What Are Signs You Might Have ADD (Without a Psychiatric Evaluation)?

Signs of ADD

Have you ever wondered if you might have attention deficit disorder (ADD), also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Have you ever thought that it might be holding you back from living the life you want? Is ADD/ADHD the reason why you aren’t performing up to your potential at work, why your relationships sizzle then burn, or why you never seem to follow through on your goals? The best way to determine if you have this condition that affects an estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults is to undergo a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. But if a psych eval isn’t in the cards for you right now, check to see if you have any of the following common signs of ADD/ADHD.


1. You have trouble completing routine tasks.

Do you find it hard to stay focused on everyday tasks? Is it challenging for you to do household chores, fill out your monthly reports at work, or pay the bills? Nobody gets a thrill out of paying bills, but most people can complete the task while those with ADD/ADHD often get so bored they don’t finish it. This can lead to late payments, overdraft fees, and mounting debt.

Nobody gets a thrill out of paying bills, but most people can complete the task while those with ADD/ADHD often get so bored they don’t finish it. This can lead to late payments, overdraft fees, and mounting debt. Click To Tweet

2. You can only stay focused when interested.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, are you easily able to pay attention when you’re engaged in something you love? For example, if you’re a big basketball fan, can you spend hours watching games on TV, checking scores on your phone, or participating in a fantasy sports league? Being able to stay laser-focused only when you really like something is another sign associated with ADD/ADHD.

3. You’re a thrill-seeker.

Do you gravitate toward activities like bungee jumping, riding motorcycles, or rock climbing without ropes? Are you the type who loves scary movies? Needing stimulation or excitement is a classic sign of ADD/ADHD. If you’re like most people with the condition, you probably feel most alive when things are new, novel, interesting, highly stimulating, or frightening.

4. You get easily distracted.

Do you get easily distracted by outside stimuli, such as light, sounds, smells, certain tastes, or even the clothes you’re wearing? People with ADD/ADHD tend to have keen sensitivity that can be distracting. For example, in a job interview, you may find yourself tuning out from the question the interviewer is asking because the tag on the back of your shirt is so itchy it’s demanding all of your attention.

5. You’re disorganized and messy.

Is your desk a complete mess or covered with piles of unorganized documents that make it hard to find what you need? Are your closets cluttered? Are dirty clothes strewn about the floor even though the laundry hamper is nearby? Most people with ADD/ADHD tend to struggle with organization, which can make it harder to perform at your best.

6. You’re almost always late.

Are you chronically running late for meetings and appointments? Do your family members get upset with you because you keep them waiting? Do you get into hot water at work because you show up after your designated start time? Having trouble managing time is a common sign of ADD/ADHD.

7. You procrastinate.

When you have an assignment due at work, do you find yourself waiting until the last minute to get started? Do you tend to ignore your honey-do list until your spouse gets mad at you for not doing it? Having ADD/ADHD is associated with procrastination.

8. You have a hard time with impulse control.

Do you impulsively say or do things you regret later? Do you neglect to think through the consequences of your actions? Many people with ADD/ADHD have issues with impulse control, which can get you into trouble in your relationships or at work.

9. You tend to make the same mistakes over and over.

Do you have a hard time learning from your mistakes? Do you make some sort of blunder, vow never to do it again, then find yourself repeating it anyway? Not learning from past errors is associated with ADD/ADHD.

10. You create drama in relationships.

Are you the type who likes to irritate people to get a rise out of them? Do you get a secret thrill when you have an argument with your spouse then make up? These can be signs of ADD/ADHD, as people with the condition tend to be conflict-seeking and create problems as a way to build excitement.

11. Your symptoms started early in life.

ADD/ADHD is referred to as a developmental disorder because it emerges early in life. It is not something that shows up in middle age. If you develop symptoms of the condition as an adult but never had them as a child, it is likely due to something else, such as depression, chronic stress, hormonal changes, a head injury, or some form of toxic exposure.


Hyperactivity is one of the most well-known symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD. You may assume that if you aren’t hyperactive you can’t have ADD/ADHD, but that isn’t the case. That’s because ADD/ADHD isn’t just one thing. Brain SPECT imaging shows that there are 7 types of ADD/ADHD, and hyperactivity is only seen in certain types of the disorder. Knowing the symptoms associated with each of the 7 types can be helpful in determining if you might be struggling with the condition.


