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Do you have difficulty concentrating and are easily distracted? Restless and hyperactive? If this is something you have been experiencing for a long time, it could be ADHD.

How does an ADHD assessment work?

Understanding and diagnosing ADHD has come a long way in recent years. As a result, treatments and medications have become more effective in counteracting symptoms. In this article, we explain what an ADHD assessment is, how it works and the steps to seek help. At Lavendla, we are here to help you improve your quality of life. We help with both ADHD assessment for adults and ADHD assessment for children.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by a combination of the following:

  • Concentration difficulties: Problems with staying focused and completing tasks.
  • Hyperactivity: Excessive mobility and impulsiveness in, for example, speech or actions.
  • Disorganized behaviour: difficulties in planning and organizing.

    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.

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The symptoms are often noticed at an early age, but they are not always recognized in childhood. ADHD comes in different degrees of severity such as mild, moderate and severe and sometimes those with mild impairment can be overlooked but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect everyday functioning and well-being. We can help you find the right support and help based on your level.

How does an ADHD assessment work?

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

  • Assessment by a specialist: A licensed psychologist or psychiatrist will make an initial assessment. You will also complete assessment forms.
  • Tests and interviews: This may include psychological cognitive tests, a basic diagnostic interview to examine symptoms in childhood and adulthood, and interviews with family members or other loved ones. The doctor also makes an assessment and you may be asked to provide samples.
  • Diagnostic evaluation: an overall picture of your condition is made by a doctor and psychologist who together determine a diagnosis. You will then receive feedback and a neuropsychiatric report with treatment recommendations for further help.

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How long does an assessment take?

An ADHD assessment takes about 8-10 hours for adults and after 4-6 weeks it is completed. For children, the assessment takes longer as the school is also involved in the assessment and the scope is slightly larger. If an ADHD diagnosis is made, it is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor. Interventions may include medication, psychological treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy, or a combination of both.

If you or someone you know has been living with undiagnosed ADHD, 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 assessment and diagnosis.

One step closer to an ADHD assessment

If you are seeking professional help for ADHD or other mental health problems, we have a network of experienced psychologists and therapists who can help you on your journey to better mental health. We have short waiting times for assessment and as we believe that the threshold for assessment and treatment should be low, we have made it easy to get in touch with a specialist via our contact form.

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12 common questions and answers about ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a neuropsychiatric diagnosis. It is a lifelong condition that usually affects concentration, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

How does an ADHD assessment work?

An ADHD assessment often involves a combination of medical evaluation, psychological tests and interviews. The process is carried out by specialized doctors and psychologists to establish an accurate diagnosis.

What are the most common symptoms of ADHD?

The most common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, impulsivity, overactivity and inability to complete tasks. Therefore, it can be difficult to focus on one thing at a time, miss details and forget things.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for ADHD can include medication, cognitive behavioural therapy adapted for ADHD, or a combination of both. The aim is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

How long does it take to get an ADHD diagnosis?

The time it takes to get an ADHD diagnosis can vary. However, it usually takes 4-8 weeks from the first visit to the doctor to the final diagnosis, depending on waiting times and the scope of the investigation.

How much does an ADHD assessment and treatment cost?

The cost of an ADHD assessment and treatment can vary depending on where you live and the type of care you seek. It is therefore important to consult with your doctor to get an idea of possible costs.

Can adults get ADHD?

Yes, ADHD is present at any age. Sometimes the symptoms are missed in childhood but they can become more apparent as responsibilities and demands increase in adulthood.

Do I need a referral for an ADHD assessment?

If you seek an assessment via the public healthcare system, you need a referral via your healthcare center. In the private sector, no referral is needed and waiting times are often shorter.

Are the results of an ADHD assessment confidential?

Yes, all information gathered during the assessment is confidential.

Is it different for a woman to be diagnosed with ADHD?

Girls and women are often underdiagnosed. Hormones and self-esteem can also be affected in other ways and it is important to get the right help.

I have a lot of anxiety and feel depressed, can you help me with that too?

We provide an assessment of different symptoms with recommendations for treatment if you suffer from co-morbidity with other conditions.

What treatment is available for ADHD?

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

Step 1: Diagnosis

First of all, it is important to get a correct diagnosis. An evaluation is usually carried out by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Step 2: Drug treatment

Drug treatment can include stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, or non-stimulant ones such as Strattera. As each individual is unique, it can take time to find the right dose and type of medication, and medications do not work for everyone.

Step 3: Cognitive behavioural therapy adapted for ADHD

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common approach that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your daily life.

Step 4: Lifestyle changes

  • Regular exercise
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Structured diet

Lifestyle changes can make a big difference in how you manage your symptoms.

Step 5: Support system

A good support system can do wonders for your mental health. Therefore, family, friends and support groups can give you the extra push you need.

Step 6: Follow-up and adjustment

After starting treatment, it is important to have regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider to see if adjustments need to be made.

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. This is 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.