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How Long To Diagnose ADHD?

Question:

How long is the typical diagnisis process for children 4-6 years of age for OCD and ADHD? I have seen 2 therapistist, a behav. specialist, and a psychiatrist for 3 months and still no answers. Is this typical?

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Answer:

Not being a child psychologist, I can’t say for sure what a reasonable time period for a diagnosis should be – this will vary from location to location and also will be based on the types of tests that a given set of doctors will require before passing judgement. This said, three months of active testing does seem like an overly long time to obtain a diagnosis. Typically what doctors will do is to get some tests done and then make a provisional diagnosis in fairly short order – a week to two weeks maybe. A treatment plan is generally drawn up and implemented after this provisional diagnosis. They will refine their diagnosis over time based on how the patient’s symptoms present over time. I wonder if the professionals your family is working with have made a provisional diagnosis already but have somehow failed to share it with you? (you might ask about this). Know that only the medical doctors (or in some cases, the psychologists) you’re dealing with are able to make formal diagnoses that are recognized by insurance companies and the legal establishment – the rest of the people you’re dealing with are generally considered “allied health personel” and tend not to have diagnostic authority. So the real time clock here is set by how long ago you saw the psychiatrist. At any rate, I’d push these professionals to give you more information.

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Comments
  • Karen

    I knew practically from birth that my son was different from my other two children. After starting school in reception aged 4 the problems become much worse and more apparent. I have fought through the professionals, i.e doctors, teachers, camhs mental health nurses since he started school to find out what was wrong ! Yesterday I finally heard what I have been saying for years and years, he has ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorder was diagnosed about 8 months ago and dyslexia is the last one I am waiting for. This has taken ten years, he is now 14 !!!!!!!! I have a meeting next Friday to discuss medication so that my son can hopefully have the last two years of his school life without the stress and anxiety of the last ten years. Surely I should be able to claim some kind of compensation for my son's suffering. The system let him and me down dreadfully.

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