If you’re concerned that you or your child has ADHD, you’re not alone.
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of people, is among the most misdiagnosed psychological condition, and can create stress on your relationships and in day-to-day life.
Problems concentrating, organizing or completing work or other tasks, and feeling like you’re easily distracted are commonplace if you have ADHD. If your child has trouble focusing at school or is often accused of ‘acting out’ or ‘daydreaming’, they may be experiencing symptoms of ADHD.
ADHD symptoms usually begin before a child is 12 years old and can be mild, moderate, or severe, making early assessment and intervention key. Sometimes other learning disabilities or behavior issues are also present and can be diagnosed at the same time.
And while most people think ADHD only affects kids, the truth is that adults suffer from ADHD symptoms as well. It was often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed in the past and many people may be experiencing unnecessary hardships as a result. According to recent statistics in the U.S. , 9.4% of children between the ages of 4-17 are possibly affected, with boys more commonly diagnosed (12.9% to 5.6%). It is estimated that 4.4% of adults may have ADHD but this number may be underestimated (source Dr. Isabel Brocas/Psychology Today).
Having accurate ADHD screening by a thorough psychological assessment is key to self-awareness and to taking steps towards improving the symptoms. Dr. Mara Tansman at Psychological Assessment Services is an expert in ADHD testing and diagnosis.
She can assist with navigating testing or workplace accommodations for those diagnosed with ADHD and make referrals to start ADHD treatment.
To schedule your consultation, please call one of our five California locations or contact us online today!
The exact cause of ADHD is not totally clear; however, certain factors may increase a person’s chances of developing ADHD. Factors including genetics, central nervous system dysfunction (especially during early development), and even premature birth have been considered risk factors for ADHD. Brain injury, lead exposure, exposure to alcohol, drugs or smoking during pregnancy, and low birth weight are also suspected.
Research does not support ADHD being caused by eating too much sugar, too much screen time, parenting, social or environmental factors such as poverty, or family chaos. Of course many things, including these factors, may contribute to, or make symptoms worse, in certain individuals but evidence is not strong enough to conclude causation (source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
While there are specific symptoms Dr. Tansman will look for to determine if you have ADHD, you may have already noticed many of them in yourself or your child.
Children naturally have more energy and excitement than adults, but when a child has ADHD, their hyperactivity disrupts life at home and school.
Grades suffer or friendships fall apart easily leading to a decreased quality of life and an increased frustration for your child.
ADHD includes both hyperactivity and inattention. In children, common symptoms of ADHD include:
While we all have moments where we feel distracted or unfocused, someone with ADHD will have these symptoms on a consistent basis. Many children exhibit one or possibly several of the behaviors mentioned above throughout adolescence but do not have ADHD.
In order for someone to be diagnosed with ADHD, they must have symptoms for six months or longer.
For neurodivergent adults with undiagnosed ADHD, symptoms of the disorder generally begin in childhood but were never properly addressed. They often performed poorly while in school due to their difficulty concentrating and prioritizing their time.
These traits carry over into adulthood, impacting job performance and social interactions. As a result, restlessness, risk-taking, poor listening and communication skills may occur. They may seek immediate gratification over patience in doing mundane tasks, be forgetful about appointments or plans and have poor time management. Some useful ADHD research is available here.
ADHD is broken down into three types based on how severe certain symptoms are compared to others.
The three types of ADHD are:
Someone with a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation is the person with endless energy who can’t seem to slow down.
ADHD with a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation can make it nearly impossible for someone to sit still resulting in fidgeting, as well as excessive talking and interrupting. They may also have body movements and conversation at inappropriate times.
Often called attention-deficit disorder (ADD), someone with ADHD who is predominantly inattentive has trouble paying attention to fine details and makes careless mistakes in school or work as a result.
Someone who presents as predominantly inattentive are often called daydreamers and may get in trouble at school for not paying attention to the teacher. They also forget things easily and have poor organizational skills.
Since their symptoms don’t usually affect other people (especially outside of the classroom) someone with predominantly inattentive symptoms can have ADHD for years before being properly diagnosed.
As the most common form of ADHD in the United States, a combined presentation consists of a mix of both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behaviors.
Adults with ADHD will have similar ADHD symptoms as children, but most likely have learned ways to hide them if they can. Compared to children with ADHD, adults can have symptoms that aren’t clear or obvious making it more difficult to diagnose without proper training.
As with children, most adults have experienced a few of these symptoms in their lifetime, but when someone has ADHD, it disrupts their personal relationships and can affect their work.
Symptoms of ADHD in adults include:
Although boys and men are much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls and women – the truth is ADHD most likely occurs about the same in both genders.
A major reason why men are diagnosed more often is they usually have more outward symptoms like impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Meanwhile, women express more internalized symptoms. These symptoms include low self-esteem, short attention span, or even anxiety related to their ADHD symptoms.
Girls often go undiagnosed because they have symptoms that are less disruptive in the classroom compared to boys.
Being under and undiagnosed has led to many women reaching adulthood feeling like there’s something "off", but not really knowing what it is. This is why a thorough and thoughtful assessment as well as ADHD testing can help find the root of the issue and help women improve their symptoms and coping .
Did you know if you or your child is diagnosed with ADHD, you may be eligible for testing accommodations? This means various changes can be made during test time to accommodate their symptoms.
Testing accommodations can include:
Accommodations can sometimes be made for the workplace too.
Longer or more frequent breaks during the work day and having additional time to complete projects can support someone with ADHD and improve their work performance.
Dr. Tansman can help determine if you or your child are experiencing ADHD or other disabilities that are disrupting school and work life. With these assessments, you can be better equipped to address potential accommodations and to create a personalized plan for success.
While there is no single test for ADHD, there are many methods available to assess and diagnose someone with ADHD. The best way to test someone is to use a combination of these methods to gather as much information as possible to guide an assessment.
Dr. Tansman uses the DSM5 criteria, which is the standard classification manual used by clinicians nationwide. She screens for these criteria based on self-reported information or information from parents and teachers.
In addition to looking at your history and symptoms, there is a computer test that can actually measure your attention span. This is called a Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and it can measure a person’s ability to concentrate and control impulsivity. Dr. Tansman may have you complete this test as part of your assessment.
Dr. Tansman will also review your previous treatments and discuss with you what you felt worked and what didn’t.
By collecting all of this information, a more accurate assessment can be made to help guide your diagnoses and subsequent treatment options.
At Psychological Assessment Services, Dr. Tansman focuses solely on assessments. This means your visit is 100% dedicated to finding the right diagnosis and doing thorough neurodiversity testing.
Dr. Tansman has been in practice for over 20 years with experiences focused on comprehensive psychological assessments. Throughout her years as a psychologist, she has assessed hundreds of neurodivergent adults and children with previously undiagnosed ADHD.
With her expertise Dr. Tansman is able to accurately identify co-existing behaviors with similar symptoms. Being able to identify other behaviors or diagnoses with ADHD is extremely important as over half of children with ADHD have an additional disorder related to learning, behavior or emotional health.
Due to the priority Dr. Tansman places on testing and assessment, you’re able to access affordable testing for the specific issues you are facing – saving time and cost.
If you think you or your child may have symptoms of ADHD, having thorough testing and assessment is key. If you're ready to make the next steps towards improving these symptoms – reach out to Dr. Tansman’s office today by calling (213) 319-4668 or contact us online!