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Testing for Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD TestingADHD test methods include a variety of approaches used by a psychiatrist to assess patients for Attention Deficit Disorder, although clinical assessment is the most important. The patient’s history, with corroboration if possible (for instance school reports, parents’ recollections) leads to diagnosis and treatment. Other conditions and complications (eg low self-esteem, relationship issues) may need treatment in their own right. If you have been told you may have an attentional problem, book a consultation and have an assessment.

The ADHD test process for adults

ADHD tests used at my Perth psychiatry practice are based on the DIVA (Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Adults). You will complete the questionnaires online before your appointment is scheduled.

There is no gold standard for testing for ADD. Be aware that most adults are not hyperactive. People therefore wrongly assume that they cannot have an attentional problem forgetting that ADD is just as impairing as ADHD.

How does a psychiatrist diagnose ADD or ADHD?

“ADHD test” is actually a popular word for what we call a psychiatric assessment. The most important diagnostic pointers for a psychiatrist are the history, preferably corroborated by someone who knew the individual as a child, such as a parent or sibling, and the mental state of the person (what is observed at interview). Having that information allows the Psychiatrist to determine if an attentional disorder is present and whether it was present when you were younger, generally considered essential for diagnosis. School reports are usually useful.

When your early history isn’t available, the next best is to gain insights from someone currently in the person’s life, such as a spouse.

Pure Attention Deficit Disorder in an adult is quite rare. Eighty percent of patients have additional problems such as depression and anxiety.

What are some life clues to ADD diagnosis?

adhd testingAs you will understand, there is no quick 2-minute ADHD test that gives you a green or a red light. The psychiatric assessment I perform looks at different aspects of your life to provide a reliable diagnosis. The strict definition of ADD says impairment should be in at least two areas. Usually however it affects most areas of a person’s life. If you have problems in only one area of your life, say work, it is more likely you are in the wrong job.

Occasionally a patient with Attention Deficit Disorder will do well in one aspect of their life. Perhaps the type of work they are in suits them. Sometimes they have an intense interest in a subject or have a particular talent which enables them to overcome their ADD in that area of their life. On other occasions hyperfocus may be present. Yes, the ADD/ADHD sufferer can have increased focus at times so the condition is more complex than many people realise.

What’s the next step after an ADHD test and a positive diagnosis?

A Psychiatrist is not only focused on Attention Deficit Disorder, but is interested in the patient’s overall mental health. When it comes to treatment, at my Perth practice I will assess the ‘bigger picture’ of your mental health. Treatment may include medication, psychotherapy, relationships counselling and anything else that may optimise functioning.

Once ADD or ADHD is under control, Psychiatrists work with you on associated conditions – depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. These may be complications or coping mechanisms that have escalated into problems in their own right. The goal is to gain a holistic view of you as an individual and determine the care you need.

Request a Schedule for Assessment


So if you have any questions or believe you may have an attentional disorder, make a booking and we will organise an assessment for you.

Dr Anthony Mander | 08 9386 7855