There's no single test to diagnose ADHD. Instead, doctors rely on several things, including:
Interviews with the parents, relatives, teachers, or other adults
Personally watching the child or adult
Questionnaires or rating scales that measure symptoms of ADHD
The doctor needs to see how much a person’s symptoms are affecting his daily moods, behavior, productivity, and lifestyle habits. And he needs to rule out other conditions.
With children, the doctor will...
ADHD, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: With this type, people have both hyperactive and impulsive behavior, but they may not show enough symptoms of inattention to fall into the combined type.
ADHD, predominantly inattentive type: People with this type have inattention but not hyperactive or impulsive behavior. This type of ADHD was formerly known as attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A developmental and behavioral disorder. People that have ADHD have inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Typically, symptoms are significant enough to cause problems in everyday life.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD): This is the former name of ADHD, predominantly inattentive type. The term ADD is no longer used.
Executive function deficit: Executive function is a set of mental skills that make sure things get done. Someone with an executive function deficit has a hard time planning or starting tasks and seeing them through. People with ADHD often have this deficit.
Clinical trial: Also called a research study, they test how well new approaches work in people. Clinical trials may compare a new treatment to a treatment that is already available.