Doctor adhd test

What to expect, and more

The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) screening test is an essential step in diagnosing the condition. Before treatment can begin, an individual needs a diagnosis. The condition, however, is challenging to diagnose.

ADHD is common, with doctors diagnosing almost 11% of children aged 5 to 17 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The condition also affects around 2.5% of adults, although doctors most frequently diagnose the condition in school-age children.

Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and an inability to focus are just some of the symptoms. Children may have difficulty sitting still and become easily distracted, while adults with ADHD may have trouble with their relationships, forgetfulness, and mood changes.

There is no single test that can show if an individual has ADHD. Doctors typically use a combination of physical exams, behavioral testing, and questionnaires.

Although it has no cure, treatment can reduce ADHD symptoms and help people with daily functioning. Keep reading to learn more about ADHD screening, including how to prepare, and what people can expect from the screening itself.

Currently, there is no single test doctors can use to diagnose ADHD. Doctors typically use several steps for diagnosis.

The tests that make up the screening may vary depending on the age of the person. Young children, for example, will not have the exact same screening tests as adults.

One of the tests that doctors use is an ADHD rating scale. These scales are usually checklists or questionnaires that measure ADHD symptoms. The individual, another person close to them, or both, can answer these questions.

There are different scales that doctors use to diagnose children, including:

  • Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC): This test identifies attention, hyperactivity, aggression, depression, and learning problems.
  • Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL): This scale explores the child’s behavioral problems.
  • Conners Rating Scales: These questions look for difficulties with thought processes and hyperactive or defiant behavior.
  • Vanderbilt Assessment Scale: This scale assesses ADHD symptoms and other conditions such as depression, conduct disorder, and oppositional-defiant disorder.

For adults, doctors may use:

  • Adult ADHD Clinical Diagnostic Scale (ACDS): This is an interview of 18 questions about ADHD symptoms.
  • Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Symptom Assessment Scale (BADDS) for Adults: This is a set of 40 questions that look at attention, memory, and mood issues.

Some of these ADHD rating scales consist of only a few questions and only ask about symptoms that may indicate ADHD. Others may have more than 100 questions and may ask about a range of symptoms the individual experiences.

All that said, screening for ADHD remains complex, and experts are trying to find a more straightforward approach.

In 2017, a study reviewed the potential benefits of a new, streamlined test to diagnose adult ADHD. They found that the short test could detect the vast majority of ADHD cases in adults in the general population. However, this abbreviated test is not yet a diagnostic standard.

A doctor may recommend an ADHD screening if an adult or child has relevant symptoms, even if these appear to be mild. The symptoms can vary depending on the type of ADHD that someone has.

An individual may have symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, or inattention.

Symptoms of impulsivity:

  • constant talking
  • interrupting others
  • risk-taking

Symptoms of hyperactivity:

  • fidgeting or squirming
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to complete tasks
  • continuously moving

Symptoms of inattention:

  • easily distracted
  • inability to focus
  • short attention span
  • poor organizational skills

Previously, doctors used the term attention deficit disorder (ADD) to describe inattentive individuals but were not hyperactive. However, in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association officially adopted the term “ADHD” for both adults and children.

It is important to consider that adults and children with ADHD may experience different symptoms. For example, children may appear extremely fidgety, whereas adults may have difficulty with relationships and episodes of depression.

If an individual has the symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they have ADHD. However, an ADHD screening can help someone determine if they have the condition, thereby allowing them to seek suitable treatment.

Learn more about ADHD

Learn more about ADHD and depression here.

Learn more about ADHD and relationships here.

Learn more about untreated ADHD in adults here.

Learn more about ADHD in girls here.

There are no specific or official guidelines as to the preparations for an ADHD screening. That said, a person undergoing the screening should make the doctor aware of any relevant medical history.

They may also wish to note down any questions they would like to ask during the visit. They should also be prepared to answer numerous questions, and be open about their symptoms to ensure accurate results and diagnosis.

Initially, a doctor may perform a physical exam, including vision and hearing screenings, to rule out any medical causes of any present symptoms. They will then interview the individual about their behavior, and may use a combination of other tests as well.

A doctor may use the following tests to screen for ADHD:

  • Interviews or questionnaires: If a doctor is screening a child, they may ask for input from people that the child is close to, including family members, teachers, and babysitters. This will enable them to form a picture of the child’s behavior, attitude, and sleep patterns.
  • Behavioral tests: These written tests attempt to compare the child’s behavior to other children in the same age group.
  • Psychological tests: Experts specifically designed these tests to measure how someone thinks and their level of intelligence. These tests will be appropriate for the age of the individual undergoing the ADHD screening.

A person may require several visits to enable doctors to make a full assessment and potentially diagnose them with ADHD.

People must work with a mental health professional who understands that other conditions may resemble ADHD. This will help rule out these conditions and make an accurate diagnosis.

Learn more about ADHD misdiagnosis here.

