Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a relatively common, often unrecognized condition. It affects 4.4% of U.S. adults, but most adults with ADHD live with the symptoms and suffer the often-devastating effects of ADHD in their lives without identifying the source of their struggles. Instead, their difficulties are attributed to their own shortcomings. Once diagnosed, many adults are happy to learn that they do not have a character flaw as aptly described in the title of one popular book on ADHD, “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!” (a classic book for adults with ADHD).
Adult ADHD Exists
Many adults who suffer from untreated ADHD avoid diagnosis or treatment due to the negative stigma associated with ADHD. Many people dismiss ADHD as little more than laziness targeted as a marketing opportunity by pharmaceutical companies. However, many years of scientific research confirms adult ADHD does indeed exist, and that ADHD diminishes adults’ quality of life.
Regardless of the stigma surrounding ADHD, knowing about your adult ADHD is preferable to struggling unawares. With an accurate diagnosis, many treatment options and coping strategies become available. ADHD is not a “one size fits all” disorder and many factors must be considered before a definitive diagnosis is made and an appropriate treatment is found.
It’s Better to Know
An ADHD diagnosis is not a death sentence, nor does it guarantee a lifetime of taking pills. Medication is not always effective, and there are many adults with ADHD who do not want medication as part of their treatment plan. However, without knowing you have adult ADHD, there’s certainly nothing anyone can do to help. If you do have ADHD, you can rely on ADDA, the world’s only organization dedicated exclusively to helping adults with ADHD.
ADDA provides accurate and science-based education on treatment alternatives such as CBT, ADHD coaching, and medication, and as scientific research has proven the benefits of additional treatments, ADDA has also expanded its education efforts to include strategies such as mindfulness practice, exercise, diet and therapy.
The World Health Organization Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Screener
The World Health Organization has prepared a self-screening questionnaire you can use to determine if you might have adult ADHD. The Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Screener will help you recognize the signs and symptoms of adult ADHD. The ASRS is comprised of 6 questions that are ranked on a scale of 0 to 4. If you have at least 4 of these 6 symptoms significantly, you may have ADHD and should seek out a formal diagnosis.
When you complete this Adult ADHD questionnaire, if the results seem to indicate you might have ADHD (that is, four or more of your answers in Part A are located in the grey boxes), then bring a copy of the questionnaire with you when you seek diagnosis to help with the diagnostic process.
A Good Starting Point
This screening test is a symptoms checklist for adult ADHD and not a diagnostic test. A full assessment and potential diagnosis of ADHD is not accomplished using an online test or during a quick doctor’s appointment. A thorough evaluation usually takes more than one visit, and must be done by a professional who is trained in ADHD*. Other conditions can sometimes resemble ADHD, so it is important to work with a professional who is able to rule out these other conditions and make the appropriate diagnosis. Many psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and some general practice physicians are trained to diagnose adult ADHD.
A thorough assessment requires a complete physical and psychiatric medical history as well as screening to rule out any possible physical disorders. All assessments should include an extensive interview with you and often with your significant other (other people are often more aware of your behaviors and struggles than you are), and the application of various symptom-rating scales. For accuracy, it is common to use more than one scale to confirm results.
*Note: The professionals qualified to diagnose ADHD, especially ADHD in adults, are defined differently by the governing bodies of mental and/or medical health professionals on a state-by-state and country-by-country level. The list of approved professionals to perform ADHD diagnoses therefore varies with each jurisdiction. The process of diagnosing ADHD, particularly in adults, requires extensive knowledge, skills and training, not only to identify ADHD properly, but to separate comorbid conditions and correctly distinguish and diagnose other conditions which may mimic ADHD. Check with your local health care governing body for a definitive list of care providers deemed qualified to diagnose ADHD.
Take the Test
To take the test, please download the Adult ADHD Questionnaire. This link will download a PDF containing the adult ASRS questionnaire, which you can print and complete by following the instructions.
Please note this test is a starting point, not as a diagnostic tool. This score is not intended as a mental disorder diagnosis, or as any type of healthcare recommendation.
You’ll Need Adobe Reader
You will need Adobe Reader in order to open and read PDF files including the ASRS. You can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download and install it without leaving this page). To open the file in your browser window, simply click on the link. However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or “Save File As.” Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.
Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open it. To print the ASRS, select the “Print” option from the menu.