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Are you inattentive and easily distracted? Do you struggle with missing details, forgetting things and having difficulty with organization? Then you may have ADHD with primary inattention (also known as ADD).

Get help with an ADD assessment

The understanding and diagnosis of ADD has come a long way in recent years. A few years ago, the DSM changed the name of ADD to ADHD with primary inattention, but many people still call it ADD. There are treatments and medications for this neuropsychiatric condition, and they have become more effective in counteracting symptoms. Often people have felt that something hasn’t been working for a long time when they seek an assessment and it can provide answers to long-standing questions. In this article, we look at what an ADD assessment is, how it works and the steps to seek help.

Symptoms of ADD

ADHD with mainly attention deficit disorder is usually characterized by a combination of:

  • Concentration difficulties: problems with staying focused and completing tasks.
  • Memory difficulties: People often miss details and forget things.
  • Disorganized behaviour: Difficulty planning and organizing.

If you or someone you know has lived with undiagnosed ADD, it may have been a tough journey. But remember, it’s never too late to seek help and get the care you need. The first step is to talk to a healthcare provider who can guide you through the assessment and diagnosis.

According to Health Direct, around 1 in every 20 Australians has ADHD. While ADHD is more common in boys — it’s under diagnosed in girls and adults.

More than 3 in 4 children diagnosed with ADHD still have symptoms as an adult.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk

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How does an ADD assessment work?

If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of ADD, the first step is to seek professional help. As it may be unclear what this means, we have produced an overview of how an ADD assessment usually works:

  • Assessment by a specialist: A psychologist or psychiatrist will make an initial assessment.
  • Cognitive tests and interviews: These may include psychological tests, a diagnostic interview, and interviews with family members.
  • Reporting the results: An overall picture of your condition is drawn and a diagnosis is made. You will receive recommendations for further action.

How long does an assessment take?

An assessment takes about 8-20 hours in total and is completed within 4-12 weeks. Assessments for children usually take a little longer as the school is also involved. In this article we will go through how we proceed at Lavendla. We have short waiting times, so you can get support and an improved quality of life.

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First step: Initial contact

When you recognize signs of ADD in yourself, such as difficulties with attention and concentration, the first step is to contact a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Therefore, Lavendla will help you with an initial consultation and together we will make a plan for your assessment.

Second step: Pre-investigation assessment

Before the actual assessment process, we start with an assessment interview where we go through your background, your symptoms and other factors that may explain your problems. You will also be asked to complete forms and self-report tests related to your behaviour and difficulties.

Third step: the ADD assessment

An assessment usually involves meeting with a licensed psychologist, who conducts interviews and testing, and a psychiatrist who conducts a neurological assessment and orders testing. The different elements of ADD assessment for adults in private practice include:

  • Interviews: We conduct a diagnostic interview to see how your symptoms have affected you in childhood and adulthood, in areas such as work, leisure and relationships. To make sure that your symptoms have been present since childhood, we usually also have an interview with a family member.
  • Psychological tests: which measure attention, concentration and other cognitive functions.
  • Doctor’s visit: As part of the assessment, you will see a doctor for a neurological assessment and blood tests.

Stage 4: Evaluation and diagnosis

After the assessment, the doctor and psychologist will summarize the results and make a diagnosis together. You will then receive a thorough review of the results with recommendations for further action. It is important to remember that a diagnosis is a tool for understanding your challenges and strengths, not a label that defines who you are.

Step 5: Help after the ADD assessment

After receiving an ADD diagnosis, it is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor or investigating psychologist. If we make a diagnosis, we will discuss different treatment options with you. This may include:

  • Medication if needed
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tailored to ADHD with mainly inattention
  • Support and adaptations in work or study

It is also common to combine medication and psychological treatment. For some people, medication does not help, but you can try just going to therapy. This can help you focus better and give you tools to develop skills to improve your planning, organization and stress management. It is also important to work on your self-confidence and self-image and we can help you with that. It is also good to keep in mind that a neuropsychiatric diagnosis also entails certain rights such as study mentoring and longer time on probation.

