatment Methodologies for ADHD
If you are successfully diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, your health-care professional will make recommendations regarding treatment. Typically, health professionals use medications such as stimulants.
Common stimulants that may be prescribed include methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Adderall), amphetamine, lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse). Non-stimulants such as atomoxetine (Strattera) and some level of cognitive behavioral therapy may also help.
Your physician will intermittently evaluate your symptoms using modified (shortened) screenings and rating scales and adjust the therapy accordingly.
Although treating ADHD in adults with medication can be helpful, it is not often adequate. Adults with ADHD still need help getting and staying organized in their daily activities, including their own priorities in life. They may need assistance at critical moments to help them make constructive choices rather than destructive ones.
Moreover, they need emotional support to counteract all the negative messages they have received throughout their lives when their actions didn’t meet the demands and expectations of other people.
7: ADHD Manifests in Different Levels of Severity
In the process of testing and diagnosing someone with ADHD, doctors also indicate severity levels. There are three ADHD severity levels, including:
- Mild: You or your child may exhibit minor impairment in functioning while still recording enough symptoms to meet the criteria for diagnosis.
- Moderate: The impairment is moderately significant
- Severe: Several other symptoms are present than is minimally required for an ADHD diagnosis, plus significant impairment as a result of the symptoms.
8: Accurate Diagnosis is Critical
Many people are often tempted to avoid getting an official diagnosis. Perhaps your thinking is that there is no need for diagnosis if you don’t plan to take medication. Or maybe you fear that being labeled with ADHD might do more harm than good to your child.
But, there are several advantages to getting an accurate ADHD diagnosis. They include:
- Getting diagnosed is key to getting help—even if you won’t use medication as part of your treatment plan.
- There is an emotional benefit since symptoms associated with ADHD can trigger feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or shame about underachieving. A diagnosis can help reduce those emotions.
- By showing evidence of a positive diagnosis, you can get better accommodation at school or in the workplace. Minor changes, such as moving your workspace to a quieter area or being allowed more time to complete tests can make a huge difference.
- A positive diagnosis means that you can begin a course of treatment that will ultimately help make life more manageable.
9: Professionals Who Diagnose ADHD
Several different professionals are qualified to diagnose ADHD. A psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, psychotherapist, and some physicians can accurately diagnose ADHD. Before booking an appointment, be sure to ask if the care provider has specific experience in diagnosing ADHD.
If you’re interested in taking an ADHD test, you might start by consulting your doctor. Even if your family doctor might not offer a detailed evaluation, they can refer you to a professional who can adequately assess your situation.
Some pediatricians and general practitioners are also competent at diagnosing ADHD in children. If your physician suspects that you or your child has ADHD, you can ask for a referral to a specialist to carry out further assessments.
Note that ADHD cannot be substantially diagnosed online, but you can find many useful ADHD quizzes and questionnaires that act as a baseline for self-screening. Taking a quiz can give you the motivation to reach out to a health professional for formal testing and diagnosis.
10: Documents Required for ADHD Testing
If possible, carry copies of any appropriate records such as school, medical, psychological, and employment records to the appointment. For proper diagnosis, be prepared to share your detailed social and family history.
Many healthcare providers often send you a questionnaire to complete prior to the appointment. Be sure to come with the completed forms to the appointment. They may sometimes send the questionnaire to other people such as members of your family or your child’s coach or teacher, of course with your consent.
11: Not Everyone With High Energy Has ADHD
Many celebrities have opened up about having ADHD, like singer Adam Levine and game show host and actor Howie Mandel. However, many people with the condition still struggle to get up off the couch. They were probably the quiet ones in class who seemed like they were in a world of their own. As adults, they may still be unsure of what to do, or they might be trying to do so many things that they end up paralyzing themselves.
On the flip side, a number of people who exhibit some of the traits of ADHD seem not to be impaired by the condition. So, not everyone with ADHD will manifest high energy levels. Regardless of how the symptoms showcase, organizational and self-control strategies can help.
12: Intelligence Has Nothing To Do With ADHD
You will find university professors, successful stockbrokers, artists, business owners, waiters, divers, housewives, firefighters, and people of all walks of life having ADHD. Being smart can help people with ADHD perform much better in life, but having ADHD has nothing to do with someone’s intellectual capabilities.
Through a cosmetic joke or genetic fluke, people with ADHD sometimes have other diagnosable conditions as well. It may be learning disabilities, addiction problems, or even depression. Whatever happened to give the brain attention challenges also seems to hit elsewhere and create more trouble.
13: People With ADHD Don’t Necessarily Have Trouble Concentrating
9 unpopular facts about ADHD testing that you need to read today
People with ADHD often have trouble paying attention to the “correct” things. However, they may spend several hours writing a book, playing video games, tinkering in the basement, or even painting a portrait.
Where they often flop is controlling what to pay attention to. If something doesn’t seem interesting to them, it can take immense effort for them to tune in. This can be a big challenge in a relationship if they keep tuning out.
How to Find ADHD Testing Near Me
All pediatricians and health professionals are trained to screen for ADHD using various screening tools, some of which we have highlighted above. In addition to the screenings, there are also developmental specialists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other behavioral specialists who are trained to analyze other learning differences and related mental health problems. Pediatricians can also refer you or your child to a specialist if need be.
So, if you were searching for “ADHD testing near me,” feel free to reach out to us for more personalized guidance!