The most pressing question for some new patients coming to the office: "Do I have ADHD?" They may have been ruminating over this question for months, years, or even decades before finally seeking a professional opinion. After a series of questions about their current symptoms, personal history, and family history, we might say "Yes…" Or, "No… probably." Sometimes we might ask the patient and a significant other or family member to complete a structured ADHD symptom questionnaire, and/or a computerized test of attention and impulsivity (continuous performance test or CPT ). After we render our august opinion on their diagnosis, we sometimes get a quizzical look from the patient and a follow-up question: "How did that tell you whether I have ADHD? I thought I was going to get a brain scan, DNA test, or something." The truth is, in 2021, asking questions to get a patient’s story remains the most useful element in diagnosing ADHD. This is not unique to ADHD, it’s true for every other psychiatric and many neurological disorders because we don't have reliable, clinically useful tests for any of them. We don't do blood tests, brain scans, or genetic tests to diagnose depression , anxiety , schizophrenia , or… Read full this story
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