Do I have Adult ADHD? If I can concentrate on the test long enough I’ll let you know…

I read an interesting article in The Times yesterday about Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The woman writing the piece had been to see a therapist about her chronic lateness and they had suggested she might be displaying symptoms of Adult ADHD. I read on with interest, and a lot of what was said felt familiar to me. I am hopeless at remembering names, I’m clumsy, forgetful and my children will bear witness to my habit of setting off to new places without a map, certain I will get there somehow, at some point.

I think about my career and relationship history – patchy to say the least – and wonder if this is just another symptom. It’s true that I get very bored easily, and that I worry about getting bored, so will take on lots of new projects all the time just in case. I do also have an occasionally alarming habit of drifting off into my own thoughts, especially when driving. I will often look around and have no real idea of how far along my journey I am, how fast I am going, or what the speed limit is.

I struggle sometimes in conversations too, normally with people I don’t know so well, or if I know I really have to pay attention. In meetings I sometimes find I am hearing sounds coming from other people’s mouths, but however hard I concentrate, I can’t make the words make sense, or stay in my head.

The reference in the article to ‘to do’ lists makes me laugh. It says lists are hopeless for someone with ADHD. Ask us to make a list and we will write down 100 things, start them all and then panic. It sounds all too familiar. But is this really a diagnosable condition, or just modern life as a single parent with two children and a collection of jobs?

I decide to do a quiz online, as obviously a random cyber-test is the most effective way to diagnose important medical conditions.  There are some questions that strike a chord. Are my thoughts like static in my head? Do they whizz round my brain like a pin ball machine? Well yes, but this doesn’t sound terribly scientific to me…

A lot of the questions don’t feel relevant though – I don’t have a short temper, I’m not easily upset and I don’t think I could say that I’d rather be up doing something all the time than having a nice sit down. I feel quite relieved, I’m surely not going to score highly in this case.

I finish the quiz and get a score of 70. Hmmm.

If you scored… You may have…
70 & up
50 – 69
35 – 49
25 – 34
0 – 24
Adult ADHD
Moderate ADHD
Borderline ADHD
No ADHD likely

OK, no need to panic. Einstein had ADHD after all, and sufferers are likely to be highly creative, instinctive and full of energy, so maybe it’s a good thing. I read the blurb underneath:

“It is highly likely that you are presently suffering from adult attention deficit disorder, according to your responses on this self-report questionnaire. You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, it would be advisable and likely beneficial for you to seek further diagnosis from a trained mental health professional immediately.”

Immediately? That sounds a bit worrying. What does that mean exactly? Should I be phoning the local mental health team and handing myself in? Obviously I can’t possibly do that today, as I have a hundred other things to be getting on with. I need to take the bed I sawed in half last night to the tip, I have several work deadlines to meet, and I’m half way through pressure washing my patio.

I will just have to add ‘seek medical help’ to my list…

Why not take the test and tell me how you score?

Photo credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory



  1. 7 April, 2010 / 8:00 am

    oooh can you post the link to the online test? would love to know how many of us have adult adhd

    • 7 April, 2010 / 8:06 am

      That would have been sensible wouldn’t it??! I have added a link in the post – let me know how you get on!

  2. lesleyharrison
    7 April, 2010 / 8:11 am

    I scored 74. I guess I have ADHD too. I have been called hyperactive before by friends, though. Didn’t realise I had an attention probl…..ooh, shiny!

    • 7 April, 2010 / 8:16 am

      lol – glad to hear I’m not the only one :-)

  3. 7 April, 2010 / 8:16 am

    OMG….85?! Maybe I’ll retake on a calmer day! It does all sound very familiar though…I’m going to try not to worry, worrying will make it worse won’t it? And there’s already so much I’ve got to do today ;)

    • 7 April, 2010 / 8:29 am

      Oh my -you DO need to turn yourself in! It does say at the beginning though to base your answers on how you feel most of your adult life, rather than how you feel right now. Obviously I wasn’t paying proper attention so I missed that first time round!

  4. 7 April, 2010 / 8:29 am

    Damn I only scored 46. Boo – now I have to pin my inadequacies down to something else!

    • 7 April, 2010 / 8:32 am

      Boo! You can always blame the children.

  5. 7 April, 2010 / 8:30 am

    Clever post and familiar to many, I’m sure. Like the bit about sitting down – I start loads of stuff, forget half of….what list? But I do like a good sit down to recover.

    • 7 April, 2010 / 8:32 am

      It does seem to be a bit of a weird balance – hyperactive one minute, comatose in front of Sex and the City with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates the next!

  6. 7 April, 2010 / 8:51 am

    Your post made me laugh! I know it’s not really a funny thing adult ADHD but it can be. Yes, I absolutely concur that creative, intelligent, interesting person ALL have ADHD.

    Of course that’s mainly because I do. ;-p

    • 7 April, 2010 / 2:01 pm

      Ooh do you really have it? As in not just self diagnosed on the internet? Did you have it as a child? Lots of things I have read say there is no evidence you can develop it as an adult if you haven’t had it as a child.

