Diagnosing ADHD is a Complex Process

In order for a diagnosis of ADHD to be considered, a child must exhibit a large number of symptoms, demonstrate significant problems with daily life in several major life areas (school or friends), and have had the symptoms for a minimum of six months.

To complicate the diagnostic process, many of the symptoms look like extreme forms of normal behavior. Additionally, a number of other conditions resemble ADHD. Therefore, other possible causes of the symptoms must be taken into consideration before reaching a diagnosis of ADHD. What makes ADHD different from other conditions is that the symptoms are excessive, pervasive, and persistent. That is, behaviors are more extreme, show up in multiple settings, and continue showing up throughout life.

ADHD is not benign. ADHD contributes to, among other things:

  • Problems succeeding in school and successfully graduating.
  • Problems at work, lost productivity, and reduced earning power.
  • Problems with relationships.
  • More driving citations and accidents.
  • Problems with overeating and obesity.
  • Problems with the law.

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