ADHD is often thought to be associated with kids and teenagers, but as many as 60 percent of American children with the disorder become adults with ADHD, constituting about four percent of the entire adult population in the country. Adult ADHD is a little different when compared to children, as hyperactivity—one of the prominent symptoms of the disorder—diminish in adulthood and only inattentiveness and impulsivity may exist. Only about one-fifth of adults suffering from ADHD are diagnosed or treated and sadly, only five percent of those diagnosed ask for help.
Adults suffering from ADHD find it hard to follow directions, recall information, concentrate, organize tasks and finish work on time. These challenges can hamper their productivity at work and success rate, and eventually dampen their spirits. It is necessary that the symptoms are diagnosed after a thorough evaluation using adult rating scales or checklists. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests six questions, a reliable assessment tool, to assess the development of this mental disorder.
In case of children, ADHD symptoms can often be ignored or misunderstood as problems of changing circumstances. Adults too tend to ignore their mental health and clinicians may have very little time or insufficient resources to carry out in-depth diagnostic assessments. Moreover, overlapping symptoms of two or more psychiatric conditions can make the diagnosis of ADHD difficult.
The six-question test, based on the updated definition of ADHD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), need to be looked at in totality instead of picking one question to diagnose an adult patient’s mental condition. The questions are as follows:
1. How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
2. How often do you leave your seat in meetings and other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
3. How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
4. When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?
5. How often do you put things off until the last minute?
6. How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?
The patients need to be answer in ‘never’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘very often’. The effectiveness of the scale was based on the study published in JAMA Psychiatry in May 2017 which attempted to answer the question – whether a brief screening scale based on responses of patients to structured questions can be helpful in detecting adult ADHD symptoms or not. The study involved 637 participants and concluded that the new scale is relatively short and easy to score, and is capable of detecting majority of the general population. However, the study also received some commentary from researchers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stating that questions five and six do not specify ADHD symptoms as per the DSM-5 leaving the discussion open-ended that the scale might not be entirely effective for the diagnosis of adult ADHD.
Mental health disorders not diagnosed and treated during early stages can leave a lifelong impact on an individual, limiting his or her capacity to realize full potential in social, personal and professional life. However, trained and experienced mental health care providers can help a person regain control of his or her life successfully.
The Arizona Mental Health Helpline can provide you with relevant information to understand the condition better and connect you or your loved one displaying ADHD symptoms to state-of-the-art mental health treatment centers in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 606-7791 or chat with one of our trained professionals to know more about mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.