Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): What is it? How do I get tested?

A person completing an ADHD assessment

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): What is it? How do I get tested?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or popularly known as ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is typically diagnosed in childhood. This disorder affects about 6% – 9% of children. However, about 60% of those children continue to have these symptoms as adults.

In fact, ADHD in adults are frequently under-diagnosed and left untreated. Do you think you may have adult ADHD? Are there ways to get tested in Malaysia?

Signs of ADHD

ADHD symptoms should already persist since childhood years. Among the long-term signs that you should look out for are:

Inattention

  • Inability to pay attention to details.
  • Unable to hold attention for long periods of time.
  • Difficulty in organizing, following through with tasks.
  • Often forgetful, lose things, distracted, and disorganized.
  • Dislike tasks that requires periods of long concentration.

Hyperactivity

  • Fidgety, unable to sit still, always “on the go”.
  • Often unable to wait, and would interrupt in conversations.
  • Talks excessively, unable to take part in quiet activities.

While these difficulties can be a normal part of everyday life, ADHD symptoms are instead long-term, persisting since childhood, and is severe to the extent that it affects your quality of life: whether in relationships, work, or your personal well-being.

How Do I Get Tested?

ADHD is challenging to diagnose in adulthood. This is because children oftentimes exhibit obvious symptoms, but adults may instead present with co-occurring issues due to long-term effects of ADHD. For example, an adult with ADHD may present with difficulties in employment or strained relationships, substance abuse, divorce, and self-esteem issues. This may make assessment and diagnosis difficult, considering that the client may already be facing with personal issues worth clinical attention.

Further to that, reports by parents or the client of earlier childhood behaviors can be unreliable and prone to cognitive biases.

However, a competent clinical psychologist or psychiatrist would be able to effectively assess in arriving at an accurate diagnosis.

Cognitive and Continuous Performance Tests

Despite most clinicians conducting their assessments through clinical interviews alone, it may prove to be insufficient at arriving at a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis given the complexities of the presenting symptoms.

This is because there are other possible diagnoses that could impair a person’s cognitive abilities. Could it be depression, or is it ADHD?

As such, standardized psychological testing, such as the administration of cognitive testing, like the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale or continuous performance tests such as the Test of Variables of Attention (T.O.V.A.) will be able to shed light on the client’s cognitive profile.

More specifically, a clinician (such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) will be looking for deficits in some areas of your cognitive performance, such as Working Memory or Processing Speed.

ADHD Rating Scales

Further to that, ADHD rating scales can be helpful in arriving at a diagnosis. Among the scales that has found utility in ADHD assessments are the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS) and the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS).

The clinical psychologist or psychiatrist will namely be assessing if the client is rating him/ herself higher than the cut-off score, as compared to non-ADHD persons.

Conclusion

Clinical interviews alone has shown to be insufficient in providing an accurate assessment of adult ADHD. Instead, a thorough assessment procedure is required, which best practices includes cognitive testing and ADHD rating scales.

A competent clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, who also has access to the psychometric tools mentioned above, will be able to offer you an assessment to conclude if you do indeed fulfill the criteria for adult ADHD or not.

People Psychological Solutions has a comprehensive range of psychometric tools and a competent team of clinical psychologist to fulfill your assessment needs for adult ADHD. Inquire today.

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