How ADHD Is Diagnosed

DSM-V: The Last Word on Mental Health

The new bible of psychiatric diagnosis – the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) – goes on sale today. Used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, including attention deficit, the manual is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in […]

ADHD is not a behavior disorder. It is a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system — a neurological condition that impacts executive functions. Finding a medical professional who understands this, and knows how to recognize symptoms in adults, is half the battle. During an initial consultation, you should expect your doctor to review the ADHD criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV). Intelligence tests, broad-spectrum scales, computer tests, and even brain scans may follow to ensure an accurate diagnosis. To learn more about who’s qualified to diagnose ADHD and how it’s done, click here.
ADHD is not a behavior disorder. It is a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system — a neurological condition that impacts executive functions. Finding a medical professional who understands this, and knows how to recognize symptoms in adults, is half the battle. During an initial consultation, you should expect your doctor to review the ADHD criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV). Intelligence tests, broad-spectrum scales, computer tests, and even brain scans may follow to ensure an accurate diagnosis. To learn more about who’s qualified to diagnose ADHD and how it’s done, click here.

The new bible of psychiatric diagnosis – the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) – goes on sale today. Used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, including attention deficit, the manual is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health.

The diagnostic criteria for ADHD are similar to those in the DSM-IV. The same 18 symptoms are used as in DSM-IV and continue to be divided into two symptom domains: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, of which at least six symptoms in one domain are required for diagnosis.

A small change has been made in the onset criterion – from “symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years” to “several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present prior to age 12.” In addition, the DSM-V allows a comorbid diagnosis with autism spectrum disorder.

Click for highlights of all the changes in the new DSM-V.

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