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Tan Siew Ann

Do I have ADHD? How to get tested for ADHD in Singapore

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Table of Contents

Think of someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and you may imagine a young boy running around with boundless energy. However, this stereotype, often perpetuated by media portrayal, oversimplifies the complexity of individuals with ADHD and fails to accurately depict their reality.

For starters, ADHD isn’t just a “kids’ condition. The prevalence of ADHD among adults is comparable, ranging between 2 to 7%. They may have been experiencing ADHD since childhood, or started exhibiting symptoms in adulthood.

Also, while individuals diagnosed with ADHD tend to be male, females can have ADHD (with actress Emma Watson being one example) too. In fact, a 2019 study found that it’s just as prevalent among girls and women, albeit often underdiagnosed due to the different presentation of symptoms.

What is ADHD?

According to the National University Hospital of Singapore, ADHD is a condition that affects a person’s ability to maintain their attention, concentration, activity levels, and impulse control. 

There are three main ADHD subtypes:

  • Inattentive: The person mostly has difficulty paying attention
  • Impulsive-hyperactive: The person mostly displays overactive behaviour and has trouble controlling their urges
  • Combined: The person displays a combination of inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive behaviours

In 2020, it was estimated that around 6.76% of adults aged 18 and above have ADHD. ADHD appears less prevalent in older adults, possibly because they have learned to cope over time even without a diagnosis. However, other symptoms, especially those relating to inattention, can be more challenging to manage.

Do I have ADHD?

Individuals with ADHD may exhibit the following symptoms at home, at work, or in other settings:

  • Having difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Being easily distracted by things happening around you
  • Having trouble sitting still
  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Often interrupting others
  • Regularly being late

Even though these symptoms may interfere with your ability to function socially, academically, or professionally, individuals with ADHD have been known to excel in particular areas. 

For starters, you may be able to hyperfocus, or concentrate intently, on tasks, which may explain why many top athletes with ADHD have found success in their fields. They may also exhibit more creativity, extroversion and energy than their neurotypical counterparts.

With that being said, if the aforementioned symptoms have affected your quality of life, consider getting tested for ADHD. As with physical health conditions, getting diagnosed for a mental health condition can provide clarity and connect you with the help you need.

(In some cases, a diagnosis can even help individuals access accommodations within their systems. Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE), for example, supports students with ADHD by allowing them extra time for examinations.)

Sure, you can get a rough indication from online tests and checklists, but these do-it-yourself resources are seldom comprehensive enough for a thorough assessment. Our recommendation? Approach a qualified psychiatrist or clinical psychologist who can offer an official diagnosis and follow up with treatment options. 

How do I get tested for ADHD in Singapore?

Generally, there are two components to an ADHD diagnosis in Singapore:

  • Taking of psychiatric history
  • Undergoing a formal ADHD test

If you decide to get tested for ADHD, why not consult your mental health professional on their process? These processes may sound daunting to some, and knowing what to expect can take the edge off your feelings of anxiety.

Taking of psychiatric history

First, your psychiatrist or clinical psychologist will aim to understand your social development and mental wellbeing from childhood. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your life experiences and the challenges you’ve faced (or are facing) in daily activities. For example, you may be asked how often you experience difficulty in remembering appointments. 

In some cases, and only if you’re onboard, your family members can help answer some questions about your behaviours. Doing so is optional, though it can help your psychiatrist or clinical psychologist assemble a more complete picture.

Undergoing a formal ADHD test

The second component is a formal ADHD test, which simply means that you will be assessed against the 18 symptoms of ADHD provided in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) –  a handbook that guides healthcare professionals across the globe. 

Under the DSM-5 test, you may be diagnosed with ADHD if:

  • You’ve displayed at least six ADHD symptoms for at least six months, and
  • These ADHD symptoms have negatively impacted your social, academic or occupational activities.

Additionally, you may undergo tests involving the use of devices. In Singapore these include:

  • Infrared brain scan: Your brain’s oxygen levels will be monitored by a device while you undertake simple tasks. Low readings in your brain’s frontal lobes could suggest ADHD.
  • Eye tracker test: Your eye movements, reaction time, and accuracy will be tracked by a device as you look at (or away from) a dot on the computer screen. Meeting at least three out of seven test markers could suggest ADHD.
  • Computerised continuous performance test: You’ll press a keyboard’s space bar when certain letters appear on a computer screen, while a device measures your reaction time and accuracy.

Where can I get tested for ADHD in Singapore?

You can get tested for ADHD in Singapore at either a public hospital or a private clinic. The main differences between these options are their estimated fees and waiting times for appointments.

Public hospitals

If you’re a Singaporean or Permanent Resident, you can enjoy subsidised ADHD testing and treatment at Singapore’s public hospitals.

