How Is ADHD Tested and Diagnosed?

How Is ADHD Tested and Diagnosed?

If you’ve ever wondered if you may have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but you were never tested for it as a child, you can still have it as an adult. But the path to getting an accurate diagnosis may sometimes feel a bit more complicated than you’d expect.

There’s no single test that can diagnose ADHD. Instead, your ADHD can be diagnosed through a variety of tests, including a checklist of symptoms, a detailed list of your functioning, and a medical exam. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about how your ADHD is tested for and diagnosed.

The basics of ADHD diagnosis 

To get diagnosed with ADHD, you have to have significant impairment in the following three areas:

  1. Hyperactivity
  2. Inattention
  3. Some combination of both of the above symptoms

But each of these symptoms has additional criteria that must be met to get an ADHD diagnosis.


The symptoms of hyperactivity in adults usually look like the following:

These aren’t the only symptoms of hyperactivity, and it can look different based on the individual. Even though online quizzes may suggest that you’re hyperactive, you really need a professional evaluation to see how you function.


Inattention is more common in people who are diagnosed with ADHD as adults, especially women. Symptoms of inattention may include:

The more of these symptoms you have, the more they may interfere with your daily life, especially at work.

A diagnostic interview

Even though you may have these symptoms, you still have to get a professional diagnosis. The way this is done is with a diagnostic interview. A diagnostic interview is performed by a professional, such as the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center. It uses a variety of techniques over the course of 1-2 hours.

If possible, it can be helpful if one of your family members is available for your interview. Their perspectives on how you’ve functioned, especially if they’ve known you since childhood, can help with your diagnosis.

Standardized behavior rating scale

Getting an ADHD diagnosis also includes the standardized behavior rating scale. The results compare your behaviors to those of other people who’ve taken the test. The test alone doesn’t give you a diagnosis, but it can confirm a diagnosis when placed into context with the results of your interview and evaluation.

The presence of other mental health conditions

Many people with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition. These conditions, which are called comorbid disorders, may be known before you seek your ADHD diagnosis, or they may not. The mental health conditions frequently associated with ADHD include:

All of the above are taken into consideration when giving you an ADHD diagnosis. If you’re unsure if you or someone you love has ADHD, it’s time to schedule a consultation. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center, or request an appointment online.

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