What are the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing ADHD? continued...
The second set of criteria focuses on symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity. As with the first set, to be diagnosed with ADHD the person would have to have six or more of the following symptoms. They would have to have been there for at least six months. And they would have to be inconsistent with the person's level of development. The symptoms of hyperactivity include:
- Often fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in seat
- Often leaving his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected
- Often running about or climbing excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescent or adults this may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
- Often having difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Often being "on the go" or acting as if being "driven by a motor"
- Often talking excessively
Symptoms of impulsivity include:
- Often blurting out answers before questions have been completed
- Often having difficulty awaiting turns
- Often interrupting or intruding on others (for example, butting into conversations or games)
The DSM IV lists additional criteria that need to be met after the symptoms criteria are met. The additional criteria include:
- Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before the person was 7 years old.
- Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings. For example, the symptoms would interfere with the person's performance at school or work and at home.
- There needs to be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
What should we do if the doctor diagnoses ADHD?
If the doctor makes an ADHD diagnosis for your child or an adult family member, it's important to adhere to the prescribed treatment. Your doctor may recommend ADHD medications. Your doctor may also recommend behavioral therapy.
Many children and adults with ADHD suffer needlessly. That's because they don't seek professional medical care. Once ADHD is diagnosed medications and behavioral therapy can provide effective relief from the symptoms of ADHD.