ADHD Diagnosis

* In children the disorder is characterized by inattentiveness to external direction, impulsive behavior and restlessness. However, children with the inattentive type are actually often sluggish and hypo-active.
* In adults the problem is often an inability to structure their lives and plan simple daily tasks. Thus, inattentiveness and restlessness often become secondary problems.

A diagnosis of ADHD is made based on a checklist of symptoms that can be found in DSM-IV-TR. A hyperlink to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web page summarizing these criteria is given in the External links section below.

The CDC emphasizes that a diagnosis of ADHD should only be made by trained health care providers. This is important as many of the criteria can be readily misinterpreted and the prescribed drugs can be very dangerous if given in error.