Is there an ADHD questionnaire?
There are many questionnaires on ADHS. Various agencies have designed such self-tests for adults, children, their relatives and for teachers. In these questionnaires, the typical symptoms and accompanying symptoms are asked.
How useful, serious and well-founded these tests are depends on the provider. Furthermore, the appearance of ADHD is too variable to be reliably detected by standardised tests. These tests therefore only provide initial indications of an attention deficit disorder and cannot replace a diagnosis by a doctor.
How is the diagnosis made in adults?
In adults the diagnosis is somewhat more complicated than in children. After years of symptomatology, adults develop compensatory strategies, avoid situations in which their attention deficit disorder becomes obvious and suffer more from social and psychological problems. They are usually not aware of their disorder and therefore attribute the symptoms to their own personality.
Since the diagnosis is based on symptoms that may mask themselves in adults, it is more difficult to make a diagnosis in adults. Patients are often under treatment for concomitant diseases, e.g. depression, and only then does the doctor detect indications of ADHD. If a suspicion is raised, the diagnosis is similar to that of a child.
The physician focuses on the main symptoms of attention deficit disorder, impulsiveness and hyperactivity and asks about these in the patient interview and by means of questionnaires. Since these symptoms can manifest themselves quite differently in adults, however, the doctor must investigate very carefully, process the years of medical history and filter out any compensation strategies. The environment and family are also interviewed, as they have known the patient since childhood and often several members of a family suffer from ADHD symptoms.
In addition to questioning the patient, additional tests, e.g. of intelligence, behaviour and also physical examinations are carried out to exclude other causes for the symptoms and to be able to narrow down the form of ADHD. In adults, the diagnosis is made by the doctor who notices the ADHD symptoms or to whom the patient himself/herself turns. In most cases, this is the family doctor treating the patient or the psychologist or psychiatrist if the patient is already under treatment for typical ADHD concomitant diseases such as depression.
The patient himself is rarely aware of his illness and is usually informed about it by his environment or the treating physician. Due to the high risk of concomitant diseases, an examination by various specialists is recommended. Guidelines for diagnosis are based on the three core symptoms of attention deficit disorder, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
For each of these symptoms there are typical manifestations and examples which the doctor will ask for. In addition, the symptoms must have existed in the long term since childhood and must restrict the patient in several areas of his life. Just as important as the recording of the symptoms is the exclusion of other causes, however, since ADHD abnormalities can also occur in other diseases and even in healthy people.