When it comes to ADHD, it’s something that those who have it bring everywhere they go. It may even express itself in different ways when in a different environment.

The DSM says that when it comes to ADHD symptoms, they must be present in multiple settings before a diagnosis occurs. So if someone is exhibiting signs that are consistent with ADHD in a work setting but nowhere else, they may not technically have it. But if an individual is exhibiting those symptoms in social settings, home settings, school settings, and more, they may then qualify.

If you have ADHD, then these symptoms will most likely appear in many aspects of your life– perhaps all of them. Taking an eye to whether these symptoms appear in multiple areas of different people’s lives is important when it comes to figuring out whether an individual has ADHD on a diagnostic level.

When it comes to seeing whether a child has ADHD, it may be helpful to ask those who know the child in different settings. That way they can objectively say whether they’ve noticed symptoms that ADHD exhibits.

This may include teachers, parents, and those that work with the child on a regular basis (after school teachers, coaches). Adults may have noticed behaviors or will say that they haven’t noticed these behaviors. Either way, multiple symptoms confirmed in multiple types of settings may be an indicator.

Adults that get diagnosed may not be keen to get a boss or other adult to come into their evaluation. Third party reports can be received by asking friends, family, etc., from third parties. Adults usually have enough awareness to suspect whether they have symptoms such as being impulsive or not being able to pay attention for long.

However, such awareness may not be perfect as adults that sometimes end up getting diagnosed as having ADHD may end up underestimating just how much their symptoms are getting in the way of living well-adjusted, functioning lives. Despite this, adults that have ADHD are customarily able to talk with a doctor about symptoms and how they are causing various issues for them.

A professional doctor will do their best to understand how symptoms are appearing in various parts of peoples’ lives. That may be through consulting with people that know you or your behavior, or it may involve speaking with you about your symptoms and how or whether they show up at places such as home, school, social settings, and work, among others.

Remember that how this information is brought into the process of diagnosing will also be determined on the doctor that you have. Simply because you or others feel that symptoms of ADHD are cropping up in your life does not mean that they are, or that they appear the same despite different situations.

They may even be expressed differently depending on the context and the setting. In general, the symptoms do end up manifesting in one way or another in various parts of individual’s everyday existence, and part of a proper diagnosis is seeing the ways that these symptoms appear in someone’s life in different settings.



Roya Haghighat is a licensed therapist and can help if you’re struggling with ADHD in Newport Beach and surrounding areas of Orange County.