Adult ADHD Testing: What to Expect and How to Prepare

If you think you may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is important to understand the testing process, the different types of medication available, and the signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of ADHD. Knowing this information can help guide your decisions about treatment options.

Get Information About the Tests and Expectations

Before considering testing, it’s important to have an understanding of all the tests that are available and what they involve. This includes knowing what types of questions will be asked, whether or not the test requires physical activity, how long it will take to complete the test, and any other expectations that you can anticipate. It can also be helpful to speak with a mental health provider about your concerns, so they can provide you with further information about different ADHD tests before deciding which one is best for you.

Prepare for the Testing Process

If your doctor or mental health provider has determined that ADHD testing may be appropriate, it’s important to prepare. Make sure you have clear expectations by asking questions regarding the type of test and its duration. Additionally, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions that your health provider might ask about your symptoms and lifestyle habits. During this preparation, keep in mind what other medical tests you may need to complete prior to being tested for ADHD.

Understand What is Being Evaluated

Before starting ADHD testing, it’s important to understand what is being looked for, in particular the different types of ADHD. These are divided into inattentive type ADHD (defined by difficulty sustaining attention and/or mental organization) and hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD (manifested by excessively restless behavior). During the course of the test your health provider will evaluate the degree to which these symptoms are present and how much they interfere with day-to-day life.

Consider Other Testing Options

You may also want to consider a comprehensive evaluation of your mental health and functioning. An assessment of ADHD can incorporate tests that evaluate attention and learning problems, but they don’t always provide information on other important dimensions (e.g., mood or anxiety). Such tests can provide a better understanding of the big picture, as well as how your symptoms might be related to other mental health issues.

Know Your Rights During the Testing

People with ADHD symptoms have the right to be fully informed about the testing process and their evaluation results. Be sure to ask questions and make any follow-up requests necessary as part of your due diligence. You may also be asked to sign release forms stating that you understand the potential risks involved in taking such tests.

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