If you want to find out quickly whether or not you have ADHD, you may be thinking about getting an online test. Online ADHD testing offers convenience and a fast turnaround. But can you trust the results?
Here are four things you should know before seeking an online diagnosis for ADHD.
1. It’s important to meet one-on-one with a provider.
Some online testing sites and apps include a video call with a doctor. But some skip this important step.
A thorough ADHD evaluation has several parts. One of them is meeting with a doctor or specialist. This meeting helps you get the right diagnosis.
It’s common to meet in person in an office. But it’s also common to meet online. Many providers offer telehealth visits.
2. Some online-only tests may miss signs of conditions that can look like ADHD.
Some online tests narrowly focus on signs of ADHD. This can lead to unwanted outcomes. These include:
- Misdiagnosing a condition that can look like ADHD, like anxiety or depression
- Overlooking signs of conditions that often co-occur with ADHD
- Vague results that say you’re showing signs of “something other than ADHD”
A narrow test may mean you’ll need to go to another provider to find out if something else is going on besides ADHD.
3. Online testing may save time, but not money.
Some online ADHD tests aren’t covered by insurance. They may cost more than a copay with a provider who is “in network.”
Learn about free or low-cost testing options. One place to look is a college with a graduate program in psychology. It’s likely to have a free or low-cost clinic. Graduate students do the evaluations. But they’re closely supervised by one or more experts.
4. Online diagnosis may not make it easy to get treated for ADHD.
Check the online testing site or app to see if it offers treatment in your state. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to go elsewhere to get treated for ADHD. Some providers may not accept an online diagnosis.
It’s also important to note that online prescriptions could soon be harder to get in general. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed requiring at least one in-person visit to get a new prescription or a refill for ADHD medication. The proposed rule change could take effect as early as May 2023.
- Listen to a podcast about online ADHD testing.
- Learn more about how ADHD is diagnosed in adults.
- Listen to personal stories from adults with ADHD.
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About the author
About the author
Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.
Andrew Kahn, PsyD is a licensed psychologist who has served as an evaluator and consultant in public schools for nearly 20 years. Kahn, who describes himself as neurodivergent, is a subject matter expert at Understood.