DSM 5 ADHD Checklist

Check if your patient has ADHD with the help of this DSM-5 ADHD checklist. Click here for a copy of our template and more information on the document.

By Patricia Buenaventura on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is the DSM-5 checklist for ADHD

The DSM-5, which stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, provides standardized criteria to diagnose ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD is characterized by patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interfere with functioning or development. The DSM-5 checklist for ADHD includes several key criteria:

Symptoms

Multiple symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least six months.

  • Inattention: This includes six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16 or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults. Symptoms of inattention include difficulty sustaining attention, failure to give close attention to details or careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, and being easily distracted by unrelated stimuli.
  • Hyperactivity and impulsivity: This includes six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16 or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults. Hyperactive symptoms might include fidgeting tapping, or running about in situations where it is inappropriate. In contrast, impulsive symptoms might include hasty actions that occur in the moment without forethought and potential for harm.

Age of onset

Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms must have been present before age 12.

Settings

Several symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school, work, with friends or relatives, or in other activities).

Impairment

There must be clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of social, school, or work functioning.

Exclusion of other disorders

The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, substance intoxication or withdrawal).

It's important to note that an ADHD diagnosis is complex and involves comprehensive assessment by qualified health professionals. This often includes a detailed medical history, symptom checklists, standardized behavior rating scales, and gathering information from several sources, such as family members and teachers. Additionally, ADHD can present differently across the lifespan, with variations in symptom presentation and severity. There are also different presentations of ADHD recognized in the DSM-5, such as predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined presentation.

The DSM-5 checklist for ADHD is a valuable tool for initial screening of ADHD symptoms before a formal diagnosis is made. This checklist provides a comprehensive set of criteria that healthcare professionals can use to assess the presence and severity of ADHD symptoms.

Printable DSM 5 ADHD Criteria Checklist

Download this DSM 5 ADHD Criteria Checklist to improve your diagnostic process.

Printable DSM 5 ADHD Criteria Checklist

Download this DSM 5 ADHD Criteria Checklist to improve your diagnostic process.

Further clinical information and criteria 

Clinical information

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent mental disorder impacting emotions, behaviors, and learning capabilities. Typically manifesting in childhood, ADHD can persist into adolescence and adulthood, often leading to a late diagnosis. The disorder's symptoms and their impact can vary significantly among individuals.

ADHD is categorized into three types: Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Presentation. Each type exhibits distinct symptoms, with the Combined Presentation merging characteristics of both Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive types.

Inattentive ADHD symptoms include making careless mistakes due to lack of attention, difficulty sustaining attention, poor listening skills, organizational challenges, aversion to tasks requiring mental effort, being easily distracted, and frequently forgetting daily activities.

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD symptoms encompass squirming when seated, inappropriate running or climbing, excessive talking, interrupting others, blurting out answers prematurely, and challenges with engaging quietly in leisure activities.

The etiology of ADHD remains unclear, but researchers and healthcare professionals suggest factors like genetics, altered dopamine levels, or unique brain structures.

Diagnosing ADHD typically involves interviews with individuals closely associated with the patient, psychological assessments, and the use of symptom checklists and rating scales.

DSM-5 ADHD Criteria:

The DSM-5 provides a clinical guideline for diagnosing ADHD, listing symptoms according to the specific presentation type. For a diagnosis, children must display 6 or more symptoms from either or both categories, while adults require 5 or more. Additionally, individuals must meet more than 4 of the supplementary criteria outlined in the DSM-5.

These diagnostic criteria, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, are vital for accurate ADHD diagnosis and ensuring appropriate treatment and management strategies for individuals with ADHD, enhancing their social, educational, and occupational functioning.

DSM 5 Checklist example

We have prepared a template for your convenience and developed a sample DSM-5 ADHD checklist in a PDF format. This sample illustrates a hypothetical scenario involving a child diagnosed with combined-type ADHD. We intend to provide this example as a reference or educational tool.

To explore our example in more detail or to have a copy for your reference, you are welcome to view it online. Alternatively, you can easily download the free PDF version by selecting the 'Download Example PDF' button.

Download this DSM 5 ADHD Criteria Checklist Example:

DSM 5 Checklist Example

What ICD Codes do you use for ADHD?

Below is a list of ICD Codes you, as a practitioner, use for an ADHD diagnosis:

F90.0: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type

  • This code can be used when the patient exhibits more symptoms of the inattentive type than the hyperactive-impulsive type, and it has been confirmed with several tests that the patient has inattentive type ADHD. 

F90.1: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly hyperactive type

  • This code can be used when the patient exhibits more symptoms of the hyperactive-impulsive type than the inattentive type, and it has been confirmed with several tests that the patient has hyperactive type ADHD. 

F90.2: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type 

  • This code can be used when the patient exhibits symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive types, and it has been confirmed with several tests that the patient has the combined type of ADHD.

F90.8: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, other type

  • This code can be used when the patient is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, but it cannot be categorized under any of the first three types. 

F90.9: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, unspecified type

  • This code is used when the clinical information is unknown or unavailable. 

What resources can you use for patients diagnosed with ADHD?

