Nov 23, 2008 2
Like all psychiatric disorders, ADHD is diagnosed based on the presence of particular behavioral symptoms that are judged to cause significant impairment in an individual’s functioning, and not on the results of a specific test. In fact, recently published ADHD evaluation guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explicitly state that no particular diagnostic test should be routinely used when evaluating a child for ADHD.
While most ADHD experts would agree that no single test could or should be used in isolation to diagnose ADHD, there are several important reasons why the availability of an accurate objective test would be useful.
First, many children do not receive a careful and comprehensive assessment for ADHD but are instead diagnosed with based on evaluation procedures that are far from optimal.
Second, although AAP guidelines indicate that specific diagnostic tests should not be routinely used, many parents are concerned about the lack of objective procedures in their child’s evaluation. In fact, many families do not pursue treatment for ADHD because the the absence of objective evaluation procedures leads them to question the diagnosis. You can read a review of an interesting study on this issue at www.helpforadd.com/2006/january.htm
For these reasons an accurate and objective diagnostic test for ADHD could be of value in many clinical situations. Two important conditions would have to be met for such a test to be useful.
First, it would have to be highly sensitive to Read the rest of this entry »