ADHD diagnosis can be difficult to establish. Hence, it is fundamental for medical professionals (Psychiatrists, neuro-pediatrics, neurologists, psychologists or pediatrics specializing in behavior and development) to be the ones who give an informed, definite, and early ADHD diagnosis.

Great care needs to be taken in diagnosing young children with ADHD, particularly if medication is to be considered.


To ensure an accurate diagnosis the specialist must formulate it based on:

  • Interviews (gathering information from parents, teachers, and others)

  • Physical clinical evaluations to rule out medical problems (including vision and hearing screening)

  • Psychopedagogical evaluations (academic performance and the possibility of presenting learning difficulties is evaluated. Professor´s and orientation guidance team implication is crucial)

  • Detected comorbidities (if there are other diagnosis symptoms different than ADHD symptoms)

Currently, there is no blood analysis, brain scan or genetic screening to diagnose ADHD. Therefore, it is advised to consult a specialist (even more than one) to gather the most essential information possible.

A child won’t be diagnosed unless symptoms occur continually, over a period of six months, and these affect their ability to participate in age-appropriate activities.


  • Does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school or job tasks

  • Has problems staying focused on tasks or activities, i.e. during lectures, conversations or long readings

  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to (seems to be elsewhere)

  • Does not follow through on instructions and doesn’t complete schoolwork or job duties (may start tasks but quickly loses focus)

  • Has problems organizing tasks and work (does not manage time well; has messy, disorganized work; misses deadlines)

  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports and completing forms

  • Often loses things needed for tasks or daily life, such as school papers, books, keys, wallet, cell phone and eyeglasses

  • Is easily distracted

consequences of ADHD
  • Forgets daily tasks. Older teens and adults may forget to return phone calls, pay bills and keep appointments


Symptoms of inattention
  • Fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat

  • Not able to stay seated (in classroom, workplace)

  • Runs about or climbs where it is inappropriate

  • Unable to play or do leisure activities quietly

  • Always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor

  • Talks too much

  • Blurts out an answer before a question has been finished (for instance may finish people’s sentences; can’t wait to speak in conversations)

  • Has difficulty waiting his or her turn, such as while waiting in line

  • Interrupts or intrudes on others

It is crucial to evaluate various symptoms for an ADHD diagnosis, especially:

  1. When several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms present themselves prior to age 12 years. More than 6 of the 9 symptoms mentioned before (DSM-V).
  2. If several inattentive or impulsive symptoms are present in two or more fields, such as home, school, or work, with friends or relatives, etc. More than 6 of the 9 symptoms in DSM-V.
  3. The symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  4. They can be classified by severity: Mild, Moderate or Severe.

Criteria and specifications listed above are based on the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders), which is the most frequently used and recognized worldwide.


Certain children have self-esteem issues and social adaptation barriers that they are unable to overcome due to ADHD symptoms that parents don’t often associate with the disorder.

Simultaneously, ADHD can be connected to other problems and its consequences are appreciated in environments other than school, such as interpersonal relationships with their family, caregivers, friends, etc.

These interrelations are very important for the child´s development.

ADHD medication

Comorbidity is a medical term that indicates the presence of two or more disorders that occur at the same time.

Research has shown that people affected by ADHD frequently carry other difficulties and behavior disorders that affect their development and their ability to regulate their emotions. These can cause a significant and devastating impact on their daily lives and environment.
In certain circumstances, comorbidity can be the result of a delayed ADHD diagnosis that has been inappropriately treated. Early detection and diagnosis can reduce the chances of having a coexisting condition.


Comorbidity of ADHD with other disorders is between 60% and 80%.

This means more than two-thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other coexisting condition.

The Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Observational Researching Europe (ADORE) study shows that the prevalence of ADHD comorbidities in children and teenagers are:

  • Oppositional defiant disorder (A recurrent pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures lasting at least six months) 21% to 60%
  • Antisocial disorder (A recurrent behavior pattern of a long and persistent violation of other people’s basic rights and breaking important social norms) 25% a 40%
  • Anxiety disorder (The main symptom is intense anxiety that may produce a panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, or another type of anxiety disorder) 25%
  • Learning disabilities (reading difficulties, writing difficulties or numerical and mathematical difficulties) 20%
  • Depression (Children are less capable of expressing their feelings. Headaches, stomach aches, tiredness and other physical complaints which appear to have no obvious cause. It is a mood disorder that consists of several symptoms: reduced or increased appetite, low energy, low self-esteem, insomnia, etc.) 10% or 30%
  • Autism Spectrum disorders (Characterized by extreme impairments in social interaction and communication issues with limited interests and activity.) 33% of children with the Autism spectrum disorder may present ADHD symptoms.
  • Tic disorder (motor or phonic duration of sudden, rapid, nonrhythmic movements.) 11%


Effects of ADHD

Aperson diagnosed with ADHD faces daily demands and threats that impact almost every life aspect or environment.

This disorder is related to academic failure, social difficulties, conflict and crime risks, car accidents, substance abuse, that has an important negative effect in the diagnosed life and people around them.

The effects of ADHD upon children and their families change from early years to teenage years, with varying aspects of the disorder being more prominent at different stages. The disorder may persist into adulthood and may cause professional and personal life issues when left untreated.

The best way to reduce ADHD impact in life is:

  • Early and accurate ADHD diagnose and treatment

  • Letting school and other professionals get involved in the child’s treatment

  • Setting an individualized intervention plan for home and school

  • Follow the multimodal approach by constant communication between the child’s doctor, parents and teachers


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