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What Happens in an ADHD Assessment at The ADHD Centre?

If you think you might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’ll need to undergo an assessment to get a diagnosis. This can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t need..
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What Happens in an ADHD Assessment at The ADHD Centre?

19/05/2023
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If you think you might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’ll need to undergo an assessment to get a diagnosis. This can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.

In this article, we’re going to explain what happens during an ADHD assessment in more detail – aiming to provide you with more information on what you can expect so you can feel more confident going into the process.

Types of ADHD Assessments

Here at The ADHD Centre, we use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) as a baseline for diagnosing ADHD. This is widely regarded as the gold standard around the world, and should be carried out by a consultant psychiatrist who can prescribe medication if required.

Steps Involved in an ADHD Assessment

The steps involved in getting an ADHD assessment will largely depend on the route you take. In the UK, you can choose between NHS care or private care. If you go down the NHS route, you won’t need to pay, although getting an assessment and diagnosis may take longer. If you go down the private healthcare route, such as by opting to use The ADHD Centre, the route to an assessment and diagnosis will be faster.

1. Speak to a GP

Typically speaking, if you think you have ADHD, or if you think your child might have ADHD, the first port of call is to speak to a GP.

When you speak to your GP, you’ll need to relay your symptoms. They may ask about family history or enquire about any other comorbid conditions, but GPs cannot make a diagnosis or carry out an assessment. If your GP thinks you may fit the criteria for ADHD, they will refer you to a mental health specialist, typically a psychologist, for a specialist assessment. Only clinicians can diagnose ADHD – this isn’t something your GP can do.

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2. Fill out a symptom checklist

There are three different types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. The symptoms and characteristics of each type vary, and they may have some overlap with other health conditions, so it’s important to fill out a symptom checklist. This looks to identify the specific symptoms you’re experiencing, such as restlessness, disorganisation, emotional dysregulation, and lack of impulse control. You will also be asked about how long you’ve had these symptoms for, when they present, e.g, at work or in high-stress situations, and how they impact your life.

It’s useful to speak to someone close to you at this stage, so it’s common for us to talk to a close friend or family member who knows you and your daily routine well, and who can provide further insight into your symptoms, when they set in, and how they’re affecting you. If you’re a student, or if your child is in school, it’s useful to get a teacher’s perspective. This will assist in determining what, if any, accommodations may need to be made in the future.

3. Clinical assessment

A clinical assessment at The ADHD Centre generally takes between 75-90 minutes for an adult and 90-120 minutes for children and adolescents. These assessments serve to provide further scope into what could be responsible for your symptoms. There is no singular test for ADHD, so it’s more a process of elimination. This means looking in depth at your medical history, as well as the medical history of your family. This will provide further insight into whether your symptoms are likely caused by ADHD, or if they’re caused by something else, or both.

This part of the assessment may include answering lots of questions, some of which you may have answered beforehand in a GP consultation (if you had one), and filling out some questionnaires.

4. Report

The final step of an ADHD assessment is to get a report. The report will be put together by a consultant psychiatrist and will give a conclusion of your assessment and outline any potential diagnosis. If ADHD is given as a diagnosis, you will then have conversations with your clinical team about ongoing support and treatments that could benefit you, as well as what your next steps are. If ADHD isn’t the diagnosis, you will still receive guidance on what happens next.

What to Expect During an ADHD Assessment

During an ADHD assessment, you can expect to have conversations with a consultant psychiatrist about your lifestyle and medical history. This is an opportunity to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as any relevant family history or past experiences that may be contributing factors.

As well as conversations, you will also be asked to complete questionnaires or rating scales. These can help assess the severity of symptoms and track progress over time. Don’t worry, these questionnaires are not meant to be a test or a measure of intelligence, and there are no right or wrong answers.

The consultant conducting the assessment will also observe your behaviour and interactions. This can help identify any potential issues with attention, focus or impulsivity.

It’s important to note that an ADHD assessment is not a quick process, and may involve multiple appointments. This is to ensure that a comprehensive evaluation is conducted and that all relevant factors are taken into account, as well as to rule out other possible causes.