Aside from using the Carepatron app in your practice, we also have ADHD resources that you can benefit from, such as the following:

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

  • The healthcare professional can use this resource to check if the patient that comes to a therapy session and shares concerns or experiences presents indications of ADHD.
  • The template provided is similar to the DSM-5 ADHD checklist, wherein the practitioner checks if the patient is experiencing ADHD symptoms. 

ADHD Worksheets

  • Healthcare professionals can use this resource. However, it is specifically designed for psychologists. 
  • The template provided is divided into three sections. One is for identifying ADHD symptoms. Another is for identifying triggers that may aggravate the symptoms. And the last one is for developing coping strategies. 

ADHD Treatment Plans

  • Healthcare professionals can use this resource to formulate a treatment plan. 
  • The template provided includes sections for developing goals, interventions, and a management plan. Also included are boxes to add patient information, additional clinician notes, and a sign-off signature. 

Since we are constantly creating resources for ADHD to help you and fellow medical practitioners, keep an eye out for more available in our template library

Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?

Using CarePatron as your therapy software can benefit therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals. Here's why Carepatron stands out as a top choice for therapy practice management:

  • Comprehensive practice management: Carepatron's practice management software streamlines various administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling, billing, and client communications. This integrated approach frees up more time for therapists to focus on providing quality care to their clients.
  • Secure electronic health records (EHR): The HIPAA-compliant electronic health records system ensures the secure storage and easy access of client records. This is crucial for maintaining accurate, up-to-date patient information, treatment plans, and progress notes, all of which are essential in therapy.
  • Customizable clinical documentation: With Carepatron, therapists have access to extensive and customizable options for clinical documentation and clinical notes. This customization allows therapists to tailor documentation to their specific therapeutic approaches and client needs.
  • Telehealth capabilities: In today's digital age, the ability to offer remote therapy sessions is vital. Carepatron's telehealth features enable therapists to conduct sessions virtually, increasing accessibility and convenience for clients.
  • Automated appointment reminders: The appointment reminders feature helps reduce no-shows and last-minute cancellations, optimizing the therapist’s schedule and ensuring that clients adhere to their treatment plans.
  • Integrated billing and online payments: Carepatron includes an integrated billing system and online payments software, making financial transactions smoother and more convenient for both the practice and clients.

Overall, Carepatron offers a holistic, secure, and user-friendly solution for therapy practice management. Its comprehensive features, tailored specifically for healthcare professionals, make it an ideal choice for modern therapy practices seeking to streamline operations and enhance the quality of care provided to clients.

Clinical Documentation Software

What resources can you use for patients diagnosed with ADHD?

Aside from using the Carepatron app in your practice, we also have ADHD resources that you can benefit from, such as the following:

Adult ADHD self-report scale

  • The healthcare professional can use this resource to check if the patient comes to a therapy session and shares concerns or experiences present indications of ADHD.
  • The template provided is similar to the DSM-5 ADHD checklist, wherein the practitioner checks if the patient is experiencing ADHD symptoms. 

ADHD worksheets

  • Healthcare professionals can use this resource. However, it is specifically designed for psychologists. 
  • The template provided is divided into three sections. One is for identifying ADHD symptoms. Another is for identifying triggers that may aggravate the symptoms. And the last one is for developing coping strategies. 

ADHD treatment plans

  • Healthcare professionals can use this resource to formulate a treatment plan. 
  • The template provided includes sections for developing goals, interventions, and a management plan. Also included are boxes to add patient information, additional clinician notes, and a sign-off signature. 

Since we are constantly creating resources for ADHD to help you and fellow medical practitioners, keep an eye out for more available in our template library

How does the DSM-5 Checklist aid in diagnosing ADHD and differentiating it from other mental disorders?
How does the DSM-5 Checklist aid in diagnosing ADHD and differentiating it from other mental disorders?

Commonly asked questions

How does the DSM-5 Checklist aid in diagnosing ADHD and differentiating it from other mental disorders?

The DSM-5 Checklist, a key tool in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association, helps in accurately diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It provides detailed criteria for ADHD symptoms, distinguishing them from symptoms of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and dissociative disorders. This differentiation is crucial for appropriate ADHD treatment and avoiding misdiagnosis.

What symptoms are considered for ADHD diagnosis in the DSM-5 Checklist, particularly in the context of sustained mental effort and task management?

ADHD, according to the DSM-5, is a neurodevelopmental disorder wherein someone exhibits a pattern of over 5-6 symptoms of the inattention and/or hyperactivity-The checklist identifies specific ADHD symptoms like difficulty remaining focused, difficulty managing sequential tasks, and challenges in activities requiring sustained mental effort. It notes the persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, impacting social or occupational functioning and leading to functional impairment.

Are there differences in ADHD symptoms between children and adults according to the DSM-5?

Yes, the DSM-5 recognizes that ADHD symptoms can manifest differently at various developmental levels. While younger children might exhibit more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, adults often display more inattentive symptoms. The criteria for ADHD diagnosis, therefore, are adjusted for age, with a different number of symptoms required for a diagnosis in children versus adults.

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