DEFICIT (HYPERACTIVITY) DISORDER (ADHD)
|ADHD should be easy to diagnose, right? Hard time paying attention, maybe some procrastination, and not getting things done?
I've been diagnosing and treating ADHD in the greater Cincinnati area for more than two decades. In those years, I've learned a lot.
Every single diagnostic description of ADHD could be something else. Sometimes people procrastinate because they don't like doing boring things, like reading an assignment. Some people don't sit still while watching a movie or TV show. Some people have anxiety. Some people have depression. Some people can have anxiety, depression, and ADHD!
So how exactly is ADHD diagnosed? Truth be told, there is no one standard way. And there isn't just one test for ADHD.
Back in the (not so good) old days, you could go to your doctor and fill out some forms, that were often provided by pharmaceutical companies that offered (surprise!) ADHD medications, And if you answered with "very often" on all the questions, then...voila! You're ADHD positive.
Fortunately, things have changed. Some ADHD diagnostic centers have their clientele take testing throughout the day which can last for more than four hours. But unfortunately, some practices still use those inaccurate questionnaires in place of an actual diagnostic process. Don't let that happen to you or a family member!
How do I diagnose ADHD?
At my office, diagnosing ADHD is a three-part process. The first session is the clinical interview. This is where I get all the facts I possibly can that could make a case for or against ADHD. I ask questions about childhood, trauma, educational history, work history, and several other things to really get an understanding of the person as a whole, and what's stopping that person from living their best life. I schedule the interview session for 90 minutes (it's not always that long) so I can get a very detailed assessment.
The second part consists of two forms of testing.
The first test is the TOVA. For more information on this testing, check out https://www.tovatest.com/
The second test is the Brief IQ Test. With this, I do not get an actual IQ score (which is why it's brief and not full). Instead, I use it to get a better understanding of how a person performs under pressure, among other factors, about which I go into detail during the process.
For children, I have teachers fill out an open-ended form that I created myself. This form helps me get an understanding of how they're doing in the classroom and lets me see what the teacher sees.
Finally, in the last session, I go over everything I've learned from the interview and the testing. I merge all of this together to get a good idea of the best way forward, even if the person doesn't meet the diagnosis of ADHD. This last session gives me the chance to talk more about the diagnosis, along with discussing a plan including behavioral steps to reduce the symptoms.
Since I've been doing this work, my referral sources have grown exponentially. A number of primary care doctors, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, and fellow therapists in the greater-Cincinnati area have been referring their clients and patients to me for ADHD testing. Once their clients and patients go through my process, these professionals are better able do their jobs, whether that's prescribing or counseling.
As I tell everyone who cares to listen, ADHD is my jam. Email me for any questions you may have about ADHD or anything mental health related!
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