Font Size

Medical History for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Medical History for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

The medical history can provide information about whether problem behavior is caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or another condition. A medical history includes the following:

Birth history

  • The mother's general health during pregnancy, including any exposure to infection and whether she drank alcohol, smoked, or used drugs
  • Delivery and birth: how a child was delivered, any problems that developed, birth weight, and general health of the baby when born

General health history

  • Any significant or serious illnesses or injuries
  • Any diagnosed medical or emotional conditions
  • General development, such as when sitting, crawling, and walking began
  • Any speech problems, such as difficulty talking or trouble understanding the meaning of words
  • Any hearing difficulties, and the results of any hearing tests
  • Sleeping habits, such as the daily average amount of sleep, and at what age naps were no longer needed
  • Whether the child is right- or left-handed
  • Food preferences, including any unusual cravings for substances that are not food (pica)
  • Whether the child has complete bladder and bowel control


  • Temperament and general personality: whether or not the child was an irritable and demanding baby or a sad, anxious, or frustrated child
  • Whether the child has temper tantrums
  • Detailed descriptions of problem behaviors, including when the behaviors were first noticed, when they are most likely to occur (home or school), and what has been done to stop them
  • How the child's behavior compares to other children his or her age
  • What kind of relationships the child has with peers and family members

School performance

  • The name and type of school, grade level, and progress reports from the child's teachers
  • Scores on standardized achievement tests given in school
  • Legibility of handwriting
  • Consistency in completing and turning in homework and tests
  • Friendships and general relationships with peers
  • Involvement in hobbies, sports, and other group activities

Information about the family history

  • Parents' occupations and education
  • Parents' history of learning or behavior problems
  • Any suspicion or evidence of either parent having ADHD
  • Presence of any emotional illnesses, alcohol or drug abuse, or criminal behavior in the immediate family (mother, father, siblings)


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last RevisedFebruary 2, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary