How Is Adhd Diagnosed In Children
Anyone can be diagnosed with ADHD, regardless of age or gender, says Anisha Patel-Dunn, D.O., a psychiatrist in Bellevue, Washington. Similarly, triggers such as increased stress and poor sleep can vary throughout someones life.
Forgoing treatment for ADHD may lead to depression and anxiety, especially in children, continues Dr. Patel-Dunn. This is because untreated ADHD symptoms may lead to a child feeling inadequate as they struggle to keep up with their peers, she continues.
An ADHD diagnosis can only be made by a mental health professional or a general practitioner. No single test can determine if a child has ADHD. Instead, the path to an official diagnosis includes a medical exam, a review of the patients history from parents and teachers and a screening for conditions that are either comorbid or present similar symptoms, such as anxiety, learning and language disorders, sleep apnea and oppositional defiant disorder. The criteria for diagnosing ADHD varies by age. According to the CDC:
- Individuals up to 16 years old must persistently exhibit six or more symptoms for at least six months
- Individuals age 17 through adulthood must persistently exhibit five or more symptoms for at least six months
- Additionally, symptoms must have appeared before the age of 12, be present in two or more circumstances and negatively impact the individual socially, academically or professionally
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Perception Of Symptom Presentation In Women And Girls With Adhd By Knowledgeable Informants
Knowledgeable informants may be more likely to overlook ADHD symptoms in women and girls and are therefore less likely to refer them for diagnosis or treatment. A study published in 2009 explored the reasons for this gender gap in referrals for treatment by teachers of girls.12 In this study, parents and teachers read a series of vignettes that differed only in whether the name of a boy or girl was used. Both parents and teachers indicated that they were less likely to seek or recommend ADHD services when the vignette used a girls name.12 Another study reported that symptom severity had the greatest influence on referral for treatment for teachers,11 but that despite teachers viewing girls with ADHD as significantly more impaired than boys with ADHD, medication was considered as a treatment strategy less often for girls.11
Symptoms In Children And Teenagers
The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they’re usually noticeable before the age of 6. They occur in more than 1 situation, such as at home and at school.
Children may have symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or they may have symptoms of just 1 of these types of behaviour.
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Adhd In The Transgender Community
Most of the sources used in this article do not delineate between sex and gender and can be assumed to have primarily cisgender participants.
While research on ADHD within the transgender community is new, recent surveys state that transgender individuals are significantly more likely to report an ADHD diagnosis.
One study in Australia reports that ADHD is four times more common among transgender people than the cisgender population.
At the time of publication, no research could be found that discussed the breakdown of symptoms between trans men, trans women, and gender nonconforming people. Intersex people were also not represented.
Other Factors Affecting Adhd
When we look at the presentation of ADHD symptoms, age seems to be the biggest factor for differences in symptoms between individuals. However, ethnic and cultural differences can also play a significant role in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
According to research, differences in beliefs, values, and even medical approaches can impact the way that certain behaviors many of which are the direct result of ADHD are viewed.
In fact, various studies have shown that children who belong to marginalized ethnic groups are less likely to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment they need for their ADHD.
Other cultural factors that can influence the perception, diagnosis, and treatment of ADHD include:
- lack of knowledge about the condition
- fear of the stigma surrounding the condition
- lack of trust in the medical system
- reduced ability to recognize when symptoms are problematic
- differences in the way certain behaviors are viewed between genders
- language barriers for non-native English speakers
- no access or limited access to insurance or healthcare services
- lack of healthcare professionals who are culturally competent
All of these factors can play a role in the way that ADHD symptoms are viewed and can lead to barriers in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in historically marginalized communities.
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How Does The Clinical Picture Of Adhd Differ In Males And Females
Dr Johnson Consultant Psychiatrist in Neurodevelopmental disorders goes through how to recognise the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in girls and women.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorders in children and its often a lifelong condition. It is known as a Neurodeveoplemtal disorder which means parts of the brain which control emotions, learning, self-control and memory are affected.
The characteristics of ADHD fall under the following domains. Firstly relating to focus and attention difficulties. Then we have impulsive traits and finally hyperactivity symptoms. Some symptoms include:
having difficulty sitting still trouble concentrating or focusing, being distracted having difficulty staying organised being forgetful tasks incompletion
Other examples of neurodevelopmental disorders include Autism, Learning disabilities and conduct disorders. This list is not exhaustive and new changes made to the 5th edition of the DSM include other psychiatric disorders .
How Is Adhd Diagnosed In Women
Outdated diagnostic criteria and assumptions are also to blame for the low diagnosis rate among women and girls. To help combat that problem, weve compiled the following symptom checklist for women. If you suspect that you have or your daughter has ADHD, please answer the questions below and share the results with your mental-health professional the only person who can officially diagnose symptoms of ADHD.
