Evaluation and Treatment for
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
SMU Counseling & Psychiatric Services Memorial Health Center 214-768-2277
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 Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) webpage (http://smu.edu/healthcenter/counseling/)
and click on Dallas Area-Off Campus Mental Health Professionals under the
Related Resources section. 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. See the CAPS webpage (http://smu.edu/healthcenter/counseling/) and
click on the Dallas Area Off-Campus Mental Health Professional under the Related
Resources section for a list of 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)
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
How can I find out more about ADHD?
- Brown, T.E. (2005). Attention deficit disorder: The
unfocused mind in children and adults. New Haven & London: Yale
- Hallowell, E.M., & Rattey, J.J. (2005).
Distraction. New York: Random House
- 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.