“How is ADHD or ADD diagnosed and treated in adults?”

ADD/ADHD diagnosis is officially performed by a licensed healthcare practitioner. (Unofficial diagnoses are also useful. See bottom.)

  • In the US, psychologists (PhD or other degrees) are the most common diagnosticians
  • Psychiatrists (medical doctors) and other therapists can also do a qualified diagnosis.

Treatment and management are typically a combination of the following:

  • Prescription medications (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse)
  • Therapy
  • Coaching (for work-practices, time-management practices, communication practices, etc.)
  • Non-prescription supplements (e.g., Gingko biloba, fish oil, etc., (some of which have been shown to be effective))
  • Other diet and fitness changes
  • Situational and environmental changes (e.g., different careers, different working hours, assistive technologies, etc.)
  • Support groups

Note that you don’t need an official diagnosis to start improving your life.

For example: if you read a book like Driven to Distraction and feel like you have most of the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD, you can employ many of the recommended coaching and self-management practices. If they help you, great—life is better! Most support groups also welcome people without an official diagnosis. You can try supplements and diet/fitness changes to see if they help.

Official diagnoses are typically required before (a) a psychiatrist will prescribe certain medications or (b) an employer will provide workplace accommodations. But as I’ve written above, there’s much you can do for yourself beforehand or in tandem.

Good luck!

Phil Marsosudiro (for many free tips on managing ADD/ADHD at work, visit my website at www.adhd9to5.com)


I wrote this post as a response to a question on Quora.com. See here for more replies: https://www.quora.com/How-is-ADHD-or-ADD-diagnosed-and-treated-in-adults