If anyone thinks they have symptoms of ADHD or has a child that they think may have ADHD, they should see their doctor. An accurate diagnosis allows for appropriate treatment to be started.
To diagnose ADHD, a person must show a regular pattern of behavior of hyperactivity or inattention that interferes with functioning. There is not one specific test to determine if a person has ADHD, but specific criteria have been developed to diagnose the condition.
It is important that a specialist practitioner, such as a psychologist or a pediatrician, makes any diagnosis for ADHD. The doctor will make a judgment based on the guidelines outlined in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
For a child or teenager 16 years or younger to be diagnosed with any type of ADHD, they must have at least six of the nine main symptoms. Teenagers 17 years and older, as well as adults, must have five or more symptoms, which have been present before age 12.
Symptoms should be present for a minimum of 6 months and be inappropriate for the child's development level. Doctors also consider whether symptoms are present in two or more environments, such as at home and school, and whether they interfere with normal functioning.