"I think I have ADD or ADHD, do I?"
ADD is actually an outdated diagnostic term and no longer accurate. ADHD is the newest term based upon the most updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM 5), which is used for mental health diagnosing. ADHD has 3 different specifications regarding type: combined presentation, predominantly inattentive, and predominantly hyperactive/impulsive. (ADD would have fallen under what is now ADHD, predominantly inattentive type.)
If you are experiencing certain symptoms, share them with your provider. Please note that the DSM 5 specifically prohibits an ADHD diagnosis if you better meet criteria for the following disorders: mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, substance intoxication or withdrawal.
Some clients ask if they have an ADHD diagnosis with an already established diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The answer is no because per the DSM 5, ADHD cannot be diagnosed as a secondary or additional diagnosis in addition to an anxiety disorder. Some symptoms from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, such as difficulty concentrating, mind going blank, restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge, etc., can feel and read similar to some of the ADHD criteria, but in some cases are better attributed to an anxiety disorder.
If you are having symptoms or have questions regarding a diagnosis, it is most important to share your symptoms and questions with your provider. If you do not have a provider, schedule an appointment so that you can get the mental health support that you need and deserve. Remember, in regards to mental health diagnosing and treatment, a trained licensed mental health professional is the best route.
Written By: Alicia Winkle, LPC-S, BC-TMH
Sources: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM 5)