What Tests are used for Diagonosis? - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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What Tests are used for Diagonosis?

Figitandhum profile image

I was had a virtual interview with a psychologist for an ADHD assessment a few days ago and he said that I would next need to come in for 'tests' before a diagnosis could be made. I filled out an extensive medical history before the interview and presume these are written inventories or tests but can anyone give me some idea of which specific tests are used or what kind of inventories? I know there are dozens of self-scoring 'tests' online but professionals probably use more specialized ones. Just curious. Thanks.

9 Replies

I had my testing done by a neuropsychologist. The testing took 3 hours (they warned me it might take 4 hours, so I could plan for it). The assistant who worked with me did over a dozen different tests that measured my short term memory, recall, looked for learning disabilities, looked at cognition, and measured my attention (and one self-scoring type of test). I was curious what each one was looking for but managed to stay focused (just barely!). Later they explained that since ADHD can happen at the same time as other things, or can look like other things, or other things can look like ADHD they need to do a range of tests and the diagnosis is given based on the whole set of results. I've read in ADDitude Magazine articles that drugs for ADHD can make OCD way worse, and some ADHD meds can cause anxiety (which many people already deal with concurrently) so you need a full diagnosis if you're looking to start meds, or to best direct treatment. It certainly drove me nuts waiting for the results, but I am very content with them now. Best wishes!

Thank you very much for that information. It makes sense to rule out the other things that may confuse the issue. I will be prepared for a long session! I thought it was only 45 minutes or so....

Thank you both for this question, information, and experience. I will know what to expect. I have heard that we cannot go in seeking a specific diagnosis ("I need the official ADHD diagnosis"-me) and that it is more about meeting criteria from the DSM-5. So that would explain the range of tests. However, if I do too well, I am worried I won't get the diagnosis I seek - its a test afterall! Ill want to do my best! Then they may not see what I struggle with daily. And my fear is that they, like a GP did, will instead start pushing me towards Depression and depression meds.

Figitandhum every practitioner is going to be different, so it might just be 45 minutes. Some seriously are willing to give stimulant meds after a 15 question self-questionnaire. I'm glad you're getting something more thorough. It's worth it.

ServiceSloth I totally went in with the mindset of "I need the official ADHD diagnosis" lol, but I also was wondering if anxiety or anything else was in the mix, it was. I totally hear you on not wanting to do "too well" on the test or they won't give you the diagnosis you're pretty sure you need. (Others in this forum have said the same thing.) Go ahead and do your best, because chances are some of the tests are not testing for ADHD. Anyone who is worth the time will understand that sometimes we can hyper-focus, especially when there's something interesting. - As for the question of depression, I think untreated ADHD can totally lead to depression, but I do also now see how some ADHD symptoms look like depression (especially the way we learn to deal with ADHD by adulthood, so an adult ADHD specialist is soooo worth it, if you can find one). If you don't get the diagnosis you're looking for, let me know what tests they ran. Having been through it, I think it might be important for you to not research the tests in advance.

Amazing @LifeIsLearning thank you soooo much for this. Will read again before I take action. Feeling very hopeful about it now.

Well, I had the testing yesterday. Whew! four hours of everything from personality inventories (MMPI) to spatial manipulation tests, to computer speed reaction tests and lots in between! When I say four hours, I mean four complete hours. The analogies were most fun and the working memory tests were the absolute worst for me. All of them were very professionally administered by a psychologist. Of course the Amen's ADHD self quiz was in there, one I did and one for a family member and another for a friend to fill out. Very, very thorough although what they were measuring was had to see most times. I had my daughter fill out one and a friend another and zip them back to the doctor. Now the lead psychologist will put it all together and tell me the results. Hopefully soon I will get a diagnosis and can get the medication I need!!!!

I have to smile. I'm honestly proud of you and happy for you! And I'm so glad you reported back. I will pray, right now (or I'll forget), that you get helpful results.

I had a test where I had to find the connection between the words that I found was a really fun game. Some of the spatial tests I really enjoyed too. I took two computer tests, the one on fast reactions was miserable.

I hope you get your results back soon!

I did not have any of these - " short term memory, recall, looked for learning disabilities, looked at cognition, and measured my attention (and one self-scoring type of test)."

I was assessed by a psychologist who specializes in ADHD. My tests were all rating forms, other than detailed medical history & family medical history. Self-rating forms and rating forms by those who know me well now and knew me well as a child. Those are standardized clinical forms that are meant to also screen for other types of conditions, but it's not neurological testing.

I didn't have to "come in" for any of those, so maybe your tests will be more like those of others.

My psychologist did this more narrowly-focused rating form testing because it was all that would really be needed to diagnose an adult with ADHD and saves me my out-of-pocket money, only about $500 compared to a full 'psycho-educational assessment' (which would have included all those other tests) which would have been something in the order of $2k to $3k.

Thank you so much for sharing that important info! I was surprised that there were no forms for my husband or parents to fill out. I'd read that that was a common assessment tool.

And the cost! Yes, that's important to consider. I paid $700 US and I think that was 80% of the cost (insurance took a month to approve the test and covered 20%).

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