IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ADULT ADHD EVALUATIONS
An evaluation for adult ADHD requires at least two appointments due to it being a detailed process. The diagnostic criteria for ADHD are very specific and extend beyond the existence of symptoms. Our psychologists follow recommended standards of practice when evaluating a patient for ADHD. If we cannot determine that the patient meets all diagnostic criteria, the diagnosis cannot be made.
There is no test that confirms a diagnosis of ADHD. One reason for that is that current symptoms are not enough to diagnose ADHD. Even tests that directly measure attention may show that a patient has difficulty focusing, but they do not diagnose ADHD. Individuals may have problems with focus for various reasons, and attention tests do not indicate the cause of the symptoms, only that the symptoms exist. For this reason, we may rely on your report of symptoms and not conduct direct tests of attention at all.
The basic parts of an ADHD evaluation include:
1. Conducting a detailed clinical interview with the patient. We may ask for prior medical records, academic records, and/or collateral interviews with other people in the patient's life.
2. Administering symptom rating scales to the patient and, usually, at least one other person who knows the patient well (e.g. a parent, best friend, spouse, coworker).
3. Ruling out other possible explanations for the symptoms. This is why we ask about way more than just your attention problems during the evaluation.
We may conduct additional testing when we feel that it is clinically necessary. Additional testing is used to gather additional information or to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.
Other tests we might use:
IQ and/or achievement testing to rule out a learning disorder and to assess cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Tests of attention and other aspects of executive functioning.
Psychological tests to examine for other mental health problems that may be causing or contributing to the symptoms.