ADHD Testing and Counseling
ADHD stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” It is one of the most commonly misunderstood psychological conditions, often mistaken for a personality problem, lack of self-discipline, or basic laziness. It is none of the above! There are so many facets to an ADHD diagnosis that simply understanding it as a disorder of inattention and/or hyperactivity is not enough. The following are just a few important aspects to better understand this brain-functioning condition.
Five Fundamental Aspects of ADHD
ADHD is a motivation or boredom disorder. People with ADHD are usually not motivated to do things except what they are interested in at the moment. If they are interested in something then they can do it for long periods. This is confusing for parents and teachers because they will see the person persisting with things they like, but then struggling with chores, following rules, and homework. Individuals with ADHD often get described as lazy, selfish, insensitive, and self-centered because they pay more attention to things that are new, highly stimulating, or interesting, and struggle with things that are routine, ordinary, boring, or tedious (such as schoolwork, chores, lectures).
ADHD is an organization disorder. People with ADHD often are quite messy and disorganized. Whereas many individuals take for granted their ability to be organized and follow steps to complete everyday tasks, like cleaning a room, doing homework, or doing a project, persons with ADHD can have trouble starting a project or activity, remaining focused, and persisting in the small tasks that make up a larger task. Because of this problem, they tend to be notorious procrastinators and will also struggle to maintain things in neat or orderly ways.
ADHD is a frustration disorder. People with ADHD can appear angry, but it is often really frustration. ADHD often includes frustration tolerance problems, meaning those with the disorder frequently do not tolerate frustration as well as others their age. When things don’t go their way or when they are told to do things they do not want to do, they can become frustrated. When frustrated they can have temper tantrums or outbursts where they yell, cry, scream, or say mean things.
ADHD is a self-control disorder. Some individuals with ADHD experience problems with impulsivity and have a hard time controlling their actions. They do and say things without thinking about the consequences of their behaviors, and this can cause them to be rude and get into trouble. They have serious self-control problems, and struggle with the ability to stop, think, inhibit, plan, and then act, as well as to continue doing things while other distracting things are occurring.
ADHD is a time-disorder. Time management problems are common due to having difficulties with planning ahead and anticipating negative outcomes from their behavior. They lose track of time more easily and are often late for things.
ADHD is not a common sense condition and may appear strange to parents, teachers, spouses, and co-workers who have not been educated about ADHD. Appropriate diagnosis and intervention is key. To learn more about this disorder and whether ADHD testing and/or counseling would be helpful to identify if ADHD is present in your child, spouse, or you, please call to speak with one of our licensed professionals.
Why Get Tested for ADHD?
Because ADHD can be really tricky to diagnose! Problems with attention or activity level can have many sources, and parents and therapists alike are often overwhelmed by the possibilities. So often, parents or individuals are asking themselves questions like, “When do problems with concentration become too much?” or “Isn’t my kid’s level of frustration normal?”
Testing for ADHD provides a comprehensive method of comparing an individual’s abilities and behaviors against other people their age. In addition to completing an in-depth clinical interview, psychologist have tools that are not available to other professions such as:
- IQ Tests
- Psychological measures related to attention and hyperactivity
- In-Person tasks that evaluate attention and executive functioning skills
- Screening for other conditions that cause attention problems
- Computerized attention tests
- The time and knowledge to gather collateral information from sources such as classroom teachers
- The ability to synthesize all of the above information to provide a comprehensive view of the individual
By the end of the process, almost all parents, therapists, and teachers find the ADHD evaluation process to provide clarity, reassurance, and actionable steps toward change.