Typical Subjective Test Criteria for Diagnosing ADHD

Following are the commonly used criteria for diagnosing ADHD per the 4th edition of the American Psychiatry Association's manual, also known as the DSM- IV*.  It should be noted that the diagnosis of ADHD is a diagnosis of symptoms, not of causes!  

The criteria predominantly focus on the following general categories:

*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington D.C., 1994.  The DSM-IV provides the Diagnostic Criteria for the most common mental disorders including: description, diagnosis, treatment, and research findings.


Table 1. Diagnostic Criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

A. Either (1) or (2)

(1) six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

Inattention

(a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork work, or other activities

(b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

(c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

(d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

(e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

(f) often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)

(g) often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. toys. school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)

(h) often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

(i) often forgetful in daily activities

(2) six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

Hyperactivity

(a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

(b) often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected

(c) often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)

(d) often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

(e) often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"

(f) often talks excessively

Impulsivity

(g) often blurts out answers before question have been completed

(h) often has difficulty awaiting turn

(i) often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)

B. Some hyperactive impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.

C. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. in school [or work] and at home.

D. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

E. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).


The evaluation and testing provided by Sharper Minds strives to be objective in its nature and does not produce false results.  It tests a variety of areas including the 5 critical mental processing areas and many of the 43 sub-areas.  Click here for more information on the evaluation.

It should be noted that the above subjective test may have its place as a preliminary diagnosis and we do include the above questions on our family history questionnaire.  However, an objective diagnosis should follow

Patients and individuals who have availed themselves of the Sharper Minds cognitive mental therapy, in most cases, have been able to discontinue the use of psychotropics within 2-3 months.  A few have taken up to 6 months to discontinue the usage.  Generally these involved comorbid factors such as fetal alcohol syndrome, hypoxemia in utero/delivery, and where there is significant parent-related issues (i.e. the presence of a domineering angry addicted parent).