Do I have ADHD or ADD?
ADHD/ADD is a continuum, or spectrum, and most everyone is affected by at least some of the traits. It’s a matter of to what degree do they affect your daily functioning? More important than whether you qualify for a clinical diagnosis, I think it’s more important to understand how the different traits of ADHD or ADD manifest in your everyday life. And if they’re getting in the way of your personal, professional and/or financial success, what strategies can you put into place that can help?
However, if you’re wondering whether you would qualify for a clinical diagnosis, here are 2 assessments you can take to find out.
1. This is a short version quiz developed by Dr. Ron Kessler, PhD at Harvard and Dr. Len Adler, MD, at NYU.
- Do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project? Y ___ or N ___
- Do you have difficulty getting things in order? Y ___ or N ___
- Do you have problems remembering appointments? Y ___ or N ___
- Do you delay getting things started? Or procrastinate? Y ___ or N ___
- Do you fidget or squirm when have to sit still for extended time? Y ___ or N ___
- Do you feel overly active, or as if you’re driven by a motor? Y ___ or N ___
If you answered ‘Yes’ to all 6, you pass the screening test and likely have a type of AD/HD. As Dr. Hallowell says, it’s a good news diagnosis, and you don’t need to be afraid of it. The worst is over, and life will get better.
2. This is a longer assessment based on diagnostic criteria in the official DSM V-TR, which I’ve attempted to summarize and put into question form.
Answer these questions and follow the instructions at the end.
A.1. (Inattentive symptoms): Mark Yes or No for each question
Y __ or N __ Do you often fail to give close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities?
Y __ or N __ Do you often have trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities?
Y __ or N __ Do you often not seem to listen when spoken to directly?
Y __ or N __ Do you often not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g. loses focus, side-tracked)?
Y __ or N __ Do you often have trouble organizing tasks and activities?
Y __ or N __ Do you often avoid, dislike, or are you reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)?
Y __ or N __ Do you often lose things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school material, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones)?
Y __ or N __ Are you often easily distracted?
Y __ or N __ Are you often forgetful in daily activities?
A.2. (Hyperactive/Impulsive symptoms): Mark Yes or No for each question
Y __ or N __ Do you often fidget with or tap hands or feet or squirm in your seat?
Y __ or N __ Do you often leave your seat in situations where remaining seated is expected?
Y __ or N __ Do you often run about or climb in situations where it is not appropriate? (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless)
Y __ or N __ Are you often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly?
Y __ or N __ Are you often “on the go”, acting as if “driven by a motor”?
Y __ or N __ Do you often talk excessively?
Y __ or N __ Do you often blurt out an answer before a question has been completed?
Y __ or N __ Do you often have trouble waiting your turn?
Y __ or N __ Do you often interrupt or intrude on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)?
For B through E, mark Yes or No.
B. Y __ or N __ Were several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms present before age 12 years?
C. Y __ or N __ Are several symptoms present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activieis)?
D. Y __ or N __ Is there clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning?
E. Y __ or N __ The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder. (In other words, if the symptoms are more connected to having any of these ‘mental disorders’, answer No. If the symptoms are not connected to having any of these other ‘mental disorders’, answer Yes.)
Count the number of Yes responses in section A.1. How many? ______
Count the number of Yes responses in section A.2. How many? ______
To qualify for a clinical diagnosis for ADHD/ADD, you need ALL 3 of the following: (check those that apply)
1) For children up to age 16, you need 6 or more Yes responses in EITHER A.1. OR A.2. ______
For adolescents 17 and older and adults, you need 5 or more Yes responses in EITHER A.1. OR A.2. ______
2) Yes for B through E. _______
3) Symptoms have been present for at least 6 months and they are inappropriate for developmental level (and with hyperactivity-impulsivity, to an extent that’s disruptive). _______
If you met the criteria for ADHD/ADD, notice what that’s bringing up for you, and decide what steps you want to take to address it. I invite you to contact me at www.here2therecoaching.com, or 415-246-8282, or join my weekly ADD Success Group for adults (www.meetup.com/ADHD-ADD-Success-Group) if you’re interested in learning more about ADD Coaching and if you want to work on better managing your ADD symptoms.
by Valerie Davis-Rucker, MS, MBA, Certified Career Coach &AD/HD Strategist