How Do They Test for ADD?

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How Do They Test for ADD?
How Do They Test for ADD?
  1. What is ADD/ADHD?

    • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is not the official medical term, but has been used as a generic reference to all types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects between 4 and 6 percent of Americans. Both adults and children can have ADHD, but the disorder is more often diagnosed in children. Those with ADD/ADHD typically exhibit difficulty in concentrating, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. There is no cure for this lifetime disorder, but symptoms can be controlled through medications.

    Symptoms of inattention of ADD/ADHD

    • ADD/ADHD symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, and there must be at least six of the following symptoms that impair relationships or schoolwork. Inattention symptoms include: not listening when spoken to, failing to follow through on directions, not paying attention to details, difficulty in concentrating or paying attention, losing things, avoiding mental activities such as reading or writing, disorganization, forgetfulness and a tendency to be easily distracted.

    Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity of ADD/ADHD

    • Hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms include: difficulty sitting still or working on quiet activities, frequently leaving seat or running around at inappropriate times, talking excessively, interrupting, blurting out answers, difficulty waiting and behavior that seems "driven by a motor."

    Subtypes of ADD/ADHD

    • ADD can be broken down into several subtypes based upon the symptoms present: predominantly inattentive with six symptoms of inattention; predominantly hyperactive/impulse showing six or more signs of impulsiveness or hyperactivity; and combined type exhibiting six or more symptoms from each of the two categories.

    Diagnosis of ADD/ADHD

    • A doctor will ask about the above symptoms and if six or more of them have been present for at least six months. An inquiry of both the child's family and his teachers at school will be made to determine if the symptoms persist throughout the day and result in troublesome behavior and an impediment on the child's social development and education. Some disorders can mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD such as: undiagnosed hearing or visual problems, medical problems, or major lifestyle changes. The physician will test to see if any of these are the cause of the symptoms, and if none are present, the physician will conduct an examination for coexisting conditions. Additional assessments for these conditions include screenings for: learning or language disorders, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. The assessment will be made to rule those out or to add them to the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. The physician will base his diagnosis on the assessment of the child's symptoms from the family and school, and other conditions will be tested for to tailor the treatment options available. Parents will then receive information about their child's specific type of ADD/ADHD and how the condition can be controlled.

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