ADHD: Diagnosis

Although some adults received a diagnosis of ADHD as a child, there is still a large percentage in which ADHD has not been recognised. Those affected have often lived a life of suffering – ultimately, there was no appropriate explanation for certain behaviours and characteristics. At the same time, the pressure is often immense – relationships threaten to implode and problems at work get out of hand.

Therefore, for many adults, a diagnosis of ADHD is fundamentally one thing: a huge relief and the foundation for a new start and/or treatment objectives.

Good to know: Your first point of contact for a specific diagnosis is your family doctor or a psychiatrist/neurologist.

ADHD Diagnosis: Methods

Various processes are used to diagnose ADHD including:

  • Medical History
    • When did the symptoms (concentration disorders, impulsiveness, hyperactivity) first appear?
    • In which areas of life do the effects of the ADHD symptoms manifest themselves?
    • Are there any known psychiatric disorders in the family?
    • Are you taking any medications?
  • Specific Diagnosis of ADHD
    Specific ADHD questionnaires are generally used as the basis for diagnosis. They help the patient to better assess his or her symptoms.
  • Physical Examination
    Examining the thyroid gland, taking blood values, ECG, etc. rules out other underlying diseases
  • Discussion with the Caregiver
    A discussion between a doctor and individual's partner as well as with a caregiver from childhood (often relevant symptoms are not remembered by the patients themselves, but others can provide a good description of special characteristics). Even looking at primary school certificates is often helpful.
  • Carrying Out Special Tests
    Determination of cognitive performance and attention performance

As part of any diagnosis of ADHD, it's also important to rule out other mental disorders such as depression and addictions. However, ADHD can sometimes also be associated with another mental disorder. For individualised treatment, it is essential that all causal factors are recognised and included in the treatment plan.

Diagnosis of ADHD – What now?

For many adults, the diagnosis of ADHD is initially a relief. They now know the origin of their problems!

The other good news: There are now effective treatment options that can help manage life with ADHD. In most cases, a combination of different therapeutic components is used.

Read more about treatment for ADHD.