Why You May Need Testing For ADHD
Do you find that you have a difficult time sitting still or can only concentrate for short periods of time? Both adults and children who suffer from some of these symptoms could have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is a relatively common problem in this modern age, but it is still important to pursue an accurate diagnosis through a required psychological evaluation and the proper treatment for your issue. However, you first need a thorough understanding of what you might be experiencing and how it can affect your daily life.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is characterized by a marked increase in energy levels, an inability to sit still for long periods of time, and an extremely short attention span. There are generally considered to be three different types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive, and combined type. Each category comes with its own list of potential symptoms that you might experience.
Inattentive ADHD must have several of the following symptoms:
- Cannot pay close attention to the details or makes careless mistakes on assigned tasks
- Difficulty remaining focused on tasks or activities
- Does not appear to listen when spoken to
- Does not follow through on instructions or complete tasks
- Difficulty organizing tasks
- Dislikes tasks that require mental effort
- Frequently loses things
- Easily distracted
- Often forgets daily tasks
Hyperactive or impulsive ADHD exhibits a slightly different set of symptoms:
- Fidgets with objects or taps hands and feet
- Unable to remain seated
- Runs and climbs where it is not appropriate to do so
- Unable to play quietly
- Acts as if driven by a motor
- Talks too much or blurts out an answer before the question has finished
- Difficulty waiting for turns
- Interrupts or intrudes on others
As you might imagine, experiencing these symptoms in your daily life can significantly impact your performance at work and school. You might have a difficult time focusing on reading material to prepare for an upcoming exam, leading to poor grades and a difficult time in class. At work, you may have a challenging time remaining focused on the task at hand, leaving many things unfinished in your hurry to move onto the next thing.
School and work performance are the most common areas to suffer when you have ADHD, but your personal relationships are also affected by the disorder. Other people can become frustrated when you repeatedly forget to return their phone calls, constantly interrupt them when they are speaking, and seem to never listen when they are trying to have a conversation with you.
Pursuing the Proper ADHD Treatment
Because it is such a pervasive problem in every aspect of your daily life, you must begin to pursue proper treatment. This starts with an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are no lab tests that can accurately determine whether you have ADHD. Instead, you must undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to determine whether it is indeed the cause of your struggles.
Once an accurate diagnosis is received, you can begin to pursue treatment. There are two main types of treatment that are recognized for individuals who are diagnosed with ADHD: medication and therapy.
Medications can be used under the guidance of a skilled doctor or psychiatrist who has experience working with ADHD patients. This can often bring great relief from the more distracting symptoms of the disorder, but it shouldn’t be used alone. Patients have a greater chance of forming new and healthier habits when they use this medication in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
On the other hand, behavioral therapy helps to teach that there are positive rewards for performing the desired behaviors and consequences for other choices. It may also require the help of people within the patient’s family in order to be as effective as possible. But of course, the overall goal here is to help people with ADHD learn how to better organize their lives and take back control of their behavior.
Why is a Neuropsychological Evaluation Important in Diagnosing ADHD ?
The most important reason to obtain a neuropsychological evaluation is to ensure that you are receiving an accurate diagnosis.
This is the first step toward obtaining the proper treatment so that you or your loved one can begin to live a productive and successful life. Unfortunately, an accurate diagnosis can be difficult without a thorough evaluation that tests all of your cognitive functions.
A psychological test for ADHD includes assessment if your intelligence, memory and attention, language, executive functioning, and even your personality.
Each of these areas of cognition is incredibly important to help create a more accurate picture of your struggles with inattention and hyperactivity. They can help to pinpoint whether the issues are caused by an attention deficit disorder or whether there may be an underlying cause for your symptoms.
Many other conditions can cause symptoms that very closely mirror those found in patients with ADHD. Take a look at this list of potential issues that could cause symptoms very similar to those found in patients with ADHD:
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse problems
- Sensory integration issues
- Learning disabilities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
In order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and pursue the proper treatment, you and your clinician have to be absolutely certain that you are struggling with ADHD.
A neuropsychological evaluation is the best and most thorough way to ensure that you have an accurate picture of your cognition and mental health.
How Long Does the Battery Take?
Because a neuropsychological evaluation is so thorough, you should be prepared to spend half a day with your tester. It takes approximately 3-6 hours to complete a full work-up of each area that needs to be tested. This can often cause fatigue throughout the day, so be sure to get a good night’s rest before your evaluation. You may also want to remember to bring something to snack on during your examination.
Remember that doing your best work on this evaluation is incredibly important to help you obtain the proper treatment for your disorder or to pinpoint underlying causes of your symptoms. The sooner that you seek help for this potential disorder, the sooner you can find relief from the symptoms that bother you on a daily basis.
If you or your loved one is in need of psychological testing, we are here to help.
Please fill out the form below and click on submit. One of our licensed therapists will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss your unique case.