Reviewed by Melinda (Santa) Gladden, LCSW
If you are like many other adults, you have likely wondered at some point, “Do I Have ADHD?” ADHD is ubiquitous, and though it is usually diagnosed during childhood, it is entirely possible to be an adult living with ADHD without realizing it.
Living with the symptoms of ADHD without recognizing where they are coming from can be frustrating. Many of the signs of ADHD, like an inability to focus or pay attention well, can affect all parts of your life, including work, home, and personal relationships.
Luckily, we have designed a free, confidential test to help provide some insight into whether or not the symptoms you are experiencing are from ADHD or not. To take the test and learn all about ADHD keep reading. Before we get started, it is important to note that an official diagnosis and treatment plan can and should only come from medical professionals. Our test is meant to merely shed some light on common symptoms and provide some resources for getting in touch with health care professionals who can then direct you to the next step of your diagnosis.
What Is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, is a very common neurodevelopmental disorder typically diagnosed during childhood. The disorder is generally associated with having trouble paying attention or focusing, having trouble controlling impulses, and/or being overly active.
Though the causes of ADHD are still not fully understood, the medical community does have a good understanding of the disorder's characteristics. In fact, there are three different types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are most predominant:
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive: Individuals with this type of ADHD may fidget or move a lot, feel restless, have trouble controlling impulsive behavior, find it hard to sit still, and more. Children might run around, climb things, or be constantly on the move (more so than is normal for children, potentially to the point that it is disruptive to their daily routine).
- Predominantly Inattentive: This type of ADHD may make it hard for an individual to pay attention to detail, organize and finish projects or tasks, or follow conversations. They might also be easily distracted or find it hard to stay focused on something.
- Combined: Symptoms of the two listed above are equally present in an individual.
ADHD is often treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, for specifics regarding treatment plans, it is always best to speak with a medical professional. Though ADHD usually begins to present itself in childhood, it often lasts into adulthood. Adults who were never diagnosed as children may be battling symptoms without even realizing it.
ADHD Symptom Checklist
So, what are some of the symptoms associated with ADHD? Depending on the type of ADHD in question, as we have discussed above, certain symptoms may be more likely to be present than others. However, the following list is a good summary of symptoms associated with ADHD:
- Impulsivity (acting without thinking much or at all)
- Difficulty prioritizing or completing tasks
- Forgetfulness, inconsistent/poor memory
- Easily distracted
- Restlessness or constant fidgeting
- Mood swings and irritability
- Trouble controlling intense emotions, like anger or sadness
- Poor time management skills
This list is not exhaustive, and some of the symptoms listed above can be signs of other mental disorders (or just normal parts of human behavior).
However, if multiple or all of the symptoms listed on our ADHD checklist are present, seeking professional assistance to receive a diagnosis is likely the next best step.
ADHD in Children vs. Adults
As mentioned before, ADHD is most commonly diagnosed during childhood, as this is when symptoms typically begin to reveal themselves. However, ADHD can (and often does) last into adulthood.
Adults with ADHD may show symptoms differently from children, even though the behavior's root problem is the same. It is also possible to be an adult with ADHD even without a diagnosis - those who were not diagnosed as children or who developed symptoms later may have it without even realizing it.
Some classic symptoms of ADHD, like having trouble paying attention in class or hyperactivity, maybe more obvious in children than in adults. ADHD can be just as damaging for adults as it can be for children, though, so it is important to recognize some of the less obvious ways it may show itself.
Adults with ADHD might…
- Have trouble planning tasks at work or trouble completing things
- Appear restless (hyperactivity often manifests as restlessness in adults) or unable to calm down
- Have trouble meeting deadlines
- Frequently procrastinate, even when it creates especially stressful situations.
- Have trouble with personal relationships
Children with ADHD might…
- Have a hard time taking turns or waiting for their turn
- Forget things often
- Lose things often
- Act impulsively, or take unnecessary risks
- Talk too often, or when it isn’t appropriate to talk
- Have a hard time getting along with others
- Daydream frequently, or have trouble keeping their mind focused on a task
While there is some overlap between the ways, children and adults experience ADHD, understanding some of the differences can help shine some light on whether or not ADHD is actually the cause of your symptoms.
ADHD in Women
Another factor that can influence how ADHD symptoms are experienced is, unbelievably, sex. For reasons not fully understood, young girls are diagnosed with ADHD less than young boys (even though there are not necessarily fewer girls with ADHD). As a result, many women with ADHD may not realize they have it until adulthood.
In addition, research into how ADHD impacts adult women still lacks compared to the amount of information that helps us understand how ADHD affects adult men. This unfortunate reality might make it harder for a woman to even realize that she has ADHD, much less comfortable seeking treatment for it.
There are some general differences between men and women regarding ADHD, especially when it comes to some of the consequences the disorder can lead to. For instance, men with ADHD can be more prone to accidents or substance abuse, but women with ADHD may be more prone to eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
However, the general symptoms of ADHD do not necessarily differ from men to women, how they show themselves - that is, how they actually show up in the real world - might look different.
Again, being aware of this difference is a powerful tool for understanding what ADHD might look like for you and your individual circumstances.
Take the Quiz
Therefore, now that we have broken down some of the major factors that can affect what ADHD symptoms might look like, as well, as how they can affect life, you might have a better sense of how it applies to you.
If you need a “do you have ADHD?” quiz, look no further. If this discussion about ADHD is something that you find yourself relating to and you are an adult, you might find it helpful to take our free ADHD test.
The quiz will ask for your responses regarding specific symptoms and characteristics of ADHD. It may give you a better idea of whether or not the symptoms you are experiencing and concerned about line up with those associated with ADHD.
The test is not meant to give you a diagnosis, but it can give you the chance to review your symptoms. It might also be a great way to help determine whether it is time to visit a healthcare professional to talk about your symptoms.
You can also use the quiz as a tool to understand the symptoms of others if you are concerned about another loved one. You may find it especially helpful to consider their behavior from their perspective and try to understand any emotional motivation behind it.
Seeking Professional Care
If you have concerns about yourself, a loved one, or your child suffering from ADHD, talking with a doctor is always the best first step to take. You will likely be referred to a specialist better equipped to handle mental healthcare, like a psychologist, as part of your treatment plan.
Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, and you may be working with multiple healthcare professionals as a result. Having a good support system, whether from a support group or just from friends and family, is a wonderful idea.
A great resource for those with ADHD and their families is CHADD, or Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, whose website features helpful information for all.
ADHD, as we have outlined, is a very complex disorder. It does not necessarily look the same from person to person, especially since there are so many factors at play that can affect an individual’s symptoms and experiences.
If you do not know you are living with ADHD, these symptoms and experiences can easily be dismissed as something else, or worse, something that is your fault.
It is important to remind yourself that neither is true: if you are dealing with ADHD and its symptoms, it is not your fault. If your loved one struggles with ADHD symptoms, showing them your unconditional support is vital so that the ADHD does not irrevocably affect their confidence and self-image.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one after taking our quiz and reading through our guide, talking to a doctor should always be your first move. Through therapeutic treatment, symptoms can be treated and significantly improved.
Even if you are no longer concerned about whether or not you have ADHD, you now have a better understanding of all the unique ways it can affect our lives. Understanding how ADHD can affect an individual and their ability to function will undoubtedly make a difference, even if you cannot fully recognize it.
NOTES: No changes needed.
- Does not go against what is clinically accepted.
- Does not encourage mindsets or practices that may be harmful to the reader.
- Is factual and up-to-date.