  7. 7 April, 2010 / 2:10 pm

    Well I haven’t been officially diagnosed as my parents didn’t do that sort of thing, BUT both son and Dark Princess have it and various aspects of it. In the session with the psyc and DP he said ‘Now of course you realise the genetic endowment you’ve given your daughter’. Yeah yeah ok then! I could write a book on ADHD (in fact I should right after I finish writing this email reply, and the blogs and the business, and cooking a Pav and doing the housework and and….)

    I hate to say this cos it sounds like bragging, but actually there is a link between creativity, high intelligence and ADHD (and depression btw).

    • 7 April, 2010 / 3:01 pm

      Very interesting – it does have a strong genetic component doesn’t it? Do you do anything specific to manage it or just be aware?

  8. 7 April, 2010 / 2:11 pm

    Phew! Only 15 – much lower than I thought though! haha

    • 7 April, 2010 / 3:01 pm

      Gosh, that it the lowest yet – well done on being super calm :-)

  9. 7 April, 2010 / 2:25 pm

    65. Moderate. Oh god I’m moderate in everything I do. Can’t even get a full blown result.

    Some of the questions were like they were reading my mind though. Spooky.

    • 7 April, 2010 / 3:02 pm

      Oh dear! ‘moderate’ is no fun is it? You could always do it again and exagerate a bit…

  10. Emma
    7 April, 2010 / 6:11 pm

    Surprisingly I only got 20! I thought it may be intelligent enough to pick up the fact that I flick constantly between tv channels and websites!!!!

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:45 am

      I think you may be giving the test more credit than it deserves!

  11. vachebleu
    7 April, 2010 / 6:33 pm

    Oh Dear! I scored 85. Could explain a lot, especially when I was quite high on an autism spectrum quiz too.

    On the other hand I shouldn’t believe everything I read on the internet!!

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:47 am

      Maybe you were still on that sugar high from our easter egg hunt? I’ve heard the internet is full of nonsense anyway – mainly the ramblings of thirty something women with nothing better to do than take online personality tests and then tell everyone about it. Oh hang on…

  12. 7 April, 2010 / 6:37 pm

    I scored a 13. Of course, I don’t have kids, nor am I married. I likely have less going on that would generate such a disorder.

    Great post, as always.

    “Obviously I can’t possibly do that today, as I have a hundred other things to be getting on with.” Brilliant!

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:54 am

      Thanks Brian!

      I have tended to blame being a parent in the past for my scattiness, but as they get older and I get worse I’m not so sure…

  13. 7 April, 2010 / 7:05 pm

    21 for me! Although on a stressful day I am sure I would score much higher! I do often wonder whether sometimes we as humans, give labels such as ADHD because we need a name for a group of traits or whether it really is something that we can’t change so easily. Working with people with ADHD it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between actual ADHD and “suspected” or misdiagnosed ADHD.

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:56 am

      I’m sure you’re right that there are a lot of people (like me!) looking for a label as an excuse for something – I am not really helping the ADHD cause I’m sure! Equally there must be plenty of people who do actually have a recognised condition but aren’t getting support for it.

  14. veryanniemary
    7 April, 2010 / 7:20 pm

    I scored 64, and I am ADHD as is my eldest daughter, but as I am on medication it was tricky to answer the questionnaire as if I wasn’t on meds. and I am not going to stop the meds. Oh no…the kids need to go to school and they need to be fed with clean clothes, by the time they get there….

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:58 am

      Gosh, lucky you have the meds to bring you down to 64 then by the sounds of it! Always good to get the kids to school with breakfast and clean clothes. Not something I manage every day though I must say…

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:58 am

      Don’t worry – it just means you are highly creative and intelligent :-)

    • 8 April, 2010 / 6:59 am

      Don’t worry – it just means you are highly creative and intelligent :-)

  15. 8 April, 2010 / 3:25 pm

    I got 73 no surprise the risk of sounding controversial I think ADHD is really a form of mental illness insofar as I think people with it are self absorbed, daydreamers, used to self regulating their emotions and self reliant due to having to become that way usually due to having children trauma/neglectful parents …well this is my theory about myself no idea about you. I think yes I was always bored at school, uni, work etc and even now find it hard to concentrate even though I am IQ wise intelligent and I think that is more an emotional disturbance than anything else.

    • 9 April, 2010 / 7:24 am

      Fingers crossed my mum doesn’t read this comment then!

  16. 8 April, 2010 / 7:36 pm

    39. Hark at me, Miss Cool And In Control. Oh hang on, if 78 makes you highly creative and intelligent Jo, what does that make me ?…..

    • 9 April, 2010 / 7:26 am

      Ooh get you with your 39! It makes you able to focus on one creative and intelligent task at a time :-)

  17. 9 April, 2010 / 2:03 pm

    lol what i meant is say stuff happened maybe stuff that would not affect every child only maybe a sensitive one maybe someone’s parents rowed a lot or some ongoing trauma occured – children learn to tune it out and go into their own world, survival mode…then in adulthood you don’t need this ‘skill’ anymore but it is still there and hard to let go of…this seguing into fantasy world…that’s how i see it.

