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Think You Have Adult ADD/ADHD? Here’s Why You Need a Professional Diagnosis – 15 Other Conditions that Can Cause ADD/ADHD Symptoms

So you think you’ve got undiagnosed ADD/ADHD?

Well, though online tests and quizzes might indicate it and though you may seem to show all the signs and symptoms of the condition, diagnosing yourself is never a good idea.

Before you can get an accurate diagnosis (which is necessary if you want to get treatment that’s going to actually help) you need to make sure you don’t have another physical or mental health condition that may be causing your symptoms, or which may co-exist with and complicate the ADD/ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

And unfortunately, a surprising number of conditions can create symptoms that closely mimic adult ADD/ADHD symptoms.

Other Conditions That Can Look Like Adult ADHD

So before you get diagnosed, a doctor or mental health professional will first want to rule out conditions that may be creating the symptoms, or other conditions which may be co-occurring with ADD/ADHD and which might complicate treatment, such as:

  • Depression or bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Conduct disorder or oppositional defiance disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Developmental disorders
  • Hearing problems
  • Other learning disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders (Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • Dementia
  • Brain injury
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hypo or hyperthyroidism
  • Tic disorders

Who Can Diagnose Adult ADHD?

Getting to a diagnosis of adult ADD/ADHD is a fairly complex process that requires:

  1. The elimination from consideration of other conditions that could be causing or influencing symptoms
  2. Determining that symptoms have been present since childhood
  3. Determining that symptoms indicate the presence of an attention disorder

According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, the only professionals qualified to make these judgments are:

  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Professional counselors
  • Psychiatric nurses

To be qualified, a professional needs to licensed and certified to diagnose and treat ADD/ADHD and also have the training and experience necessary to be able to differentiate between ADD/ADHD and other psychiatric disorders.1

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