Doctors use the results from the rating scales to make an ADHD diagnosis. Based on the symptoms that someone has, doctors may diagnose them with one of three presentations of ADHD:

  • Predominantly Inattentive: If the individual has primarily had symptoms of inattention with few signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity during the past 6 months.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: If the individual has had primarily hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms, but not inattention, during the past 6 months.
  • Combined Presentation: The individual has had enough of both symptom types for the past 6 months.

Individuals should understand that because symptoms can evolve, the type of ADHD presentation may also change.

If an individual’s results show they have ADHD, they can then receive appropriate treatment. Depending on the individual’s age, treatment may include medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes.

People may need to try several different treatments combinations, and doses of medication, before finding one that works for them. If individuals have any questions about their medication or ADHD symptoms, they should talk with a healthcare professional.

ADHD screening helps doctors identify children or adults with ADHD.

There is no single test that doctors can use to diagnose ADHD. Instead, they use a combination of interviews and written tests to identify behaviors that are symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD screening is important because individuals can seek the correct treatment once they have a diagnosis. The correct combination of therapies lets an individual manage their symptoms and live without ADHD standing in their way.

Medical Testing, Scales, & Psychological Criteria

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • What Doctors Look For
  • Brain Wave Tests
  • From Diagnosis to Treatment

There's no single test to diagnose ADHD. Instead, doctors rely on several things, including:

  • Interviews with the parents, relatives, teachers, or other adults
  • Personally watching the child or adult
  • Questionnaires or rating scales that measure symptoms of ADHD
  • Psychological tests

The doctor needs to see how much a person’s symptoms are affecting their daily moods, behavior, productivity, and lifestyle habits. And they need to rule out other conditions.

With children, the doctor will talk with the parents about ADHD symptoms they have seen. The doctor will want to know what age the behaviors began and where and when the child shows symptoms. The doctor may ask for a behavior report from the child's teacher, report cards, and samples of schoolwork.

With adults, the doctor may want to talk with a spouse or other family members. They'll want to find out if the patient had symptoms in childhood. Knowing if an adult had ADHD behavior as a child is important for making a diagnosis.

To rule out other conditions, a doctor may ask for tests, including:

  • Hearing and eyesight
  • A blood test for lead levels
  • A blood test for diseases such as thyroid disease
  • A test to measure electrical activity in the brain
  • A CT scan or MRI to check for brain abnormalities


What Doctors Look For

To diagnose ADHD, doctors most often use guidelines established by the American Psychiatric Association. The group has identified 3 types of the disorder:

1. Inattentive Type: A person must have at least 6 out of these 9 symptoms, and few symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive type:

  • Doesn't pay attention to detail or makes careless mistakes
  • Doesn't stay on task
  • Doesn’t listen
  • Doesn’t follow instructions or finish schoolwork or chores
  • Trouble organizing tasks or activities
  • Avoids or dislikes doing things that take effort or concentration
  • Loses things
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful

2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: A person must have at least 6 out these 9 symptoms, and few symptoms of inattentive type:

  • Fidgets or squirms a lot
  • Gets up from their seat a lot
  • Runs or climbs at inappropriate times
  • Has trouble playing quietly
  • Always “on the go” as if “driven by a motor"
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts an answer before the question has been completed
  • Trouble waiting their turn
  • Interrupts others

3. Combined Type. This is the most common type of ADHD. People with it have symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

Along with these APA guidelines, doctors may also use rating scales to help them evaluate and track ADHD symptoms. A few examples are:

  • The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale. This 55-question assessment tool reviews symptoms of ADHD. It also looks for other conditions such as conduct disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, anxiety, and depression.
  • The Child Attention Profile (CAP). This scale is generally filled out by teachers and tracks common ADHD symptoms.
  • Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). This test looks for things like hyperactivity, aggression, and conduct problems. It also looks for anxiety, depression, attention and learning problems, and lack of certain essential skills.
  • Child Behavior Checklist/Teacher Report Form (CBCL). Among other things, this scale looks at physical complaints, aggressive or delinquent behavior, and withdrawal.
  • Conners Rating Scale. This is a questionnaire that asks about things like behavior, work or schoolwork, and social life. They can show how these symptoms affect things like grades, job, home life, and relationships.

Brain Wave Tests

The Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System is a scan that measures brain waves. The ratio of certain brain waves tends to be higher in children and adolescents with ADHD. The scan is approved for use in children ages 6 to 17, but is meant to be used as a part of a complete medical and psychological exam.

Other tests help diagnose other medical conditions that mimic ADHD. But they don’t diagnose ADHD.

From Diagnosis to Treatment

If the doctor makes an ADHD diagnosis, it's important to follow the treatment. The doctor may recommend medications and behavioral therapy. These treatments can bring relief from the symptoms and make ADHD easier to manage.

ADHD symptom test

The ADHD test includes many different symptoms that in one way or another indicate the presence of this mental disorder. However, the severity of the disease and its symptoms can vary greatly.

