Diagnostic Testing for Inattentive ADHD: Question and Answer

Diagnostic Testing for Inattentive ADHD

Diagnostic Testing for Inattentive ADHD


Dear Tess:

I just read your post on the many medical conditions that look like ADHD but that are NOT ADHD. What type of specialists would you recommend me seeing to check out some of my Inattentive ADHD symptoms? I have severe focus and memory issues.




Dear Jacob:

Because you are an adult, your first stop should be an evaluation with an Internal Medicine specialist or a Neurologist. Make sure to tell them that you want to make sure that there are no underlying conditions causing your problems with focus and memory. At a bare minimum they will:
  • Do a complete medical exam to include a complete history, a complete physical and a complete neurological exam.
  • Do Psychometric testing.
  • Check basic lab work to rule out B12 deficiencies and metabolic problems.
  • Do a thyroid test.

They may also, depending on what the above tests show, need to do some type of brain scanning (MRI, PET, SPECT) and/or and EEG. Depending on what they find they may also order additional tests to drill down on a suspected diagnosis or problem.

Children with Inattentive ADHD symptoms should first be evaluated by their pediatrician.  Depending on the findings of a complete pediatric history and physical exam, a referral will be made for a psychometric evaluation.  These evaluations are performed by many specialties including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and learning specialists. Other referrals may be necessary as well.  Those referrals will be based on the pediatrician's concerns regarding the existence of other medical problems.  ADHD referrals to rule out co-occurring or ADHD "copy-cat:  conditions cab include referrals to: psychiatrists,, neurologists, Ear Nose and Throat Specialist, learning specialists, audiologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, sleep disorder clinics, and allergists to name a few.

If you feel as though your primary health care provider or your child's health care provider is not taking your symptoms seriously or is not conducting a thorough history and physical exam, seek a second opinion from another Primary Care provider.  

Thanks for this great question!


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