NOTE: This test is not intended to diagnose ADHD or to replace the care of a health care professional.
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Hyperfocus On Certain Interests
âIt is commonly thought that if you have laser-sharp focus that you donât have ADHD,â says Sarkis. âHowever, ADHD is actually a problem with motivation, not attention. Your brain canât get motivated enough to focus on things that arenât interesting, and it has difficulty tearing itself away from things that it really likes. Hyperfocus is just as much a symptom of ADHD as lack of focus,â she says.
Common Symptoms Of Add And Adhd In Women
by Patient Expert
Not all ADHD presents the same. Some women are hyperactive others are sluggish. Some love having a lot of commotion and stimuli in their lives others need to frequently retreat to a quiet space to recharge.
Consider the list of symptoms below that are not often listed in the ADD literature but which are commonly described by women with ADHD. Is it any wonder that your daily activities can be so overwhelming?
1. Hypersensitivity to noise, touch, smell. Women with small children are often overwhelmed by the constant interruptions, the noise level and commotion at home.
2. Feelings of low self-worth. Women may feel they should be able to “do it all” and feel defeated when they can’t keep up. Juggling parenting and work responsibilities can simply be overwhelming.
3. Hypersensitivity to criticism. Again, high expectations since childhood of being a “good girl” can make women with ADHD more vulnerable to these sensitivities.
4. Poor sense of time, often running late.
5. Being emotionally charged and easily upset. This is exacerbated during hormonal changes.
6. Starting projects but seeming unable to finish them. Do you have piles of empty photo books? Heaps of unfinished sewing projects?
7. Taking on too much. On top of work and parenting, there is often the need for women to take on even more, like volunteering, helping out with school-related functions, making meals from scratch, etc.
13. Problems with word retrieval. This often worsens during menopause.
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What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Inattentive Type In Adults
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neuropsychiatric disorder that makes it difficult to pay attention, control impulsivity or manage excitable behavior . The disorder interferes with the quality of life by intruding on day-to-day functioning.
Three different types of ADHD have been identified based on criteria from the American Psychiatric Association. These are:
- Predominantly inattentive presentation.
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation.
- Combined presentation .
Adults who have significant problems with inattention, but exhibit few or no symptoms of hyperactivity, are said to have the predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD. People with this type of ADHD have trouble paying attention to details, are easily distracted, often have trouble organizing or finishing tasks and often forget routine chores .
How Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Inattentive Type Diagnosed
There is no single medical or genetic test for the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD. To diagnose ADHD requires a careful review of symptoms. A qualified mental health professional, often a physician or clinical psychologist, can evaluate the person. The evaluation consists of these three steps:
Your doctor or other mental health professional:
Technically, to be diagnosed with ADHD inattentive type, adults must have:
- Five or more symptoms of inattention symptoms can change over time
- Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months
- Symptoms must interfere with or reduce the quality of social, home or work life
- Several symptoms were present before the age of 12
- Several symptoms are present in at least two major areas of your life, for example, work, home or social life. Some examples might be job loss due to inattention symptoms or financial problems caused by poor organization or failing to pay bills on time.
- Symptoms are not due to another mental disorder
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Adult Adhd Linked To Elevated Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
Adults with ADHD are at greater risk of developing a range of cardiovascular diseases than those without the condition, according to a large observational study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Örebro University. The researchers say the findings, published in the journal World Psychiatry, underscore the need to monitor cardiovascular health in people with ADHD.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, with a global prevalence of around 2.5% in adults. It often exists in parallel with other psychiatric and physical conditions, some of which have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease . But whether ADHD is independently associated with overall and specific cardiovascular diseases has not received as much attention.
In the current study, the researchers sought to unmask the correlation between ADHD and some 20 different cardiovascular diseases when separated from other known risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, smoking, sleep problems and mental disorders.
Twice the risk
The findings build on national registry data of more than five million Swedish adults, including some 37,000 people with ADHD. After an average 11.8 years of follow-up, 38% of individuals with ADHD had at least one diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, compared with 24% of those without ADHD.
Important knowledge for clinicians
Adult Symptoms Of Adhd
Recognizing ADHD in adults is more challenging than in children due to how this disorder presents at different ages. For example, children are more likely to exhibit outward signs such as an inability to sit still, interrupting conversations, difficulty focusing on tasks, and excessive movements when not appropriate. In contrast, adults have more subtle manifestations of this diagnosis due to both a greater understanding of cultural norms and general maturity. Adult symptoms* include:
- Difficulty organizing tasks at home or work
- Frequent changes of interest in hobbies
- Being easily distracted by noises/other stimuli
- Excessive talking, talking over others
- General forgetfulness
*This is not a replacement for medical advice. Any concerns about behavior should be discussed with a medical or mental health professional.