This test incorporates the results of previous studies to ensure the validity and reliability of results for the detection of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Do you have symptoms of ADHD? For each following statement, indicate how much you agree with it. nine0003

The ADHD test (IDR-ADHDST) is owned by IDRlabs. It builds on the work of Dr. Lenard Adler and colleagues who created the ADHD Questionnaire (ASRS). This test is not affiliated with any particular researcher or organization in the field of psychopathology.

The ADHD symptom test is based on material that has been published in the following sources: Kessler RC, Adler L, Ames M, Demler O, Faraone S, Hiripi E, Howes MJ, Jin R, Secnik K, Spencer T, Ustun TB , Walters EE. The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population. Psychol Med. 2005 Feb;35(2):245-56. doi:10.1017/s0033291704002892. PMID: 15841682; Adler LA, Spencer T, Faraone SV, Kessler RC, Howes MJ, Biederman J, Secnik K. Validity of pilot Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) to Rate Adult ADHD symptoms. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2006 Jul-Sep;18(3):145-8. doi: 10.1080/10401230600801077. PMID: 16923651; Adler, L., Faraone, S., Sarocco, P. , Atkins, N., Khachatryan, A. (2018). Establishing US norms for the adult ADHD self-report scale and characterizing symptom burden among adults with self-reported ADHD. The International Journal of Clinical Practice. nine0003

The work of Dr. Adler and colleagues looks at the main symptoms of ADHD. This work also describes certain diagnostic criteria that are intended for clinical use by qualified mental health professionals. This test provides information for educational purposes only. IDRlabs and this test are in no way affiliated with the above researchers, organizations or institutions.

The ADHD symptom test is based on known research on the condition and other psychiatric disorders. However, all free online tests like this one are only introductory materials that will not be able to determine your inherent qualities with absolute accuracy and reliability. Therefore, our test provides information for educational purposes only. Detailed information about your mental state can only be provided by a certified specialist. nine0003

As the authors of this free online ADHD symptom ratio test, we have made every effort to ensure that this test is reliable and valid through numerous validations and statistical data controls. However, free online tests like this provide information "as is" and should not be construed as providing professional or certified advice of any kind. For more information about our online tests, please see our Terms of Service. nine0003

ADD(H) test for adults


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Adult ADHD Test

Test for ADD(H) for adolescents and adults aged 17 and over, inclusive, in accordance with the methodology of the American DSM-V guide.

Number of questions: 18 .

For more information, see the article from the Notes. nine0003


- Was expressed in measure not corresponding to the level of development .

- Had a negative impact on academic performance and/or professional activities .


The test is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose any disease. nine0003

Consult a doctor for diagnosis.



Often makes nervous movements with hands or feet, or fidgets and wriggles while sitting in a chair.




Often interrupts or annoys others.

For example, breaks into conversation, games or activities without invitation; can use other people's things without asking; for teenagers or adults - they can interfere with someone else's work or continue someone else's work themselves. nine0003




Often has difficulty waiting in line.

For example, in the shop or at the game.




Often blurts out an answer before the question has been fully asked.

For example, completes sentences when others are speaking; cannot wait for their turn to join the conversation. nine0003




Often too talkative.




It is often in constant motion and behaves as if a motor was attached to it.

For example, absolutely unable or unable to stay comfortably in one place in restaurants or meetings; perhaps people around him consider him a restless person or a person with whom it is difficult to deal with. nine0003




Often has difficulty playing or spending leisure time quietly.




Often runs back and forth without restraint or climbs in situations where this is unacceptable.

Note: Teenagers and adults may not be running, jumping or climbing but may be restless and out of sorts. nine0003




Often leaves his seat in class or in other situations where the person is expected to be seated.

For example, leaving one's seat in a classroom, in an office or other place of work, or in other situations where one is expected to be seated.




Often fails to pay due attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, and other activities. nine0003

For example, does not notice or skips details, the work is not done accurately.




Often forgetful in daily activities.

For example, forgetfulness in housework, while doing errands; for older teenagers and adults - they forget to return calls, pay bills, come to a meeting or appointment (to a doctor, for example).




Often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. For older teenagers and adults, this includes thoughts that are inappropriate for the time / place.




Often loses things needed for lessons or classes.

For example, notebooks, textbooks, pencils, books, tools, keys, paper forms, glasses, mobile phones.




Often avoids, dislikes, or reluctantly takes on things that require sustained mental effort.

For example, schoolwork or school homework, for older teens and adults - preparing reports, filling out forms, studying long texts.




Often has difficulty organizing lessons and classes. nine0003

For example, trouble moving from one task in a chain to another, difficulty keeping materials and personal belongings in order, sloppy, unorganized work, poor time management, failing to complete work on time.




Often does not follow instructions to the end and does not complete class work, chores, or duties in the workplace.

For example, starts work, but quickly loses focus and easily wanders off topic.




Often it seems that he does not listen to the speech addressed to him.

Learn more