Do you feel like you are having trouble concentrating? Does it take you a long time to finish up tasks? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects many adults daily. At times it can alter how you work and your relationship with people around you. It’s common for many adults not to know they have this disorder until they reach a more independent chapter of their lives.
In this article, we’ll explore all the signs and symptoms of ADHD, and the types of psychological testing healthcare providers use to diagnose ADHD in adults.
Start your journey to ADHD diagnosis with a free online assessment from Klarity. We are a one-stop care center for ADHD diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of ADHD in Adults
Adults with ADHD usually show patterns of specific ADHD symptoms, including:
- Poor time management
- Unable to complete or focus thoroughly on tasks
- Poor social communication
The DSM-5 lists three different presentations of ADHD – inattentive, hyperactive-Impulsive, and combined, explained below:
Adults with inattentive ADHD may have trouble staying on task and experience five or more of the following symptoms for at least six months:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school or job tasks
- Having problems staying focused on lessons or activities for a long time. (lectures, work tasks, and sustainable tasks)
- Does not seem to engage and stay attentive when talking and tends to drift away in thoughts
- Does not follow through on instructions, complete tasks, chores, or job duties, and loses focus after starting
- Often has troubles with organizing activities and staying on task
- Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports and completing forms
- Tends to lose things needed for jobs or daily life
- Often easily distracted
- Forgetting daily tasks
Adults with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may be impulsive and struggle with thinking through the consequences of their actions. If you have hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, you will likely experience five or more symptoms for at least six months:
- Difficulty staying seated for an extended period (in the workplace and in meetings)
- Often fidgets and squirms while sitting down
- Usually leaves situations in certain areas when it is not appropriate (hard time staying seated during a board exam)
- Unable to do leisure activities alone or quietly
- Always “on the go,” and does not seem to take things slowly
- Excessive talking
- Interrupts others when conversing and does not let others finish their sentences
- Often cannot wait for an extended period or their turn (waiting in long lines)
- Often interrupts others (using others’ personal space and items without asking)
A mental health provider often diagnoses this type of ADHD for patients experiencing five or more inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms within the last six months.
Psychological Tests for Diagnosing ADHD
Diagnoses of ADHD can be quite tricky since there’s no single psychological test that determines if you have ADHD or not. Your healthcare provider might use multiple assessments to determine which ADHD disorder you have.
Most licensed providers on Klarity will join you on a video call to evaluate your symptoms by using the clinical guidelines such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria and various types of diagnostics to gather the most precise information that might include:
- A physical exam to rule out any underlying thyroid or seizure conditions that can mimic ADHD
- A diagnostic interview with a detailed list of your current and past medical history and medications
- An in-depth conversation about your symptoms; at times, you will not present with symptoms during your visit; for this, the provider must be very detailed
- An ADHD symptoms checklist
- Standardized behavior rating scales
- Further information about your symptoms from a family member or a loved one that is close to you
- Conduct cognitive ability test to rule out any learning disorders
- The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale: a 55-question assessment by reviewing the symptoms of ADHD. It also rules out underlying mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and conduct disorders.
- Brain Wave Tests: A Neuropsychiatric EEG-based Assessments Aid sends waves into your brain to measure the amount of activity. This test is usually for children under 17, but healthcare providers sometimes use it to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD in adults.
Test of Variable Attention
TOVA is a 22-minute neuropsychological test that screens for ADHD and measures the attention variables in the patient. This computer game includes both auditory and visual tests. In this game, patients are visually shown two simple geometric figures and are asked to click a microswitch when the image is seen. The same concept is behind the auditory test; when the patient hears a specific sound, they will be directed to hit the microswitch.
This test should never be used as the only criteria for diagnosis.
A diagnostic interview consists of a detailed conversation between you and your healthcare provider. You will be asked to discuss your past medical history, family history, and medications. Most importantly, you will be asked about your current history, emphasizing your daily tasks and activities.
