…. a revolution in mental health care
Dr. Mabel Lopez is a Neuropsychologist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She has provided education to both patients and providers on this topic. She has trained other psychologists in the area regarding the neurocognitve circuits involved in ADHD.
Because of the complexity of ADHD, Dr. Lopez will NOT diagnose ADHD with a checklist. Rather, she will conduct a structured clinical interview, thorough neuropsychological evaluation, and gather relevant collateral to determine the veracity of ADHD and need for further intervention. She works closely with medical doctors in the area in the event medication management were warranted.
Neuropsychology plays a key role in the diagnosis of ADHD because Neurocognitive Deficits are a hallmak feature of ADHD. ADHD is a distinct brain disorder. The attention system is complex and spans from the pre-frontal cortex (dopaminergic system) to posterior parietal region (norepinergic system) to the cerebellum (see Figure above).
Disruption can occur to any part of this system, explaining why ADHD is such a heterogeneous condition. Moreover, in addition to problems in the attention domain (concentration, selective attention, divided attention, cognitive set shifting, inhibition, working memory and processing speed), the neuropsychological evaluation can provide insights into other aspects of cognition that may be affected in ADHD such as intelligence, learning, memory, visuospatial skills, language, reasoning.
Finally, individuals with ADHD often have co-occurring problems with specific learning disability. Formal academic functioning can be assessed to tease out aptitude from ability.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5), includes changes for the diagnosis of ADHD:
People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:
1. Inattention: 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 have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
These criteria correspond to three distinct ADHD subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive, and combined type.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
Because so many possible combinations of these criteria exist, ADHD is a very heterogeneous disorder.
To make matters even more complex, ADHD often co-occurs with many symptoms and or discreet disorders.
Do you, or someone you love, experience a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that disrupts everyday functioning? Maybe ADHD is the reason, let Mind and Brain Care evaluate that possibility.