If you suspect you have ADD/ADHD, what can you do? Many people think stimulant medication is the only way to treat the condition, but there are many natural solutions that can be effective. Eliminating caffeine, exercising more, avoiding simple carbohydrates are just a few of the lifestyle changes that can help. If your symptoms don’t improve, or if they are creating problems in your life at work, in your relationships, or at school, it may be time to seek a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation that includes brain SPECT imaging, lab work, and more.

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Hello, is overactive mind one of the symptoms? When in conversation, struggling to find the right word and then becoming overly anxious and stressed another symptom.
    I get easily tired when stressed and working with paper work at work

    Comment by Cassi — September 27, 2021 @ 3:57 AM

  2. I raised a add hyper child and two things that you did not mention are erratic sleep patterns. These children tend to need more sleep and because of it may need longer sleep . Lack of sleep causes many more issues with them in school and socially. I had my child in rolled in later classes. Lucky for us the school district in my area had a late afternoon program where he attended . Also, as the child enters puberty they seem to need less medication and not more. My child was mostly off and on meds, I really did not like them but it was useful at times. He is now a adult and medication free but still suffers from adhd however he is crazy smart and uses it wisely. Many of these kids end up thinking out of the box and very successful.

    Comment by Donna — September 27, 2021 @ 3:57 AM

  3. Thank you for another wonderful article.

    Comment by Timothy Lee — September 27, 2021 @ 4:30 AM

  4. I think I might have it

    Comment by Tsunade Lavinier — September 27, 2021 @ 5:30 AM

  5. I know I have ADD. Lifetime of struggling. What can I do about it besides being medicated with stimulants?

    Comment by Beverly Simons — September 27, 2021 @ 5:53 AM

  6. What about supplements for young children?

    Comment by Colette — September 27, 2021 @ 8:09 AM

  7. I am 65 years old. I was asked by a dear friend 10 years ago, a special ed teacher for 32 years, if I was ever told I had ADHD. I said no, I didn’t know what he was talking about. I was surviving, I knew I procrastinated, I knew I was an impulse eater, but I wasn’t over weight. I knew I purchased things because there was cash available, not because I needed them. I would take day long drives to clear my head. As a child I always felt weird, always said the wrong things, and I still do. My mind runs about a million miles a second, I like it in some ways, I am creative and always have idea’s some so large people laugh when I tell them or look at me strangely, something I am used to. 6 years ago I became a personal trainer. I told people it was because of a breast cancer diagnosis. Truly it was because I hated to exercise, yes I hiked and biked but needed more. I knew If I became a trainer I would have to work out with my clients a win win for both. BUT the ADHD seems to be getting worse. I can’t stay focused on much any more. Now I am admitting I must be ADHD and want to feel better. I have done all the natural stuff mentioned in this article. So now, I am looking for meds. That piece is different, but I am getting desperate. I live in a maze of thoughts that I can’t seem to control any longer. I would run to the nearest clinic (San Diego) and ck in but my lack of financial responsibility makes that impossible. What can be done when I feel I have done everything. I take Ginko, Huperzine A. Vinpocetine, and CoQ10. I need to get out of this financial mess.

    Comment by Cathy — September 27, 2021 @ 8:09 AM

  8. Very good concise article. My husband has ADD, it greatly affects our marriage. No one ever formally diagnosed him, but I am sure. Trying to get him help, but getting a psychiatrist appointment now is very difficult. One big problem, he doesn’t acknowledge most of his ADD symptoms and recognition is the first step. I can see how this can cause many divorces. It feels like ADD can lend itself to the attitude of “I’m fine, it’s your problem “ or just not being honest or willing to admit the severity of this disorder. Hopefully this article may help some others seek help. Thank you !

    Comment by Janice — September 27, 2021 @ 9:05 AM

  9. I was and still am ADD/HDHD and I am 68 years old. I raised a son the same way, yet he was and is a pleaser. Thank goodness there was medication for him to take that helped greatly and He knew how useful the meds were. One thing we requested for his core classes be in the morning. I had no medication during my youth only many many spankings in school. Finally in the fifth grade I learned how to become more organized and that helped. In high school I studied five to six hours every afternoon to keep my grades up. Memorization was the only way I could make passing grades. Still I have to work at staying focussed on a task. Physical task are still my best interest. I have a Grandson that has all the issues of these disorders and he is suffer through all the problems with meds. Personally I think a lot of counseling should be added to students with these issues to help them deal with problems

    Comment by Ann Wright — September 27, 2021 @ 10:33 AM

  10. Hello Cathy, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling you an appointment as well as answer any questions you may have regarding costs, financing options, and insurance. We look forward to speaking with you soon

