The diagnosis of ADHD


Despite extensive scientific knowledge, ADHD is still difficult to diagnose. Therefore, it is most important that an experienced doctor makes a very careful diagnosis at an early stage and initiates the proper treatment for the disorder. Diagnosis involves extensive medical and psychological testing in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the person's situation. The basis for the diagnosis of ADHD in childhood is founded on the internationally accepted diagnostic systems IDC-10 and DSM-V. These systems, however, do not provide explicit criteria for adulthood. The so-called Wender Utah criteria of the WHO is especially formulated for adulthood.

Investigation into the respective criteria also helps to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, exclude causes from the personal environment, and to recognize associated disorders. This is the only way to treat affected people in an individual and successful way.

Disturbances need to persist for at least six months or longer, and they must begin by preschool age to 10 or 12 years. In addition, the symptoms must be independent of external circumstances and need to be observed in more than one environment (e.g. at home and at school or work), and the children need to show a delayed emotional and social development compared to children their age which causes social-, school- or work-related problems.