Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders that affect both children and adults.

What is ADHD?
Not everyone who is overly hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive has an attention deficit disorder. Since most people sometimes blurt out things they didn’t mean to say, bounce from one task to another, or become disorganized and forgetful.

To assess whether a person has ADHD, we consider several critical questions: Are they a continuous problem and not just a response to a temporary situation? Do the behaviours occur in several settings or only in one specific place like the playground or the office?

The person’s pattern of behavior is compared against a set of criteria and characteristics of the disorder. These criteria appear in a manual called the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5). Other potential causes that need to be screened out include; learning difficulties, oppositional issues, mood problems, and medical conditions.

Types of ADHD:
There are two types of ADHD:

One is called Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder–Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PIP) and the other is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder–Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-PHIP).

ADHD-PIP, also commonly referred to as ADD, refers to the passive type of ADHD where the individual typically displays inattention, poor concentration/focus, and distractibility.

ADHD-PHIP, also commonly referred to as ADHD, refers to the hyperactive and impulsive type of ADHD where the individual typically displays hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, and behavioural issues.

How is an assessment usually run?
The comprehensive ADHD is a process conducted over 3-4 sessions with a qualified psychologist. The psychologist will ask questions and administer questionnaires about background, educational history, and aptitudes and note changes in cognitive ability (ie memory, focus, concentration, distractibility) to determine if ADHD is present or other related problems.

1. An initial interview with a psychologist: gathering comprehensive background information through interviews with the person and in the case of a child this may be interviews and information from parents and schoolteachers as well.

2. Test administration: by a registered and trained psychologist.

3. ADHD screening and other assessments measure symptoms of ADHD and are completed by individuals as well as other close family members who are able to assess cognitive and behavioural history. Medical screening through a GP or medical clinic may also be required to provide further assessment data.

4. Results & feedback: to explain findings, provide recommendations, and opportunities to discuss any questions you may have with the psychologist. You will also receive a formal report with this information.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a diverse condition characterised by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity; and can have a significant impact on patients’ lives.