Having a loved one close to you can help providers diagnose your ADHD. This can be your parents, siblings, partner, or even a co-worker who has been around you for an extended period. If the person lives with you, this is also beneficial since this gives the healthcare provider a better understanding of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Standardized Behavior Rating Scales
With a multidimensional approach, these scales can be used as various forms of checklists with the guidelines of DSM-5’s underlying conditions and intended use for a third-party individual. This can be your boss, clinician, or partner. This helps providers with appropriate understandings of your symptoms and comes in many variations, like:
Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales
Conners Adults ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS) is one of the most popular tools for assessing ADHD that includes self-report and observer forms that usually take 15-20 minutes to complete. CAARS is issued in two different versions, a long and short, comprising measurements of ADHD symptoms.
The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning
The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Adult Version (BRIEF-A) comprises 75 items that measure different aspects of environmental functioning. This comes in two reports, a self-report and an information report. If the patient is unaware of their behaviors and has difficulty with self-monitoring, the provider would only use the information report.
Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scales
The Barkley Adults ADHD Rating Scales – IV (BAARS-IV) was used to measure current and childhood symptoms. This also comprises two forms, a self-report and an other-report for partners, parents, siblings, or any close relative or friend. This conveniently reliable tool usually takes under 10 minutes to complete both.
A board-certified healthcare provider would additionally perform a medical exam to rule out any underlying issues that mimic ADHD by doing a blood test. This will help rule out any thyroid issues, depression, anxiety, and many more, including any head trauma in the past. Some providers will also issue a urine drug screening test to rule out any substance abuse that could be contributing to ADHD-like symptoms.
Testing for Other Conditions
It has been proven that patients could have a learning disorder or other functionality disorders mimicking ADHD. These can be autism, OCD, dyslexia, language processing disorders, sleep disorders, and sensory processing disorders. Healthcare providers on Klarity will determine if other types of psychological testing is necessary after your initial consultation.
Who is Qualified to Diagnose ADHD
A board-certified physician, like a mental health professional, primary care provider, psychologist, or physiatrist, can diagnose ADHD and provide medications. Providers on Klarity are licensed and certified to give patients a diagnosis of their mental health symptoms, including ADHD.
How to Find a Medical Professional Specializing in ADHD
It’s important to find a qualified, licensed mental healthcare professional that has experience in dealing with this disorder to evaluate you. There are many ways you can seek help and speak to a variety of professionals. This includes physiatrists, psychologists, licensed counselors, nurse practitioners, and therapists who can evaluate your symptoms and find a diagnosis.
You may find it helpful to search on google or ask your primary healthcare provider to refer you to a mental health specialist in your surrounding area that fits your health care plan. Another great resource is to use the CHADD professional directory and search for a listing of ADHD professionals nearby and available online.
If you’re looking for an ADHD evaluation this week at a reasonable cost, Klarity is your one-stop care center for ADHD diagnosis and treatment. We help you find the proper diagnosis and treatment online by connecting you with a licensed healthcare provider in just 48 hours. The evaluation costs a $149 one-time charge, and if treatment is needed, the monthly medication management starts at $25.
What Happens After You Get Diagnosed with ADHD?
Being diagnosed with ADHD can cause you to experience many emotions. You might feel overwhelmed and shocked to discover this diagnosis as an adult—no need to worry. At Klarity, we make it easy for you! The mental health providers on our platform will prescribe the proper treatment customized with you in mind (if applicable). ADHD treatment can either be one medication or a combination, consisting of a stimulant or a non-stimulant prescription.
Get Diagnosed By a Healthcare Provider on Klarity in 48 Hours
The licensed health care providers on Klarity are just a few clicks away. From the convenience of your home, you can sign up and complete a free assessment to screen for ADHD. We’ll then get you in front of a healthcare provider within 48 hours. No hassle, no tension, only ease with Klarity.
After the visit, you will receive your evaluation note signed by your provider immediately, which is accepted nationwide. If you’re diagnosed with ADHD, your provider will discuss with you about the treatment plan, which may include medication, therapy, coaching, or supplement.
Schedule your first visit with a healthcare provider on Klarity today to start online ADHD treatment.
“What is ADHD – American Psychiatric Association”
Accessed Aug 23, 2022.
“Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD – CDC”
Accessed Aug 24. 2022.
“Physcology ADHD –
Accessed Aug 24. 2022.