While it is possible to recognize many symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that diagnosing ADD requires several evaluation tools and should be determined by a qualified mental health specialist or health care provider. Checklists of ADD symptoms, questionnaires about past and present problems, and medical exams used to rule out other health conditions are used to determine whether an individual has ADD.
ADD can appear differently in every person. According to the CDC, often the same symptoms that might suggest ADD can actually be symptoms of other learning disabilities or emotional issues. To accurately determine if someone suffers from ADD, openness and honesty with a health care professional is key. Symptoms associated with ADD include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. For adults, at least five or more symptoms of both behavior categories must be present for at least six months. Inattentive symptoms include forgetfulness, distraction, inability to pay attention to details, difficulty holding attention on a single activity and inability to listen when directly spoken to. Hyperactive or impulsive behavior includes fidgeting, excessive talking, difficulty waiting for a turn, running or climbing in inappropriate situations and interrupting others. In addition to these hallmark symptoms of ADD, to be diagnosed, an individual must also have presented inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms before the age of 12. The symptoms must present themselves in at least two settings, such as at home and at work. In addition to that, the symptoms must also clearly interfere with quality of life.