At The ADHD Centre, we understand that an ADHD assessment can be overwhelming, which is why our team of experts is here to support you every step of the way. We pride ourselves on providing a friendly and informative environment, and we are committed to ensuring that you receive the best possible care.

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Benefits of Seeking a Professional ADHD Diagnosis

If you or your child are struggling with symptoms of ADHD, seeking a professional diagnosis can offer a range of benefits. While some people may hesitate to undergo assessment due to fears of stigma or judgement, the advantages of getting ADHD diagnosed can be life-changing.

One of the most significant benefits of seeking a professional ADHD diagnosis is that it allows for appropriate treatment. With an accurate diagnosis, you and your healthcare team can develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. This may include ADHD medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of approaches. Without a diagnosis, you may be trying different treatments without success or using approaches that are not suited to your specific symptoms.

In addition to providing access to effective treatment, a professional ADHD diagnosis can also reduce feelings of confusion and self-doubt. If you’ve been struggling with ADHD symptoms, you may be wondering if there’s something wrong with you or if you’re just not trying hard enough. A diagnosis can help you understand that your symptoms are the result of a neurological condition and not a personal failing. This understanding can be a significant relief and empower you to take steps to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Another advantage of seeking a professional ADHD diagnosis is access to support and resources. Many people with ADHD struggle with organisational skills, time management, and other executive functioning skills. With a diagnosis, you can connect with support groups, therapy, or coaching services that can provide the tools and strategies you need to succeed in your personal and professional life. This is significant for those with adult ADHD.

Finally, a professional ADHD evaluation and diagnosis can help you and your loved ones better understand the condition. With a diagnosis, you can learn more about the condition, how it affects the brain, and how it impacts daily life. This knowledge can help you develop empathy and compassion for yourself or your child and foster stronger relationships with loved ones.

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ADHD Myth-Busters: Misconceptions About ADHD Assessments

When it comes to ADHD assessments, there are several misconceptions that can create confusion and anxiety for those seeking a diagnosis. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about the ADHD assessment process:

Myth #1: ADHD assessments are invasive procedures

ADHD assessments are not invasive procedures. In fact, they are typically a structured clinical interview between the person seeking a diagnosis and a qualified healthcare professional, who will ask questions about symptoms, medical history, and other relevant factors. The assessment will usually include additional tools, such as questionnaires asking for some collateral history in childhood and adulthood or cognitive tests, but these are generally non-invasive and painless.

Myth #2: ADHD assessments are only for children

While ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, it can also be diagnosed in adults. In fact, many adults with ADHD may have gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years, and seeking an assessment can be a critical step in getting the right treatment and support.

Myth #3: ADHD assessments always result in a diagnosis

While ADHD assessments are an important tool in diagnosing the condition, they do not always result in a diagnosis. Other conditions, such as anxiety or depression, can cause similar symptoms to ADHD, and a comprehensive assessment will explore all possible explanations for a person’s symptoms. Additionally, some people may have ADHD-like symptoms but not meet the full diagnostic criteria for the condition.

By understanding these common myths and misconceptions about ADHD assessments, you can approach the assessment process with greater confidence and clarity.

Get an ADHD Assessment at The ADHD Centre

The ADHD Centre comprises a group of experienced consultant psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and ADHD behavioural coaches. Our team has been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009, during which time we have helped thousands of clients achieve relief from their symptoms through safe and effective treatments.

Our mission is to offer a highly professional and confidential healthcare service to assess and treat people of all ages with ADHD in the UK, using the latest evidence-based treatments that have been proven to be both effective and safe. We want to assure people that an ADHD assessment at The ADHD Centre is not something to fear, and that they will be in the hands of some of the best ADHD professionals in the country.

You can learn more about how we’ve supported clients from diagnosis through to treatment by reading our testimonials.

If you’d like to book in for a private ADHD assessment with one of our leading specialists, or if you want to find out more about the process, please contact us on 0800 061 4276.

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ADHD Centre in London
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The ADHD Centre

Who We Are

We are a team of experienced Consultant Psychiatrists, Psychologists and ADHD Behavioural Coaches.

We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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