Do You Have ADD?

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The top 100 questions for diagnosing ADD, from Driven to Distraction by Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey

The following set of questions reflects those an experienced diagnostician will ask. While this quiz cannot confirm the diagnosis, the questions can increase the reader’s feel for what ADD is, and offer a rough assessment as to whether professional help should be sought to make the actual diagnosis of ADD.

The more questions that are answered “yes,” the more likely it is that ADD may be present. Since everybody will answer “yes” to some number of questions, and since we have not established norms for this questionnaire, it should only be used as an informal gauge.

1. Are you left-handed or ambidextrous?

2. Do you have a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, or manic-depressive illness?

3. Are you moody?

4. Were you considered an underachiever in school? Now?

5. Do you have trouble getting started on things?

6. Do you drum your fingers a lot, tap your feet, fidget, or pace?

7. When you read, do you find that you often have to reread a paragraph or an entire page because you are daydreaming?

8. Do you tune out or space out a lot?

9. Do you have a hard time relaxing?

10. Are you excessively impatient?

11. Do you find that you undertake many projects simultaneously so that your life often resembles a juggler who’s got six more balls in the air than he can handle?

12. Are you impulsive?

13. Are you easily distracted?

14. Even if you are easily distracted, do you find that there are times when your power of concentration is laser-beam intense?

15. Do you procrastinate chronically?

16. Do you often get excited by projects and then not follow through?

17. More than most people, do you feel that it is hard for you to make yourself understood?

18. Is your memory so porous that if you go from one room to the next to get something, by the time you get to the next room you’ve sometimes forgotten what you were looking for?

19. Do you smoke cigarettes?

20. Do you drink too much?

21. If you have ever tried cocaine, did you find that it helped you focus and calmed you down, rather than making you high?

22. Do you change the radio station in your car frequently?

23. Do you wear out your TV remote-control switch by changing stations frequently?

24. Do you feel driven, as if an engine inside you won’t slow down?

25. As a kid, were you called words like, “a daydreamer,” “lazy,” “a spaceshot,” “impulsive,” “disruptive,” “lazy,” or just plain “bad”?

26. In intimate relationships is your inability to linger over conversations an impediment?

27. Are you always on the go, even when you don’t really want to be?

28. More than most people, do you hate waiting in line?

29. Are you constitutionally incapable of reading the directions first?

30. Do you have a hair-trigger temper?

31. Are you constantly having to sit on yourself to keep from blurting out the wrong thing?

32. Do you like to gamble?

33. Do you feel like exploding inside when someone has trouble getting to the point?

34. Were you hyperactive as a child?

35. Are you drawn to situations of high intensity?

36. Do you often try to do the hard things rather than what comes easily to you?

37. Are you particularly intuitive?

38. Do you often find yourself involved in a situation without having planned it at all?

39. Would you rather have your teeth drilled by a dentist than make or follow a list?

40. Do you chronically resolve to organize your life better only to find that you’re always on the brink of chaos?

41. Do you often find that you have an itch you cannot scratch, an appetite for something “more” and you’re not sure what it is?

42. Would you describe yourself as hypersexual?

43. One man who turned out to have adult ADD presented with this unusual triad of symptoms: cocaine abuse, frequent reading of pornography, and an addiction to crossword puzzles. Can you understand him, even if you do not have those symptoms?

44. Would you consider yourself an addictive personality?

45. Are you more flirtatious than you really mean to be?

46. Did you grow up in a chaotic, boundariless family?

47. Do you find it hard to be alone?

48. Do you often counter depressive moods by some sort of potentially harmful compulsive behavior such as overworking, overspending, overdrinking, or overeating?

49. Do you have dyslexia?

50. Do you have a family history of ADD or hyperactivity?

51. Do you have a really hard time tolerating frustration?

52. Are you restless without “action” in your life?

53. Do you have a hard time reading a book all the way through?

54. Do you regularly break rules or minor laws rather than put up with the frustration of obeying them?

55. Are you beset by irrational worries?

56. Do you frequently make letter or number reversals?

57. Have you been the driver and at fault in more than four car accidents?

58. Do you handle money erratically?

59. Are you a gung-ho, go-for-it sort of person?

60. Do you find that structure and routine are both rare in your life and soothing when you find them?

61. Have you been divorced more than once?

62. Do you struggle to maintain self-esteem?

63. Do you have poor hand-eye coordination?

64. As a kid, were you a bit of a klutz at sports?

65. Have you changed jobs a lot?

66. Are you a maverick?

67. Are memos virtually impossible for you to read or write?

68. Do you find it almost impossible to keep an updated address book, phone book, or Rolodex?

69. Are you the life of the party one day and hang-dog the next?

70. Given an unexpected chunk of free time, do you often find that you don’t use it well or get depressed during it?

71. Are you more creative or imaginative than most people?

72. Is paying attention or staying tuned in a chronic problem for you?

73. Do you work best in short spurts?

74. Do you let the bank balance your checkbook?

75. Are you usually eager to try something new?

76. Do you find you often get depressed after a success?

77. Do you hunger after myths and other organizing stories?

78. Do you feel you fail to live up to your potential?

79. Are you particularly restless?

80. Were you a daydreamer in class?

81. Were you ever the class clown?

82. Have you ever been described as “needy” or even “insatiable”?

83. Do you have trouble accurately assessing the impact you have on others?

84. Do you tend to approach problems intuitively?

85. When you get lost, do you tend to “feel” your way along rather than refer to a map?

86. Do you often get distracted during sex, even though you like it?

87. Were you adopted?

88. Do you have many allergies?

89. Did you have frequent ear infections as a child?

90. Are you much more effective when you are your own boss?

91. Are you smarter than you’ve been able to demonstrate?

92. Are you particularly insecure?

93. Do you have trouble keeping secrets?

94. Do you often forget what you’re going to say just as you’re about to say it?

95. Do you love to travel?

96. Are you claustrophobic?

97. Have you ever wondered if you’re crazy?

98. Do you get the gist of things very quickly?

99. Do you laugh a lot?

100. Did you have trouble paying attention long enough to read this entire questionnaire?

Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., is in private practice in adult and child psychiatry. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sue, and children, Lucy and Jack. John J. Ratey, M.D., is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is in private practice. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Nancy, and children, Jessica and Kathryn. They are the authors of Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood (Copyright © 2009 by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. And John J Ratey, M.D.).



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