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Our Perspective: Own It
We believe ADHD does not make us flawed or broken. We are unique and our differences can be a source of compassion and power. We encourage those with ADHD to get connected with the support they need, learn about ADHD, and build on their strengths so they can show up as their best selves, and thrive at work and in life.
ADHD is real and has its challenges, and there are also many reasons to be proud. Here are a few: 25 Things to Love About ADHD.
What Should I Do Next
- If you suspect you might have ADHD, getting a diagnosis is the first step. Whilst this might seem scary and you may have lots of worries about how your friends and family will react, many women who have received a diagnosis say they experience a huge relief. Suddenly there is a reason as to why they have been struggling for years, the treatment plans can make a considerable difference to how the individual is able to cope and more often than not, friends and family are hugely supportive.
- Talk to a GP or mental health professional about your concerns.
- Consider taking notes to your appointment about things you find difficult or have struggled with.
- Talk to family members about whether they noticed any behaviours in childhood
ADHD is a condition that can be hugely disruptive to peoples lives. Those with it often say that their life is characterised with underachievement, frustration and confusion as to why things seem so difficult. A diagnosis can significantly improve things suddenly there is an understanding as to why things are tricky and therapies such as CBT and medication can help improve peoples lives. If you think you might have ADHD consider whether an might be useful.
Read more about ADHD in adults here:
Read more about ADHD in children here:
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Adhd Research In The Female Population Needs More Attention
Over the years, multiple studies have uncovered the subtle variations in how ADHD appears among males and females. The more “silent” types of ADHD, which frequently occur in females, need more attention.
There have even been calls to include more gender-specific symptoms in the diagnostic criteria. For example, internal restlessness in females could be a form of hyperactivity.
Frequent blank stares from a female student should raise just as many flags as the boy who wanders around the classroom. Researchers must begin to explore the links between ADHD and gender to address the gaps and barriers to treatment. Meanwhile, clinicians and society should be aware of these potential barriers and struggles that girls and women with ADHD face.
If you think you might have ADHD, speak with a healthcare professional. Receiving a diagnosis could lead to alleviating your symptoms and improving your quality of life. Share your symptoms with a mental health professional or your doctor so they can carefully evaluate your concerns.
How Does Inattentive Adhd Impact Daily Life
There are both benefits and challenges that inattentive ADHD presents. Some of the benefits of inattentive ADHD include:
- Being adventurous: When ADHD is managed effectively, impulsivity can make life exciting and inspiring. People with ADHD may use this trait adaptively to explore their curiosities and interests in life.
- Creative thinking: People with ADHD are often naturally creative, seeing the world in unique ways and coming up with inventive solutions to problems.
- Increased energy: There are times when increased energy is beneficial. People with ADHD may thrive while performing certain tasks or engaging in certain activities that require a lot of energy.
- Self-awareness: People with inattentive ADHD may find that they are tuned in to how they’re feeling at any given moment, which can help them fulfill their needsâwhether it’s time away from a task when they’re feeling distracted or learning a new skill when they’re feeling energetic.
There are also challenges that people with inattentive ADHD may face. These challenges may be made more difficult because schools, jobs, and social norms often don’t account for people who are neurodivergent. It can feel frustrating to constantly have to advocate for yourself if you have inattentive ADHD.
Women with inattentive ADHD may also struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Below is a list of the potential challenges:
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Childhood Vs Adult Adhd
Many adults with ADHD dont realize they have the condition. ADHD in adults hasnt been studied as extensively as ADHD in children and is harder to define. Adult ADHD symptoms may be more subtle, or look different than they do in childhood.
The diagnostic criteria are also slightly different for adults than for children. For instance, the diagnostic criteria for children states that the person needs to have at least six of the symptoms of inattention and six of the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. In people above the age of 17, the diagnostic criteria requires the person to have five symptoms of each type.
ADHD is not acquired in adulthood it is a developmental disorder that begins in childhood. However, the symptoms may persist into adulthood. Therefore, the diagnostic criteria state that the person should have experienced the majority of the symptoms since before the age of 12. Adults with ADHD often have a pattern of history at school, college, and work.
An adult may not have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child if:
- Their family members and teachers did not recognize the condition when they were young
- They had a mild form of ADHD
- They were able to cope with the condition when they were younger, but started experiencing challenges when faced with the more rigorous demands of college or work