How is ADHD diagnosed?

Only a doctor can diagnose your child with ADHD

Patient, caregiver and healthcare provider portrayals

If you're concerned that your child might have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), talk to his or her doctor or healthcare provider about it. Only a doctor or a healthcare provider can diagnose ADHD.

ADHD is diagnosed
based on specific criteria

The official criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD in children say that 6 or more inattentive symptoms and/or 6 or more hyperactive/impulsive symptoms (5 or more in people 17 or older) must occur for at least 6 months.

In addition:

  • Several inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive symptoms must have been present prior to age 12.
  • Several symptoms must be present in 2 or more settings, for example, at home, at school, or in social settings.
  • There must be clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with social, academic, or work functioning.
  • Symptoms are not due to another mental disorder.

These are not the only criteria used to diagnose ADHD. Diagnosis should be based on a complete history and evaluation by a healthcare provider. Remember, only a doctor or other trained healthcare provider can accurately diagnose ADHD.

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