The diagnosis of ADS in adults is a very complex process. Since there is no simple proof of the disease, it is necessary to identify ADHD on the basis of symptoms and a detailed examination of the patient. This requires a team of different doctors and specialists. Other causes for the symptoms must be excluded and the severity of the disease must be determined. The diagnosis of ADS is not easy and belongs in the hands of experienced doctors.
How is ADS diagnosed in adults?
By definition, symptoms of the ADHD spectrum occur in childhood, but are easily overlooked or misinterpreted, especially in the ADHD type without hyperactivity and without impulsiveness. Their disease is characterized by social and psychological problems. The severity of the condition is so variable that ADHD manifests itself differently in each individual.
The patient himself often perceives the symptoms more as negative personality traits. Thus, the diagnosis is often not made at all or only in adults. In addition, compensation strategies after years of attention and lack of concentration make the diagnosis more difficult.
If there are indications of ADHD, these usually come from the social environment or from a doctor who is already treating the patient for other ADHD-associated diseases. The diagnosis of ADHD then consists mainly of discussions with an experienced physician, who will specifically ask about the core symptoms of ADHD, typical compensation mechanisms and associated problems. Questionnaires, behavioural tests and interviews with the environment complement the diagnosis.
However, a thorough physical examination is also necessary to rule out other causes of the symptoms. Exactly how the doctor proceeds varies from patient to patient due to the variability and complexity of the diagnosis. This is based on guidelines drawn up by expert committees, which describe, for example, the required symptoms.
In most cases, it makes sense to include the immediate social environment. Many cases of ADHD are genetically (co-)determined and symptoms can also be found in other family members. Family and friends can also usually report abnormalities better than the patient himself.
There are no laboratory tests or similar for ADS. Genetic analyses can detect ADS-associated genes in the patient, but since these do not necessarily cause the disease and such tests are costly and ethically problematic, they are only undertaken for research purposes. There is therefore no evidence of ADS disease.
With enough experience and extensive diagnostics, a specialist can still make a relatively reliable diagnosis and treat the patient appropriately. ADS patients often suffer from other psychological problems. Some of these are caused by the ADS, others occur independently, but with above-average frequency in this patient group. A diagnosis beyond ADS is therefore important in order to be able to recognise and treat associated diseases.