As many people know, the diagnosis of ADHD in Australia is generally based on symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR). However, the ADHD symptoms listed in the DSM were originally written for children, several decades ago. While the DSM-IV (1994) presented the first set of diagnostic criteria to use wording applicable to adults and children, the criteria have not been validated in adults, and they do not take into account the fact that symptoms such as physical hyperactivity diminish with age. There is concern, therefore, that many adults with ADHD will not meet the diagnostic criteria, and will miss out on vital treatment for this serious condition. It is thought that the list of adult symptoms will be more appropriate when the new DSM-V is published within the next couple of years.
In 2003 the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a screening tool for adult ADHD. It must be stressed that this is not a list of diagnositc criteria. However, it is a helpful tool for helping people determine whether they have ADHD characteristics which can then be further investigated by an ADHD specialist. The Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS-VI.1) is printed below for your information.
- How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
- How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organisation?
- How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
- When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
- How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
- How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?
- How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?
- How often do you have difficulty keeping your attention when you are doing boring or repetitive work?
- How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you even when they are speaking to you directly?
- How often do you misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
- How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?
- How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
- How often do you feel restless or fidgety?
- How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
- How often do you find yourself talking too much when you are in social situations?
- When you're in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?
- How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required?
- How often do you interrupt others when they are busy?
Do any of these symptoms apply to you? Discuss them with your doctor, or give me a call to work out some strategies to deal with them.
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