Why we need a good evaluation — ADD Tip o the day 536

Get the right diagnosis

Diagnosis of ADD ADHD isn’t just based on one symptom. We need a full, careful, and thorough evaluation. That includes:

1. a good history

2. reviewing available documents like report cards etc.

3. ideally, talking with other observers like a mother or spouse

4. ideally, a pencil and paper or computer test

Mimics of ADD ADHD

Rule out other things that can mimic ADD ADHD -thyroid disease, medication side effects,  drug abuse, depression, head injury and others. Debbie posted on one that I hadn’t thought of:

  • Debbie L. Rowley, MSW

    Debbie L. Rowley, MSW

    Psychotherapist with expertise in working with Adults with ADHD

    I’ve had quite a few 50-60 yr old males that have come to my office over the yrs believing that they now have ADHD, but aren’t certain they had it before…. If there is no known or suspected family hx of ADHD, no children dx’d or suspected, and there are a lot of sx’s of fatigue & memory issues… I start looking at sleep (these guys are often sucking up a lot of caffiene, too). I’ve had so many people come in fitting the above scenario, and come to find out they’re getting 4 hours of sleep a pm. I won’t agree to refer them for ADHD testing until they’re up to about 6 hrs/pm for at least a week+, and coach them to do this. And with most *poof*. ADHD gone!

    I have one client currently that fits all the criteria for ADHD at age 47, but only dx’d 6 months ago. He’s struggled with it for at least 20 yrs, it’s getting worse, and he doesn’t remember struggling with sx’s before that time. Low and behold– he had a sleep study done 5-6 yrs ago and was dx’d with sleep apnea. He only tried the CPAP for a week before he gave up. He’s being referred for a new sleep study and apnea tx!

    A knowledgeable professional?

    Be sure your evaluator is knowledgeable; a lot are not, it even though they may think they are. Many professionals suffer from the same misunderstandings about ADD ADHD that everyone else does.



Oren Mason MD newest book

from vincent – unplanned resting days

great review of Living Daily With Adult ADD ADHD – Thanks, I needed that

Nearly time for bed.

Nearly time for bed.

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at amazon.com, or smashwords.com (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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13 Responses to Why we need a good evaluation — ADD Tip o the day 536

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  6. My son went for evaluation recently and the psychologist and psychiatrist were horrible. They made their diagnosis after talking briefly with him. Unfortunately his answers weren’t accurate since he has an unrealistic view of himself. If the “professionals” had asked any of the rest of us or delved into things a little more thoroughly, they would have seen a completely different picture. Now my son has pretty much abandoned getting any help. I’ve tried talking with him about strategies but he’s not interested. I know his life could be so much better if he understood what he was dealing with and worked on some coping strategies. I think he just wanted a magic pill, though.

    I would love an official diagnosis for myself but I’m not sure what good it would do now. I know I have it and I’m coping okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Homey – that’s terrible. so sorry. Lots of harm done by people who don’t know what they’re talking about, and often don’t know that they don’t know. My friend breezed through a couple of evaluations until finally, his wife went with him. Whoops!
      don’t we all just want a magic pill?
      Unless you’re considering medication, maybe you don’t need an official diagnosis? You know what you’re dealing with, and how to do it.
      hope it works out
      thank you for commenting.


  7. This is a good point! I do wonder though, if there is a tendency for those of us with ADHD/ADD to be prone to needing/wanting less sleep. Sometimes, less sleep can be a symptom of ADHD too! For my part, I get around six hours of sleep per night but sometimes less. I’ve noticed though that if I have several nights on the run of 7 hours sleep or more then sure enough I’m going to end up with a night where I just can’t sleep at all. Invariably I get up around 2-3 am and doing a few hours of work before finally crashing to bed an hour before I have to get up! I’ve learned that regular nights of give or take six hours is ideal. Less and I drop of at my desk, more and I’m going to keep everyone awake with my insomnia!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. God,Faith,and Fitness says:

    Rachel, not sure if this link will be of help to you. I thought it gave some good general information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel and GFF–
      I checked out the site and think it is quite good, thank you. I do fear it may be a little over optimistic about the primary care physicians and the psychiatrists, some are quite good and some are not.
      Thank you for the comment


  9. Rachel – excellent question!
    And I’m not sure I have a good answer, but I’m working on a blog about that.
    The recent graduate means that they don’t have much experience, but they might have good up-to-date knowledge, so it’s not too recent or too young.
    here are some possible questions to ask:
    1. What causes ADD? – – We don’t know, it seems to involve genes, imaging shows that ADD brains are different from non- ADD,there may be other problems that could produce similar symptoms.
    2 how is ADD treated? – – Usually with a combination of medication and strategies – coaching, sometimes therapy. Sleep, exercise, meditation, yoga are helpful.
    3 how many people with ADD have you treated? how successfully? – – – The claims of success should be encouraging, but not unbelievably good.
    4 how do you make the diagnosis? – – – See this blog, Tip number 536

    so the answers you get should be in the ballpark of the ones I’ve given, else I would question the capability of the professional to diagnose or treat ADD ADHD
    Hope this helps. Will put it into a blog soon and hope maybe to improve this answer.
    best wishes


  10. Rachel says:

    How do I know if the professional Im seeing is knowledgable or not? The only one I could find just graduated 2 years ago….is that too recent and are they too young?


    Liked by 1 person

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