For example, a subsidised first consultation at the Institute of Mental Health may cost around $40 compared to around $220 for a consultation at a private clinic. 

To access subsidised rates, you may visit a polyclinic doctor and ask to be referred to a specialist in a public hospital. CHAS cardholders can also get a referral from a general practitioner clinic.  

As you would imagine, the demand for subsidised treatment is generally high, which means an appointment may take weeks or months. Another potential drawback is that you can’t choose your psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, unless you contact their hospital directly. In that case, however, you’d be considered a private patient and will not be eligible for subsidies.

Private clinics and hospitals

A day can make a world of difference for an individual with a mental health condition, let alone weeks and months. This is where private clinics, which are run independently of the government, enter the picture. Naturally, they generally charge higher fees compared to the subsidised rates offered by public hospitals.

Depending on the clinic’s schedule, you may be able to get tested for ADHD sooner. Intellect Clinic, our chain of counselling and psychology centres in Singapore, often offers same-week appointments. This means that you can access assessments and therapy sessions with ease and in a timely manner.  

Our clinical psychologists are highly experienced and can assist you in various languages including English, Mandarin, and Malay. Plus, they can refer you to a psychiatrist within Intellect’s network if you can benefit from ADHD medication.

  • Address:
    • Tanjong Pagar branch: 171 Tras St, #02-179 Union Building, Singapore 079025
    • Woodleigh Mall branch: 11 Bidadari Park Dr, #02-25/26/27 The Woodleigh Mall, Singapore 367803
  • Opening hours:
    • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 am to 6 pm
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10 am to 9 pm
    • Saturdays: 10 am to 1 pm
  • Estimated fees:
    • $220 (inclusive of GST) for a 60-minute session
  • How to make an appointment: Fill in the contact form here or call +65 8043 5120

Learn more about Intellect Clinic here.

Types of ADHD treatment in Singapore

Common types of ADHD treatment in Singapore include long-term medication, coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy. 

If you are diagnosed with ADHD, you may benefit from one or more types of treatment. Discuss your options with our psychiatrist or clinical psychologist—they’re qualified to work closely with you on a personalised treatment plan.


Individuals with ADHD are commonly prescribed methylphenidate, available under brand names like Ritalin and Concerta. According to SingHealth, methylphenidate stimulates the brain to increase attention and concentration. It also reduces impulsive and hyperactive behaviours, and can help with managing certain sleep disorders.

As Methylphenidate is available as immediate- or modified-release preparations, its effects can last between a few hours to a day. Often, individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms by taking it regularly and are discouraged from stopping medication without first consulting their psychiatrist.

Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy

Individuals with ADHD can also benefit from speaking to a coach, counsellor, or psychotherapist. These mental health professionals don’t just help you manage your symptoms; they also empower you to harness the many “superpowers” of ADHD.  

Below are a few therapies which have been proven to help individuals individuals with ADHD:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help you reframe negative beliefs about an ADHD diagnosis and strengthen helpful thought patterns through behavioural activation and experiments.

For example, your therapist could work with you to test the effectiveness of a structured daily routine. You could try adhering to a detailed schedule for a set period and compare its outcomes in terms of productivity and mood. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on helping you accept difficult internal experiences while working to resolve them. Individuals with ADHD may appreciate this dichotomy as managing its symptoms can be a long-term endeavour.

In DBT, you may learn techniques such as STOP (Stop, Take a Step Back, Observe, Proceed Mindfully). These may come in handy when you’re faced with impulsive decisions or overwhelming emotions.

Mindfulness-based psychotherapies

Mindfulness-based therapies can help you enhance present-moment awareness, regulate attention, and manage impulsive behaviours that are likely to have negative consequences.

A popular technique you may have heard of is the “5-4-3-2-1” grounding exercise, where you name five objects you can see, four sensations you can feel, three sounds you can hear, two scents you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Regularly engaging your senses can anchor individuals with ADHD in the present moment, reducing distractibility and promoting focus. 


If your symptoms of ADHD are relatively mild, coaching can be helpful. Intellect’s behavioural health coaches are trained to help you identify goals and formulate action plans for getting there, enabling you to live your best life in spite of – or even because of – your symptoms.

It’s never too late to get tested for ADHD

No two individuals are the same, and understanding how we’re wired differently is key to self-acceptance. 

For some, an ADHD diagnosis can even be liberating; a long overdue explanation for thoughts, behaviours, and emotions they’ve never quite understood. This newfound information takes them one step closer to tapping into their unique strengths, excelling despite – or even because of – ADHD.

Book a session with our experienced mental health professionals at Intellect Clinic today to start your journey. 

This article was reviewed by Intellect’s clinical psychologist Linda Rinn.

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