    • 9 April, 2010 / 6:07 pm

      I think you’re probably right – I’m sure behaviours learnt in childhood must have a massive impact on how you behave as an adult and I definitely have a bit of ‘tuning it all out’ going on.

      • Kelly-boy
        16 April, 2010 / 3:07 pm

        That tuning out theory is interesting, but my parents didn’t fight much in front of me, didn’t fight much with me, were part of the happy and supportive family that surrounded me and encouraged me in many ways. Probably why I was so long in coming to realize that ADHD was part of my life. I was made to feel like I belonged irregardless of my inability to concentrate on things i found boring or my ability to hyper focus on things that held my interest (focus to the exclusion of everything else). What about child ADHD, wouldn’t the environment similarities be an obvious part of diagnosis? ie. “Oh, his parents are always fighting and screaming in front of him, that’s why he can’t focus on his homework.”

        At this point there are few, if any, definitives, so any avenue is worth looking down, I personally don’t hold out much hope for this one though.

        • 16 April, 2010 / 6:37 pm

          Your family sound lovely. It reminds me of a story I once read about a boy who had been blind from birth. His family just never made a big deal out of, so he never saw it as anything strange – he did everything that his siblings did. Although cricket I seem to remember was always hazardous…

  18. 9 April, 2010 / 5:58 pm

    I scored 30…. was quite nervous waiting for the results! I have to say I think that I would score differently on different days depending on what was going on at the time. Great post x

    • 9 April, 2010 / 6:08 pm

      A very respectable result! I smiled to myself at the thought of you sitting anxiously awaiting your results :-)

  19. 10 April, 2010 / 3:02 pm

    You know, that might explain things for me. I have huge trouble hearing people these days.

    • 11 April, 2010 / 2:08 pm

      It may well do then. It’s a weird sensation for me. A bit like when I’m drunk and can hear voices but not make sense of anything!

  20. 11 April, 2010 / 2:27 pm

    I scored 68 – which surprised me in a way but sort of fits in with my need to be busy all the time. I’d probably have scored higher if I’d have been completely truthful about 2 of the questions *blush*

    I’ve also sent the link to this blog post to a friend of mine who is exactly as you describe yourself.

    • 11 April, 2010 / 2:29 pm

      Oooh! You cheated!! ‘Fess up, which questions did you lie about?? (I promise not to tell…)

      • 12 April, 2010 / 9:54 am

        Can’t remember now… my mind has wandered and I’ve slept since then ;)

  21. 11 April, 2010 / 7:02 pm

    You bring up a point that leads some to question the existence of ADHD. ADHD is a spectrum condition that encompasses many different symptoms. Our busy society can cause us to show ADHD like behaviors. While someone may display the signs, habits, and/or symptoms of ADHD without actually having it. To be diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms must interfere with your life in two places (i.e. both at home and at school or work). That is why it takes a psychiatrist to diagnose ADHD.

    • 12 April, 2010 / 6:17 am

      You are right of course – I am making light of a subject that can effect people’s lives very seriously, and I hope no-one reading this would take the word of on online quiz over getting proper medical advice. Thanks for the comment.

  22. Kelly-boy
    16 April, 2010 / 3:46 am

    It should be noted that depression and other similar problems can skew your test results. That’s why they suggest you seek help if you score in the higher …. is that a chicken? That reminds me, I need to get eggs. Where did I put that grocery list … and what was I talking about?

    • Kelly-boy
      16 April, 2010 / 3:55 am

      BTW I score in the 80’s so I get to joke a bit!

  23. 3 May, 2010 / 4:43 pm


    I know im a bit late coming in to comment on this one but just wanted to say that I followed your link and got a score of over 80 :-s lol
    I wrote a post the other week about my brain feeling like mush…might actually spur me on to start writing a To do lit on my blog…shame myself into actully doing things i put off and let peopl check up on me!
    I’ll write the post and link back to you :-)

    • 3 May, 2010 / 8:11 pm

      80+ eh? Nice score! I’ll look forward to reading your post and checking up on you :-)

  24. Janine
    5 December, 2010 / 6:54 am

    Scored 86. Started researching adhd and now think I’ll see my doctor to be diagnosed properly. It would explain so much about my life and all the ways I’ve noticed I’m different to most people e.g. struggle to sit through a movie; watching a dvd is not my idea of a good time!

  25. Becca
    25 March, 2012 / 10:01 pm

    Woah – I found this test yesterday as I was googling for an explanation to my son’s behaviour and I thought – gosh that sounds like me. So I did it and got 103!!! Oh wow….off to the doc I go!

    • 26 March, 2012 / 12:32 pm

      Goodness! Sorry about that Becca, I didn’t mean to reveal any secret disorders!

  26. amber
    17 January, 2013 / 11:51 am

    scored 31 border line me lol and i am a parent of 4 with one of them that might have broke there foot again oh fun x

  27. 16 December, 2013 / 10:44 am

    Your post is helpful to everyone. If you post the link of the online test for ADHD, that will help us to test ourselves. Thanks for sharing good information and your experience through this post.

  28. Miranda
    3 July, 2014 / 7:09 pm

    I scored a 45…

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