Do you (or yours) have


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Answer the following questions, and decide for yourself...


Choose between Not at all, Just a little, Pretty much, and Very much:

Physical restlessness

Mental restlessness

Easily distracted


"Hot" or explosive temper

Unpredictable behavior

Difficulty completing tasks


Talks too much

Difficulty doing tasks alone

Often interrupts others

Doesn't appear to listen to others

Loses a lot of things

Forgets to do things

Engages in physically daring activities

Always on the go, as if driven by a motor

Or rate yourself using the following checklist:


Active, restless, always on the go

Afraid of things

Concentration problems, easily distracted

Anxious, worrying

Nervous, fidgety

Inattentive, daydreaming

Hot or short tempered, low boiling point

Shy, sensitive

Temper outbursts, tantrums

Trouble with stick-to-it-iveness, not following through, failing to finish things started

Stubborn, strong-willed

Sad or blue, depressed, unhappy

Un-cautious, dare-devilish, involved in pranks

Not getting a kick out of things, dissatisfied with life

Disobedient with parents, rebellious, sassy

Low opinion of myself


Outgoing, friendly, enjoy company of people

Sloppy, disorganized

Or check yourself on the following:



Disturbing thoughts


Angry outbursts (temper)

Eating problems

Sleep problems


Sexual problems

Alcohol and/or drug problems


Work/school problems

Child-rearing problems

Problems getting along with others


Health problems

Legal problems

Financial problems


Do you have a sense of underachievement, of not meeting your goals, regardless of how much you have actually accomplished?

Do you have difficulty getting organized?

Are you a chronic procrastinator?

Do you often juggle many projects simultaneously, but balk at follow-through?

Do you have a tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or

appropriateness of the remark?

Do you find yourself in an ongoing restive search for high stimulation?

Do you have a tendency to be easily bored?

Are you easily distractable, with trouble focusing attention and a tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or conversation?

Are you considered creative, intuitive, or highly intelligent?

Do you have trouble going through established channels or following proper procedures?

Are you impatient, with a low tolerance for frustration?

Are you impulsive, either verbally or in action - as in impulsively spending money, changing plans, enacting new schemes, or altering career plans?

Do you have a tendency to worry needlessly, alternating with inattention to or disregard for actual dangers?

Do you have a sense of impending doom, insecurity, alternating with high risk taking?

Do you experience mood swings or depression, especially when disengaged from a person or project?

Are you frequently restless, with lots of nervous energy?

Do you have a tendency toward addictive behavior, be it alcohol, caffiene, shopping, eating, working, etc.?

Do you have a chronic problem with self-esteem?

Are you inaccurate at self-observation, often misjudging the impact you have on others?

Do you have a family history of ADHD, bipolar affective disorder, depression, substance abuse, or other disorders of impulse control?

(Note: Some of these items may indicate other disorders, such as bipolar disorder or asperger's disorder.)

Or consider the following:

Fidgetiness or feeling restless

Difficulty remaining satisfied

Being easily distracted

Difficulty waiting your turn

Blurting out answers before the question is completed

Difficulty following through on, or completing tasks

Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks

Frequently shifting from one task to another

Difficulty doing tasks alone

Talking too much

Interrupting or intruding on others

Not listening to others

Losing important things or forgetting a lot

Engaging in physically daring activities

Always on the go, as if driven by a motor

Making decisions too quickly, or acting too quickly


Did your parents complain that you were difficult to control as a child?

Did you have any trouble starting school in kindergarten or first grade?

Did you ever repeat a grade?

Were you ever in any special classes in school?

How would you describe your grades in school?

Did your teachers think you did as well as you could?

Were you ever truant from school?

Did you often get into fights at school?

Did you ever run away from home overnight?

Did you ever get in trouble for stealing or damaging property as a child or teenager?

Have you had a lot of traffic accidents?

If yes, were most of these from not paying attention, or due to an impulsive act?

How would you describe your mood most of the time? a.) normal, stable, b.) anxious, nervous c.) depressed, sad d.) changes a lot

Do you have problems with your sleep?

Do you have problems with your weight?

Do you ever drink heavily?

Have you ever used drugs recreationally?

Have you ever misused any prescription drugs?

Are there others in your family who could answer "yes" to these questions as often as you have?

Keep in mind that high scores on these tests don't automatically mean you have ADHD. You could have a problem with Depression, Anxiety, Family problems, or other problems, which can mimic the effects of ADHD.


There are a number of things you can do to live with ADHD or ADD. (ADD is now called ADHD-Inattentive Type) One of those of course, is to take medication.

To improve your attention, you might try interacting with a speaker, such as to make comments or to ask questions. Or you might take notes. To concentrate on written material, you might use an emphasizing marker to pick out the most important sentences in each paragraph or page.

You might want to reduce the amount of distracting noise in your surroundings, if possible. You might want to get a watch with a timer and beeper on it, and set it to beep as your attention drifts from a book, or from your driving. (One source suggests that background music has the opposite effect from distracting noise.)

You could also make things to do lists, assigning priorities to things which must be done by a deadline, or things that are easy to get out of the way. Resolve not to begin another project until you have completed the one with a deadline attached to it.

