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What are the Different Types of Test for Attention Deficit Disorder?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There is no diagnostic test available for attention deficit disorder (ADD). Both children and adults who are thought to have this disorder are generally diagnosed based on a culmination of certain symptoms and behaviors typical of ADD. In order to be diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder one must exhibit a minimum number of symptoms.

Most times, symptoms begin during childhood and it is best to test for attention deficit disorder at this time so that early interventions can begin. Diagnosis in children is often more difficult than in adults because they may have a harder time describing feelings and symptoms. Adults must take an active part in determining any unusual behaviors in very young children so that a proper diagnosis can be made as early as possible.

Children who have ADD may have trouble focusing, their grades may suffer, and they may not be able to follow instruction or finish tasks easily. They may also seem to daydream or they may exhibit forgetful behavior. Noting these and sometimes additional symptoms over time is the main criteria in any test for attention deficit disorder. Doctors may also check for any underlying medical problems which may cause similar symptoms.

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Doctors who work with adults generally test for attention deficit disorder in the same way as they do for children. Some adults may exhibit different symptoms, such as restlessness rather than hyperactivity. Most adult patients exhibit symptoms long before diagnosis, but were not tested for one reason or another. Treatment can be more difficult in adult patients, but medication combined with therapy is often beneficial.

Additional criteria may need to be met before a diagnosis of ADD. Patients must have symptoms which disrupt their lives in some way, have symptoms for at least six months, and exhibit behaviors that others in their peer group do not. These behaviors can include common and uncommon symptoms of ADD.

There are other conditions which can mimic ADD in symptoms. Mood disorders, autism, and fetal alcohol syndrome are all potential causes of attention deficit disorder symptoms. Additional behaviors may set these conditions apart from ADD, but sometimes a diagnosis is hard to make when patients have a mild case of any disorder. This can cause a lack of telltale signs, so medical trial and error may be needed before a proper diagnosis and treatment can be made. Other disorders also commonly appear alongside attention deficit disorder.

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