Can You Self-Diagnose ADHD?

Although you cannot self-diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning more about the condition can help you recognise its symptoms. It needs to be assessed by a qualified expert.

One prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder is ADHD. Both adults and children can have it, though children are usually diagnosed with it first.

6 million youngsters between the ages of 3 and 17 suffer from ADHD in the United States alone.

ADHD is characterised by hyperactivity and inattention. Given the prevalence of the disorder, one could naturally ask if undiagnosed ADHD could be the cause of personal issues with energy and focus.

You cannot self-diagnose ADHD, but being aware of its symptoms can aid in your search for a diagnosis.

ADHD needs to be evaluated by a licenced medical practitioner since it is a recognised medical disorder.

Is ADHD self-diagnosable?

Although you can't officially diagnose ADHD on your own, you might be able to identify its symptoms in yourself.

The following medical specialists are qualified to diagnose ADHD:
  • primary care physicians
  • paediatricians
  • neurologists
  • psychiatrists
  • social workers
  • professional counsellors and therapists
  • nurse practitioners
  • physician assistants
  • neuropsychologists
  • psychologists

Why can’t you self-diagnose ADHD?

Without the necessary degree of training, complicated diseases like ADHD cannot be self-diagnosed for a variety of reasons.

Obtaining a formal diagnosis is necessary to organise treatment.

For the majority of levels of professional care and support services for ADHD, even if you can identify your symptoms, a professional diagnosis is necessary.

For instance, without a formal diagnosis, you will not be permitted to prescribe ADHD drugs to yourself.

ADHD symptoms can overlap with other disorders

It is impossible to determine whether what you are going through is ADHD without the right training.

A neurodevelopmental disorder is ADHD. In addition to having particular symptoms, it has intricate neurological foundations. It may include anatomical alterations to the brain's frontal lobe.

Diagnoses of ADHD are made by medical professionals who have had extensive training in both these causes and symptoms. This enables them to differentiate ADHD from other disorders that could have comparable symptoms.

Skilled specialists can distinguish between signs of ADHD and other conditions, such as sensory processing disorder (SPD), based on their education and expertise. Moreover, hyperactivity and restlessness are possible indications of SPD.

You can't tell with certainty whether you have ADHD or something else without this official training.

It is more difficult to be objective with oneself.

Other reasons why only specialists can diagnose ADHD include the possibility of bias and misinterpretation.

Naturally, when you self-diagnose a medical problem, you are drawing from your own experiences as well as ideas, concerns, and preconceived assumptions. These may skew your perspective of how you're feeling and affect how you evaluate your health.

For instance, you can be unconsciously hyperaware of hyperactive or inattentive behaviours if you have a family with ADHD. Your hyperawareness may make these behaviours seem more important when you observe them in yourself.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

An official diagnosis of ADHD can be made by a trained medical practitioner when:
  • Your experience aligns with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) diagnostic criteria.
  • All other potential reasons have been eliminated.
According to the DSM-5-TR, children with ADHD are diagnosed when they exhibit six or more symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention that have persisted for at least six months at a rate that deviates from typical development.

Merely five indications of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention are required for a diagnosis in adults and children over the age of 17.

However, there are other factors than symptoms that determine ADHD. A qualified specialist takes into account your past medical history, the DSM-5-TR criteria, and any additional symptoms you may be having.

The expert will ask you to describe your typical day and the unique difficulties you face regularly during the evaluation.

They can ask you to explain how your experience impacts key domains of functioning, such as employment, education, or interpersonal relationships, and to what degree.

The doctor can inquire about the age at which you first became aware of your symptoms if you are an adult. According to the DSM-5-TR, there must be proof of at least a few formal symptoms before the age of 12 to diagnose ADHD in an adult.

To rule out other potential illnesses, the expert may ask for more testing or discussions with other doctors before making a diagnosis.

Signs you may have ADHD

While it is not technically possible to diagnose ADHD on your own, you may precisely identify its symptoms.

Typical symptoms of ADHD include persistent patterns of:
  • excessive talking
  • blurting out responses
  • impatience
  • interrupting
  • excessive drive to be moving
  • missing details
  • careless mistakes
  • misplacing important items
  • forgetfulness
  • fidgeting
  • restlessness
  • movement inappropriate to a situation, like leaving your seat during class
  • difficulty staying focused during long-format events, like lectures
  • absent listening
  • distractibility
  • poor time management
  • lack of organization
Everybody is uniquely affected by ADHD. Not everyone with excessive talkativeness or restlessness has ADHD.

Multiple symptoms that interfere with daily functioning over a considerable period are required for a formal diagnosis.

What to do if you think you have ADHD

The first thing to do if you believe you may have undiagnosed ADHD is to talk to your primary care physician about your symptoms or to get help immediately from a licenced mental health expert.

If you are without a primary care physician, you can locate local healthcare providers by getting in touch with:
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • FindTreatment.gov
  • CMS.gov
You can only properly diagnose ADHD and rule out other medical issues by speaking with a qualified expert.

To assist you better grasp ADHD, it may be beneficial to read up on the condition before your visit. Self-diagnosis and self-education, however, cannot take the place of medical attention from a professional.

Bottom line

It is not possible to formally self-diagnose ADHD, even though it may be easy to precisely identify its indications and symptoms.

The symptoms of ADHD can be similar to those of other complicated disorders. ADHD can only be diagnosed by a qualified specialist.

Speaking with a mental health specialist or your primary care physician can help you get an official diagnosis if you think you may be suffering from undiagnosed ADHD.


Can I get diagnosed with ADHD by myself?

Your specialist can make an accurate diagnosis after a detailed assessment

Can you self-test for ADHD?

Only a clinician can accurately diagnose ADHD.

Do I have ADHD or am I just lazy?

ADHD and laziness Are Not the Same

Can ADHD be cured?

there is no cure for ADHD

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