This guide will walk you through getting an ADHD diagnosis. You’ll get step-by-step details on what to do and what you should expect throughout the process.
Step 1: Review Your Symptoms
Before you connect with a healthcare provider, it helps to take some time to reflect on what symptoms have led you to believe you may have ADHD. Do you have trouble focusing or following instructions? Do you constantly misplace things and forget about appointments or events on your schedule? Are you frequently restless, edgy, or impulsive? These are some of the questions you’ll likely be asked during an ADHD evaluation.
Putting together a list of concerns you’ve had can be very helpful for getting a diagnosis. It can be hard to think of examples on the spot when speaking with a doctor, especially if you already struggle with ADHD symptoms like forgetfulness or difficulties with concentrating. Being prepared before your appointment will help your clinician make the most accurate assessment.
Step 2: Make an Appointment
Next, it’s time to make an appointment with a healthcare provider. You can start by going to your primary care physician. ADHD is a complex disorder, so if your doctor doesn’t feel confident enough to make a diagnosis based on the information you provided, they will likely refer you to a specialist. This may be a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, neurologist, or clinical social worker.
It’s important to see a licensed clinician who has experience with providing ADHD assessments. There is some overlap between ADHD symptoms and other conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and depression, so it’s important that the provider you see is able to rule them out before making a diagnosis.
Step 3: Complete an Assessment
There is no specific test that can confirm whether or not you have ADHD. Instead, your clinician will have to consider a wide variety of factors to make an informed decision. This includes various assessments, such as psychological tests or behavior rating scales which evaluate the prevalence of your symptoms and how they affect your life. You’ll be asked about which symptoms you’ve experienced, when they started, and how severe they are.
And as noted above, you may also undergo assessments for other issues, such as a learning disability or depression, in order to rule those out as possible causes. Additionally, many doctors perform a physical exam and request your medical history to help inform their diagnosis.
During this process, you may be asked about things like drug and alcohol use, your relationships with family and friends, and your performance at work. The doctor may also request to speak to your parents or your partner. This may feel invasive or embarrassing, but it’s important to answer truthfully so your healthcare provider can make an accurate assessment.
Step 4: Getting a Diagnosis
Based on their assessment, the clinician will determine whether you have ADHD. If you do have ADHD, you’ll be diagnosed with one of three types:
- Hyperactive/impulsive type: Restless and fidgety, interrupts often, talks excessively
- Inattentive type: Unfocused, easily distracted, often makes mistakes or forgets things
- Combined type: Exhibits both hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive symptoms
Even if you know a little about ADHD already, take the opportunity to ask your healthcare provider lots of questions about your ADHD type. This will be the beginning of a journey where you learn much more about ADHD and how it affects you, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the diagnosis, however, feel free to take some time to process it before writing down the questions you have so you can ask your clinician about them later on.
Step 5: Develop a Treatment Plan
There’s no cure for ADHD. However, many ADHD treatments are very effective at helping people manage their symptoms on a daily basis. You’ll want to work closely with your healthcare provider to come up with a treatment plan that works for you. Some of the most common options include:
- Medication: Stimulant medications for ADHD can be very effective and fast-acting. You could start seeing a decrease in your symptoms almost immediately when incorporating these medications into your treatment plan. If stimulants aren’t a good fit for you, there are non-stimulant options available as well.
- Therapy: Many adults with ADHD find that cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful in gaining more control over their lives. This type of therapy teaches you how to change irrational and negative thought patterns to help with self-esteem, productivity, and your overall happiness.
- Lifestyle Strategies: To overcome some of the practical challenges of ADHD, you may want to connect with an ADHD coach. They can teach you specific strategies to help with things like time management, staying organized, setting goals, relieving stress, and maintaining concentration.
Getting an ADHD Diagnosis Online
At Done, our goal is to help you get the care you need in a way that’s convenient and affordable. We connect you directly with ADHD clinicians who understand the intricacies of this disorder and can provide customized treatment recommendations based on your unique circumstances. Best of all, your evaluation and diagnosis take place online, which simplifies key steps of the process.
You don’t have to worry about waiting for your appointment, traveling to doctors’ offices, and getting referrals. Instead, just reach out to us and we’ll get the ball rolling right away. Here’s how it works:
- Quick assessment: We start with a one-minute assessment, which lets you know if Done is the right fit for you.
- Clinician appointment: Next, we set you up with a 30-minute appointment (sometimes as soon as the next day). You’ll speak directly to one of our licensed ADHD clinicians to discuss your symptoms.
- Diagnosis: Your clinician will deliver their diagnosis and give you more details about what that means for you.
- Treatment: You’ll get customized treatment recommendations from your clinician. Medications can be handled directly through Done with worry-free refills. Plus, we offer Done patients 24/7 care and online visits with our team.
An ADHD diagnosis could change your life by getting you on the path to effective treatment and expert care. Contact Done today to learn more and to start your journey toward an ADHD diagnosis.