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 27, 2021 @ 11:25 AM

  11. My husband has all these ADD symptoms, is in total denial about it, and he’s not into any doctors, much less counselors and psychiatrists. He knows more than all of them. I’m the one with a diagnosis (bipolar) so every conflict is because I am upset over nothing “real” or important, or it’s all in my head, or just an irritable mood or wrong perception, and everything is “fine”. The one that gets me going when things get really hot is “You haven’t done the ‘work’.” (Hah!!!) Well, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. Believe it or not, we get along great 90% of the time . He has many fine qualities, though his risk-taking (stock market gambling and going without a COVID vaccine), messiness and disorganization, lateness, leaving things halfway done, and procrastination drive me up the wall, I’ve put up with this for 27 years. I must be Superwoman or as crazy as he says.

    Comment by V — September 27, 2021 @ 11:31 AM

  12. Great article and comments 👏
    Our disorder is as varied and complex as ever! I’m a mom w 3 kids new 2nd huband we all have adhd/add plus many in our extended family too!!!
    It’s soooo very challenging but worth all the research, constant counseling and meds to keep is all start and moving forward. Family is everything ❤ Thank God we’re all still thriving inspite of our disability!

    Comment by Julie — September 27, 2021 @ 11:47 AM

  13. Wow. What an insightful piece-thank you Amen Clinics. Also, thank you to the readers who shared their stories. Donna, you gave me hope about my 15 year old’s future. <3 Janice, you validated why my marriage largely failed-ex has ADD and other disorders-and why the issues have continued 11 years later. Everything is still "my fault". My sons are now 12 and 15 and by the grace of God, they are thriving, including my ADD kid! But, according to the ex, I have done everything wrong, yadda, yadda, yadda. Lately I have been wondering if I actually have PTSD from his constant emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. To add another layer to this scenario, when my son was diagnosed with ADD, etc., I was as well. I am medicated, unlike my ex and take ownership of my behaviors related to ADD.

    Comment by Kelli — September 27, 2021 @ 12:20 PM

  14. I have enjoyed this article. Very informative.
    Husband & both our sons have this. Boys were formally tested & treated with meds growing up. Both boys off meds for past 10 plus years & doing great in young/adulthood.
    So wish my husband could have followed Thru with his neuro-psych work up, enough to help him. Unfortunately he has been a chronic under-achiever and extreme procrastinator. Have been on the brink of divorce with him for many years. He could not ever get it together! It is very sad. His father had it too looking back at all the challenges he had and became an alcoholic. My husband is 70 plus and really could have had a different life. We are just getting by . If you have any words of wisdom I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you for educating us!

    Comment by Jean — September 27, 2021 @ 4:55 PM

  15. Hello Beverly, thank you for reaching out. For information about SPECT scans and our services, visit https://amenclinics.com/approach/amen-clinics-method/ or contact our Care Coordinators here: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 27, 2021 @ 6:07 PM

  16. Thank you all for sharing difficult segments of your existance…also your hopes! ADHD is a challenge as many others in this earthly life but with a very special twist.
    ADHD children will transform you, enslave you with 10 times the upbringing effort and rocket you in the realm of worry world. You stay and sacrifice yourself as you are genetically programed to love and care for your offsprings but you side track your own interets and potential. Many do fine later in life fueled by all that parental love and caring! Cool and awesome when it happens.
    On the other hand, ADHD spouses in denial will imperceptibly destroy you by depriving the couple of peacefull expansion of love in a productive context. ADHD spouses are champion blamers, they blame as they are to vulnerable to looking factually, they are intellectualy fragile. They do not recognize their responsibility in conflicts and shortfalls. They force others to adjust and become temperamental if sollicited for a rational factual discussion on most topics. You CAN NOT have a meaningfull discussion with a denial ADHDer!
    So why would someone stay… for many reasons, kids, finances, lack of personal confidence, and above all, past institutionalization which formed our thoughts as to how we should live our lives. Domestication would labell it better. We choose familiarity over hapiness.
    All thisbeing said it’s obvious that many eagles do not soar as they did earlier in their single lives…. they now walk on the ground with others bound to this plane! Is that living life fully? No! Some eagles even accept walking in knee deep mud for decades.

    And to all you ladies out there who live with an know it all ADDer you have the worst scenario.

    Thanks you Amen Clinics for all that you can do for those who accept to reach out.

    Comment by Walking eagle — September 28, 2021 @ 2:21 AM

  17. I am 81 years old. Was diagnosed with ADD when I was 55 years old. Having terrible time with most symptoms. Impulse spending, eating and procrastinating. It us hard on my husband, too. He will not learn about ADD so he does not know what I deal with every minute.
    I have Dr. Amen’s dvd and books. They are great.

