Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a relatively common but often unrecognized condition. There is currently no single test that positively diagnoses an individual with ADHD. Instead, doctors conduct interviews with the patient and their family, observe the patient interact with others, and administer psychological exams. Additionally, doctors will want to evaluate the individual showing symptoms and rule out any other possible conditions before making a diagnosis.
Most young children have a hard time paying attention or sitting still for long periods of time. When the problem becomes so pervasive that it affects their life at home and with their friends, ADHD may be the cause. For young children who are showing signs of ADHD, school records and a behavior report may be requested from the child's teacher.
With adults, a doctor will look to other family members including a spouse to understand behavior patterns. It is likely that an adult who is suffering from ADHD, had similar symptoms as a child.
Typically, signs of ADHD appear during childhood. While it may be hard to distinguish between the curiosity of childhood and the hyperactivity of ADHD, there are some clear signs to look for:
- Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Misplaces things often
- Struggles to follow through with instructions
- Has difficulty with organization
- Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
- Has difficulty remaining seated
- Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
- Difficulty engaging in activities quietly