Module 3: Assessment

Lesson 4

ADHD:  Comprehensive Assessment

A comprehensive assessment of ADHD includes the following:

  1. History of the condition and physical assessment
  2. Medical, psychiatric, and psychosocial history
  3. Substance use history
  4. Use of standard screening tool

History of the condition and physical assessment

The history of the condition includes asking the simple questions listed below. An affirmative response to any one of them should trigger concern. In the case of adults, it is important to clarify whether these characteristics have been present since they were children.

  • Do you find it harder to focus, organize yourself, manage time and complete paperwork than most people?
  • Do you get into trouble for doing impulsive things you wish you had not?
  • Do you find you are always on the go, or that you are constantly restless or looking for something exciting to do?
  • Do you find it really difficult to get motivated by boring things, though it is easier to do the things you enjoy?
  • Do people complain that you are annoying or are easily annoyed, unreliable or difficult to deal with?

The screening tools below provide a more comprehensive assessment of the symptoms of ADHD, of the emotional/behavioural history of the patient, and his or her academic performance.

Common differential diagnosis may be found in the following areas of the CADDRA guidelines:

  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Medication-related
  • General medical conditions
  • Other factors (e.g., unsafe learning environment, family dysfunction)