ADD assessment for children

If you are a parent and have wondered if your child has ADD, we can help. Every child is unique, so it is important that the assessment process is tailored to each child’s specific needs. Symptoms of ADHD can have many causes and before starting an assessment it is important to rule out that the symptoms are not due to other factors in the child’s life. These may include stress, parenting difficulties or bullying. Schools also have a duty to take measures to support students and we have a dialogue with the school, which is also involved in the investigation. An individual plan ensures that your child receives the support that is most effective for them. If you want to proceed with an investigation, we can help.

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ADD assessment for adults

Seeking an understanding and possible diagnosis of ADD as an adult can feel like an overwhelming process. But it doesn’t have to be. Often you have felt that something has not worked for a long time and an assessment can provide answers to questions you have been looking for for a long time. With us, you can get help quickly through a first conversation.

12 common questions and answers about ADHD with predominantly inattention

What is ADD?

ADD is a neuropsychiatric diagnosis of ADHD with predominantly inattentive symptoms. It is a lifelong condition that usually affects concentration and focus.

How does an ADD assessment work?

The assessment usually includes cognitive tests, diagnostic interviews and a thorough medical and psychological history to understand the individual’s history and current situation. When assessing children, both parents and schools are involved in the assessment.

What are the most common symptoms of ADD?

The most common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, with difficulties in planning and organizing activities. You may be easily distracted, forget and lose things, which can cause stress.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for ADD can include medication, behavioural therapy or a combination of both. The aim is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Support can also be provided in school as a child and in studies as an adult.

How long does it take to get an ADD diagnosis?

An ADD assessment takes about 8-20 hours and is usually completed within 4-12 weeks. Assessments for children tend to take a little longer.

How much does an ADHD assessment and treatment cost?

You are welcome to consult with us at Lavendla to get an estimate of the cost of an ADHD assessment.

Can adults get ADHD?

You can be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult but symptoms have been present since childhood. Sometimes parents have compensated for the symptoms in childhood and they become more apparent in adulthood as demands and responsibilities increase.

Do I need a referral for an ADD assessment?

In public health care, a referral from a medical centre is needed. Private clinics accept patients without a referral and often have shorter waiting times.

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

ADD is ADHD with mainly symptoms of inattention and not hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Is ADD hereditary?

Research shows that ADD has a genetic component. If a parent or sibling has it, there is a chance that other family members have it too.

Is it different to be a woman and have ADD?

ADD is often underdiagnosed in girls and women. There are also factors such as hormones that can affect behavior and it has been seen that self-esteem can be greatly affected in women.

How can I manage my anxiety and depression?

If you have symptoms of ADD but also anxiety and depression, you can get treatment for this too. This is usually very effective.

What happens after I have had an ADD assessment?

After a diagnosis, it may be time to start treatment. Therefore, we also want to give you a more detailed overview of the steps involved in treatment.

Drug treatment

Drug treatment may include stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, or non-stimulant drugs such as Strattera. As each individual is unique, it can take time to find the right dose and type of medication. Medication works for many but not all and for those with milder symptoms, psychological treatment may be sufficient.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for ADHD

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common method that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your daily life. CBT is available in an adapted form specifically designed for those with a neuropsychiatric diagnosis. You will learn how to organize, plan, manage stress and work on self-confidence.

Lifestyle changes for ADD

When you have a neuropsychiatric diagnosis, it is important to have good routines to feel better and manage your symptoms. This can include

  • Regular exercise
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Structured diet

Support systems and rights

A good support system can do wonders for your health. Therefore, family, friends and support groups can give you the extra push you need. There are also training courses for family members that can be helpful.

A neuropsychiatric diagnosis also means certain rights, such as support at school if you are a child and mentoring and more time in exams if you are an adult.

Follow-up and adjustment

After starting treatment, it is important to follow up regularly with your healthcare provider to see if adjustments need to be made and to make sure you are getting a good effect from the treatment.

As starting treatment can often seem daunting or challenging, the best step in the right direction can be just having a conversation with a psychologist or therapist. That’s why we offer introductory sessions with our therapists where you can be seen over video for 20 or 45 minutes. So you can book a call just to see how it feels, anything to make the hard stuff easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.