How ADHD Is Diagnosed

How can I better understand ADHD, its causes, and its manifestations?

Diagnosing a patient with ADHD is a complex and nuanced process. This 7-part guide highlights key considerations and decisions clinicians face along the way.

SYMPTOMS: What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

A: ADHD is a developmental condition of inattention and distractibility, with or without accompanying hyperactivity. There are 3 basic forms… | Keep reading on Medscape »

FREQUENCY: What is the prevalence of ADHD?

A: In 2016, an estimated 6.1 million US children aged 2–17 years (9.4%) were diagnosed with ADHD. Of these children, 5.4 million… | Keep reading on Medscape »

PATHOPHYSIOLOGY: Which regions of the brain are involved in ADHD?

A: The underlying brain regions predominantly thought to be involved are frontal and prefrontal; the parietal lobe and cerebellum may also… | Keep reading on Medscape »

CAUSES: What causes ADHD?

A: Parents and siblings of children with ADHD are 2-8 times more likely to develop ADHD than the general population, suggesting that ADHD is highly familial… | Keep reading on Medscape »

INATTENTIVE: What characterizes the inattentive ADHD subtype?

A: Formerly called ADD, inattentive ADHD is characterized by symptoms of disorganization, poor time management, faulty working memory, and a lack of focus… | Keep reading on ADDitude »

RISK FACTORS: What do we know about prenatal and environmental risk factors linked to ADHD?

A: Biological, genetic, and environmental factors — including prenatal and early life exposures — may play a role (and to varying degrees) in the condition’s development… | Keep reading on ADDitude »

EARLY SIGNS: Can ADHD be diagnosed before age 6?

A: The AAP says children may be diagnosed with ADHD no younger than age 4, but that doesn’t mean that toddlers cannot have ADHD. There are real differences in the ADHD brain that are present at birth, and… | Keep reading on ADDitude »


ADHD Then and Now: How Our Understanding Has Evolved

Expert Webinar with David Anderson, Ph.D. | Listen now on ADDitude »

What Is ADHD? Everything You Need to Know Before and After an ADHD Diagnosis

Expert Webinar with William Dodson, M.D., LF-APA | Listen now on ADDitude »

Focus on Inattentive ADHD: The Under-Diagnosed and Under-Treated Subtype

Expert Webinar with Mary V. Solanto, Ph.D. | Listen now on ADDitude »

7-Week Guide to Differential Diagnosis of ADHD, from Medscape x MDEdge x ADDitude:

> DECISION 1: How can I better understand ADHD, its causes, and its manifestations?
DECISION 2: What do I need to understand about ADHD that is not represented in the DSM?
DECISION 3: How can I avoid the barriers and biases that impair ADHD diagnosis for underserved populations?
DECISION 4: How can I best consider psychiatric comorbidities when evaluating for ADHD?
DECISION 5: How can I differentiate ADHD from the comorbidities most likely to present at school and/or work?
DECISION 6: How can I best consider trauma and personality disorders through the lens of ADHD?
DECISION 7: What diagnostic criteria and tests should I perform as part of a differential diagnosis for ADHD?