One "quick and dirty" test for ADHD is to consume caffeine. That is, to drink some coffee or tea, or other source of caffeine, and observe its effect. If it calms you rather than "pepping you up," that may be a sign you have ADHD. Coffee may be more appealing to a child if it contains milk and a sweetener.

A child may not like coffee nor drink much tea, but a can of Mountain Dew soda has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. If after drinking that, he seems to calm down, or pay better attention in school, you may want to schedule an appointment with his pediatrician. (I'm not recommending drinking Mountain Dew as a regular thing, because soda pop in general is not good for health, due to its sugar.)

Most medications for ADHD are stimulants. An exception is Stattera, sometimes favored by doctors. Strattera is not a drug of abuse. An overdose will not make a person high, it is not likely to be sold on the street nor stolen by parents, and not likely to affect one's blood pressure as much as amphetamines might. By brand name it is also expensive, even when you have insurance. The generic name is atomoxitine. Even as a generic it is on tier 4 for insurance companies, which makes it expensive.

There are people who substitute coffee for Ritalin or other prescription drugs for everyday use, because it is cheaper. Today, with most children covered by Medicaid, cost is not so much a factor.

Also, Ritalin is just a brand name for an amphetamine. Many other amphetamines are generic, and often sell for very little. Check Wal-Mart for its $4 per month list, on its website. Some of the brand names are different, in that they are "time-release" versions of a drug.

Amphetamines tend to suppress appetite, so they should be given after a meal, rather than before it. They also tend to keep one awake, so are best taken earlier in the day. If they still disrupt sleep, you might check with the doctor about lowering the afternoon dose or adding a sleeping pill.

Caffeine is not a perfect treatment for ADHD. For that matter, caffeine is not a perfect test for ADHD either, but is suggested here because it is convenient as a first step.

Keep in mind that stimulant medications have a "paradoxical effect" on persons with ADHD. If the dose is too high, while it would have a wakeful effect on most people, it might have a sedative effect on an ADHD sufferer. The solution for that is not to quit the medication, but to reduce the dose.

This writer has ADHD, and once had a watch that could be set in a number of ways. I had to read a very boring book, and kept discovering my eyes had been moving over the words, though I was thinking of something else, which had been happening for at least a minute.

I kept experimenting with the watch, until with trial and error eventually it would start beeping every four minutes. When it was set at that point, it would beep exactly as my eyes would start moving over the lines as I was thinking of something else. That would remind me to pay attention, and I got through the whole book in that way, and made a decent grade on a test

25 facts about ADHD --

How is the ADHD brain different?

Consider also that a person with ADHD is not importance motivated, reward motivated, or consequence motivated. S/he is interest motivated. If a person with ADHD is playing a game, working a puzzle, or doing something creative, his motivation is high. If that competes with a reward a priority need, or consequence, the interest is likely to win out.

NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale—PARENT Informant

Today’s Date: ________________

Child’s Name: ______________________________________________

Date of Birth: ________________

Parent’s Name: _____________________________________________

Parent’s Phone Number: _____________________________

Directions: Each rating should be considered in the context of what is appropriate for the age of your child.

When completing this form, please think about your child’s behaviors in the past 6 months.

Is this evaluation based on a time when the child:

 was on medication /  was not on medication / not sure?

Symptoms Never / Occasionally / Often / Very Often (0 1 2 3)

1. Doesn't pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes with, e.g., homework. 0 1 2 3

2. Has difficulty keeping attention to what needs to be done 0 1 2 3

3. Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly 0 1 2 3

4. Does not follow through when given directions and fails to finish activities (not due to refusal or failure to understand) 0 1 2 3

5. Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities 0 1 2 3

6. Avoids, dislikes, or does not want to start tasks that require ongoing mental effort. 0 1 2 3

7. Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (toys, assignments, pencils, or books) 0 1 2 3

8. Is easily distracted by noises or other stimuli 0 1 2 3

9. Is forgetful in daily activities 0 1 2 3

10. Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat 0 1 2 3

11. Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected 0 1 2 3

12. Runs about or climbs too much when remaining seated is expected 0 1 2 3

13. Has difficulty playing or beginning quiet play activities 0 1 2 3

14. Is “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor” 0 1 2 3

15. Talks too much 0 1 2 3

16. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed 0 1 2 3

17. Has difficulty waiting his or her turn 0 1 2 3

18. Interrupts or intrudes in on others’ conversations and/or activities 0 1 2 3

19. Argues with adults 0 1 2 3

20. Loses temper 0 1 2 3

21. Actively defies or refuses to go along with adults’ requests or rules 0 1 2 3

22. Deliberately annoys people 0 1 2 3

23. Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors 0 1 2 3

24. Is touchy or easily annoyed by others 0 1 2 3

25. Is angry or resentful 0 1 2 3

26. Is spiteful and wants to get even 0 1 2 3

27. Bullies, threatens, or intimidates others 0 1 2 3

28. Starts physical fights 0 1 2 3

29. Lies to get out of trouble or to avoid obligations (i.e.“cons” others) 0 1 2 3

30. Is truant from school (skips school) without permission 0 1 2 3

31. Is physically cruel to people 0 1 2 3

32. Has stolen things that have value 0 1 2 3

The information contained here should not be used as a substitute for the

medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that

your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

(Note: Though the above article mentions sugar and artificial sweeteners, Stevia is a natural non-caloric sweetener, extracted from a plant.)