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ADD/ADHD Self Test

Standard Diagnostic Criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adults.

IMPORTANT: This is not a tool for self-diagnosis. Its purpose is simply to help you determine whether ADD/ADHD may be a factor in the behavior of the person (adult or child) you are assessing using this check list. An actual diagnosis can be made only by an experienced professional.

Inattention (low attention span)

Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instruction and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions.)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework.)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys school assignments, pencils, books, or tools.)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.


Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situation in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness.)
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor.”
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., at school or work and at home.)

Additional Considerations

Some hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.
Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school or work and at home.)
There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning.
The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenic or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociate Disorder or a Personality Disorder.)

General Adult ADHD Symptom Checklist

In conjunction with other diagnostic techniques the following general adult ADHD checklist helps further define ADHD symptoms. No ADHD adult has all of the symptoms, but if you notice a strong presence of more than 20 of these symptoms, there is a strong likelihood of ADHD.

Please read this list of behaviors and rate yourself (or the person who has asked you to rate him or her) on each behavior listed. Print the text below and then, using the following scale, and place the appropriate number next to the item. The scoring procedure is at the end of the test.

0 = Never 1 = Rarely 2 = Occasionally 3 = Frequently 4 = Very Frequently

IMPORTANT: This is not a tool for self-diagnosis. Its purpose is simply to help you determine whether ADHD may be a factor in the behavior of the person you are assessing using this checklist. An actual diagnosis can be made only by an experienced professional.

Past History

  • History of ADHD symptoms in childhood, such as distractibility, short attention span, impulsiveness or restlessness. ADHD doesn’t start at age 30.
  • History of not living up to potential in school or work (report cards with comments such as not living up to potential)
  • History of frequent behavior problems in school (mostly for males)
  • History of bed-wetting past age 5
  • Family history of ADD, learning problems, mood disorders or substance abuse problems.

Short Attention Span/Distractibility

  • Short attention span, unless very interested in something
  • Easily distracted, tendency to drift away (although at times can be hyper focused)
  • Lacks attention to detail, due to distractibility
  • Trouble listening carefully to directions
  • Frequently misplaces things
  • Skips around while reading or goes to the end first, trouble staying on track
  • Difficulty learning new games because it is hard to stay on track during directions
  • Easily distracted during sex causing frequent breaks or turnoffs during love making
    Poor listening skills
  • Tendency to be easily bored (tunes out)


  • Restlessness, constant motion, legs moving, fidgety
  • Has to be moving in order to think
  • Trouble sitting still, such as trouble sitting in one place for too long, sitting at a desk job for long periods, sitting through a movie
  • An internal sense of anxiety or nervousness


  • Impulsive in words and/or actions (spending)
  • Say just what comes to mind without considering its impact (tactless)
  • Trouble going through established channels, trouble following proper procedure, an attitude of, “Read the directions only if all else fails.”
  • Impatient, low frustration tolerance
  • A prisoner of the moment
  • Frequent traffic violations
  • Frequent, impulsive job changes
  • Tendency to embarrass others
  • Lying or stealing on impulse

Poor Organization

  • Poor organization and planning, trouble maintaining an organized work/living area
  • Chronically late or chronically in a hurry
  • Often has piles of stuff
  • Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living
  • Poor financial management (late bills, checkbook a mess, spending unnecessary money on late fees)
  • Some adults with ADHD are very successful, but often only if they are surrounded with people who organize them.

Problems Getting Started and Following Through

  • Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started
  • Starting projects but not finishing them, poor follow through
  • Enthusiastic beginnings but poor endings
  • Spends excessive time at work because of inefficiencies
  • Inconsistent work performance

Negative Internal Feelings

  • Chronic sense of underachievement, feeling you should be much further along in your life
  • Chronic problems with self-esteem
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Mood swings
  • Negativity
  • Frequent feeling of demoralization or that things won’t work out for you

Relational Difficulties

  • Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships, promiscuity
  • Trouble with intimacy
  • Tendency to be immature
  • Self-centered; immature interests
  • Failure to see others’ needs or activities as important
  • Lack of talking in a relationship
  • Verbally abusive to others
  • Proneness to hysterical outburst
  • Avoids group activities
  • Trouble with authority

Short Fuse

  • Quick responses to slights that are real or imagined
  • Rage outbursts, short fuse

Frequent Search For High Stimulation

  • Frequent search for high stimulation (bungee jumping, gambling, high stress jobs, ER doctors, doing many things at once, etc.)
  • Tendency to seek conflict, be argumentative or to start disagreements for the fun of it

Tendency To Get Stuck (thoughts or behaviors)

  • Tendency to worry needlessly and endlessly
  • Tendency toward addictions (food, alcohol, drugs, work)

Switches Things Around

  • Switches around numbers, letters or words
  • Turn words around in conversations

Writing/Fine Motor Coordination Difficulties

  • Poor writing skills (hard to get information from brain to pen)
  • Poor handwriting, often prints
  • Coordination difficulties

The Harder I Try The Worse It Gets

  • Performance becomes worse under pressure.
  • Test anxiety or during tests your mind tends to go blank
  • The harder you try, the worse it gets
  • Work or schoolwork deteriorates under pressure
  • Tendency to turn off or become stuck when asked questions in social situations
  • Falls asleep or becomes tired while reading

Sleep/Wake Difficulties

  • Difficulties falling asleep, may be due to too many thoughts at night
  • Difficulty coming awake (may need coffee or other stimulant or activity before feeling fully awake.)

Low Energy

  • Periods of low energy, especially early in the morning and in the afternoon
  • Frequently feeling tired

Sensitive To Noise Or Touch

  • Easily startled
  • Sensitive to touch, clothing, noise and light

When you have completed the above checklist, calculate the following:

  • Total Score:
  • Total Number of Items with a score of three (3) or more:
  • Score for Item #1:
  • Score for Item #6:
  • Score for Item #7:

More than 20 items with a score of three or more indicates a strong tendency toward ADHD. Items 1, 6, and 7 are essential to make the diagnosis.