Can A Blood Test Diagnose ADHD?

Q:

"I've read that ADHD is caused by a deficiency of norepinephrine. Can a blood test show such a deficiency and diagnose ADHD?"

Dr. Larry Silver M.D. is the author of two books about parenting ADHD/LD children.
A:

Researchers discovered that ADHD is caused by a deficiency of norepinephrine (or one of its building blocks, dopa or dopamine) through extensive analysis of spinal fluid, blood, and urine. Newer studies have used brain-imaging to clarify this connection.

Because the studies are time-consuming and expensive, they aren't used outside of the research laboratory. To date, we do not have a biological test to diagnose ADHD. Instead, the diagnosis is based on clinical history and observations.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
 
 
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