    Comment by Helen Stark — September 28, 2021 @ 8:15 AM

  18. Thank you for mentioning the possible heavy metal connection. That was me. I did not have ADD as a kid. Unfortunately it took 20 years from a Functional Med doctor to discover that aspect of my list of health problems. Years of detox (Cutler) greatly improved most of my symptoms but the ADD is still somewhat of a limiting factor in my life.
    Dr. Amen’s books and the results from a SPECT scan 15 years ago helped me to get substantial reduction in ADD related symptoms. The checklists in Dr Amen’s books had me mostly convinced but the SPECT confirmed the matter. It helps with compliance.
    The small dose of medication plus Dr. Amen’s recommended supplements continue to be helpful. Apparently the hyperactivity was mostly due to food sensitivities that were mostly resolved by detox.
    Don’t give up hope! Definitely don’t just assume that you have a quirky personality and nothing can be done except pay Big Pharma every couple months. There might be underlying problems that when addressed can make your life and relationships better.

    Comment by Joe — September 28, 2021 @ 2:28 PM

  19. I am an older adult with ADHD symptoms. I had to re-read the article because my mind kept wandering. Disappointed no every day solutions were offered for those of us who can’t get treatment.

    Comment by DorothyMolder — October 2, 2021 @ 4:04 AM

  20. I loved it when you said that the best way to determine if you have this condition that affects an estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults is to undergo a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. I have a child with ADD, and just going through this allowed us to see that none of this was our fault and that there WERE ways to make this better for all of us that didn’t automatically have to resort to medicating my child. I will have my child be evaluated with ADD soon.

    Comment by Jeff Carbine — November 11, 2021 @ 8:03 PM

  21. Thank you for explaining that when you’re able to stay laser-focused on something only when you really like it could be a sign of ADHD. My daughter has always struggled with staying focused, but she can always focus on anything related to Harry Potter and she can know even the most obscure facts about the movies or the books. It makes me wonder if she has been struggling with ADD or ADHD her whole life and we never knew so I wonder if we should get that assessed soon just to see if there’s anything that can be done to help her with being able to focus on other things as much as she does what she loves.

    Comment by Olivia Smart — January 19, 2022 @ 9:30 AM

  22. Great article, I’m actually going through this atm, it has been part of me since I was a kid due to the environment I was raised, but now worse as I type rn, cuz the inflation in my country is alarming, hike in price, insecurity concern. I’m just in a state where I’m mostly depressed, and it has led to ADD/ADHD.

    Comment by Mayor — June 13, 2022 @ 12:06 PM

  23. I’m stuck on the fact that I dont meet the criteria for childhood. Yes I got drained after being around people and needed to recharge, thoughts have always been racing and thoughts switching constantly. Even if I’m relaxed in a thigh it there’s always four parallel ones. I procrastinate like crazy. But never got into fights, self-aware if anything. Do you guys recognize

    Comment by Mogun — April 19, 2023 @ 4:54 PM

  24. It was informative when you said people with ADHD have a sensitivity that can be distracting. A friend wasn't able to focus on our conversation until he cut off a part of his hair that was distracting him. And this is not the only time he got easily sidetracked. He might need to see a professional.

    Comment by Elaina De Agostino — June 1, 2023 @ 2:00 AM

  25. I am going to be honest I am 31 years old and am just now realizing that I may have ADD. Since I was a child I have struggled with focusing on anything. I always hated school because it was so hard for me. For the longest I just thought I was dumb. But I now realize it is a disorder. School was hard because I could not focus long enough to comprehend anything. Even now as an adult having a conversation with someone and all of a sudden daze off completely missing what they said and don’t even realize it. I find myself walking in circles in the grocery store because I can’t remember where anything is. Or still having to use gps to go to places that I’ve been to a million times. When reading ill re-read the same sentence over two to three times trying to process it because as I’m reading my brain is still else where. It’s pretty rough. I don’t think people really understand the severity of it. Im not sure what to do. Does meds even help?

    Comment by Victoria — June 2, 2023 @ 7:34 AM

  26. Hi guys my daughter is 9 and shes getting distracted very quick. Shes not ADHD i have tested her, Can she be ADD? and does she need Ritalin? it wasnt like this before ever since her father died 3 years ago she got more distant and she doesnt like organizing shes messy etc. What can i do

    Comment by Danielle — August 3, 2023 @ 2:44 AM

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