ADD and ADHD and Finding An Accurate Diagnosis
Psychiatric diagnoses are made in a unique way, as psychiatric providers are unable to obtain objective tests like lab work or MRIs in order to make a diagnosis. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publishes a diagnostic manual used by practitioners to make psychiatric diagnoses. This manual is called the DSM. A few years ago, the APA released the most current manual.
At this time, ADD is no longer included as a diagnostic option, as ADD and ADHD have been combined under the ADHD umbrella. They are made distinct by a modifier option that distinguishes if the symptoms are inattentive only. Common symptoms of ADHD Inattentive Type include difficulty focusing on school or work, forgetfulness, difficulty following directions, and not participating in activities that take too much time.
Hyperactivity and impulsivity are two other traits of ADHD. Hyperactive children tend to fidget, talk excessively, and are seemingly always on the go. However, children with impulsivity tend to be moody, reckless, and impatient – having trouble waiting for their turn.
For most parents, this sounds like any normal kid.
Recognizing ADHD may require the use of parental instincts. Parents sometimes feel like something is not right with their child but have difficulty putting their finger on the reason. Feedback from teachers may hint there’s an issue. However, sometimes teachers find a child with ADHD “normal.” Difficulty in school is sometimes a concern, but again, every child is different and needs to be evaluated individually.
Only a qualified medical professional should evaluate and diagnose a person with ADHD. Subjective evidence (Sally doesn’t sit still in class and is disruptive) is not enough. Quantitative data should also be included in any ADHD diagnosis.
ADHD Testing in Fayetteville
If you suspect your child may have ADHD, the first step is to call our office for an evaluation.
Combined with subjective evidence (Vanderbilt Questionnaire to be completed by parent/s and teacher/s) and a mental status examination, we are typically able to make a diagnosis of ADHD and provide recommendations for the most appropriate treatment. In more complicated cases, we may offer a referral for a psychological assessment to be completed locally. You can find more information about ADHD testing in our Fayetteville office here.
If you have questions or concerns or just a feeling that something isn’t right with your child, we encourage you to call our office. A short conversation can help ease fears and concerns. Our goal is to put you on a path toward a solution that will help your child develop into the fantastic human they already are.