Student Self-help Library

Evaluation and Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

How is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosed?

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder includes a predominantly inattentive type, a predominantly hyperactive type, or a combined type. It is commonly referred to as ADD or ADHD. We use the general term ADHD in this document to refer to any of these three types of disorders.
  • ADHD is more complicated to diagnose than many other psychiatric disorders. There is not a specific test that can determine the diagnosis. Rather, diagnosis is made by taking a comprehensive history over time, including input from significant others and formal written or computer assessments.
  • Diagnosis is likely to take some time and money but can be worth it if you have been struggling with symptoms that are affecting your performance in school and other areas of your life. Other conditions may have symptoms that look like ADHD or occur along with it. A thorough assessment can help find those other disorders as well.

I have not been diagnosed, how can I be tested for ADHD?

  • If you are looking for formal ADHD testing to determine whether you have ADHD, you can schedule an appointment with a psychologist in the community. If you are diagnosed with ADHD, then the provider who makes the diagnosis may be able to provide some treatment and make additional referrals.
  • See the list of Dallas Area-Off Campus Mental Health Professionals. Make sure to check with your health insurance company to see: 1) whether they cover testing, 2) what the coverage is for, and 3) which providers they cover.

Does CAPS do testing for ADHD?

  • CAPS is not able to honor specific requests for ADHD testing and does not perform the extensive evaluations required to assess qualification for academic accommodations. From time to time in the context of other counseling work, a counselor at CAPS may recommend a brief screening for ADHD which can help a current CAPS client know if further testing is warranted.

Does CAPS provide treatment for ADHD?

  • As described on our website, CAPS provides short-term mental health treatment. ADHD is a developmental disorder that may persist into adulthood, thus requiring long-term care. Unfortunately, CAPS does not have the resources to provide treatment for many students needing long-term treatment for ADHD or other mental disorders.

I have already been diagnosed, how do I receive medication?

  • Previous provider: If you are already being prescribed medication by a provider at home, consider asking if they would be willing to continue to manage the medication if you schedule visits when you are home over breaks. Out of state prescriptions for stimulants can be filled at the SMU Health Center pharmacy (although not at off campus pharmacies).
  • Local Psychiatric Provider: If you have not had formal testing and/or you have another mental health disorder that needs treatment (i.e., depression or anxiety) then it would be best to seek care from a psychiatric provided in the community.  View the list of Dallas Area Off-Campus Mental Health Professional referrals for local providers.
  • In addition to medication, it is usually best to work with a therapist on behavioral strategies when first being treated for ADHD.

I have been diagnosed with ADHD. How do I get assistance with my class work?

  • The Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies (DASS) office (http://smu.edu/alec/dass.asp) in the SMU Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center located in the Loyd Center, Suite 202, 214-768-1470 provides help in arranging for testing accommodations as well as a number of other services for students with learning and attention disorders, such as academic coaching. 

How can I find out more about ADHD?

Websites:

Books:

  • Brown, T.E. (2005). Attention deficit disorder: The unfocused mind in children and adults. New Haven & London: Yale University Press
  • Kelly, K. & Ramundo, P. (1993). You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid? New York: Simon Schuster
  • Solden, S. (2002). Journeys Through ADDulthood: Discover a New Sense of Identity and Meaning with Attention Deficit Disorder. Walker Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, MD and John Ratey, MD (Nonfiction). This book provides a rich overview of ADHD, the biology of it, the symptoms of it, other conditions associated with it, and what to do if you have it. The book also addresses how having ADHD can be disruptive to relationships. A must read if you or a loved one has this disorder.
  • Delivered from Distraction, by Edward Hallowell, MD and John Ratey, MD (Nonfiction). Using numerous case studies and a discussion of the way ADD intersects with other conditions, the authors paint a concrete picture of the syndrome's realities. Especially helpful are the lists of tips for dealing with ADD in a child, a partner, or a family member.
  • ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, PhD (Nonfiction). This collaboration brings forth the best underlying understanding with the most effective and practical remedy from ADD experts in two important fields -- professional organization and clinical psychology http://www.ahead.org