How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
Only a doctor or trained health care professional can diagnose ADHD
No single test can determine whether your teen has ADHD. Because ADHD in teens may vary from person to person, a licensed health care professional will make a diagnosis based on a history obtained from the patient, parents, family members and/or teachers.
For a diagnosis to be made, ADHD symptoms:
- Must be present in at least 2 life settings, for example, at home, at school, or at work
- Must cause significant impairment in functioning at school, work, or in social settings
- Some symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7
- Symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder
- 6 or more inattentive and/or hyperactive/impulsive symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months to an extent that is not consistent with one's peers
Learn more about ADHD symptoms.
There are three subtypes of ADHD.
Many people living with ADHD may struggle with the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some may experience more of the inattention symptoms while others may experience more of the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms of ADHD. Here are the 3 ADHD subtypes.
- ADHD, Inattentive type: When a person experiences 6 or more symptoms of inattention for at least 6 months. Fewer than 6 hyperactive/impulsive symptoms of ADHD may be present.
- ADHD, Hyperactive/Impulsive type: When a person experiences 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity for at least 6 months. Fewer than 6 inattentive symptoms of ADHD may be present.
- ADHD, Combined type: When a person experiences 6 or more symptoms of inattention and 6 or more hyperactive/impulsive symptoms of ADHD for at least 6 months.
For all subtypes, the symptoms must be to a degree that is not consistent with developmental level.
If you are concerned about whether your teen may have ADHD, take the next step
Find a doctor.
Your family, friends, and insurance company may be good resources. Advocacy organizations may also be able to point you in the right direction.
Prepare for your teen's doctor appointment.
Information about potential ADHD symptoms can help the doctor determine if your teen has ADHD. Take the time to fill out the ADHD Doctor Discussion Guide and share your concerns with your teen's doctor.
If your teen is diagnosed with ADHD, ask about once-daily Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate).
If the doctor thinks Vyvanse is right for your teen, you may be able to save money on his or her Vyvanse prescription.