Symptom Tests

Executive Dysfunction Test: Symptoms in Adults with ADHD

Executive function deficit is not synonymous with ADHD, but its symptoms overlap in significant ways. Take this self-test and share its results with a specialist to determine if you’re experiencing executive dysfunction.

Executive Dysfunction in Adults

Like those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), people with executive dysfunctions often experience time blindness, or an inability to plan for and keep in mind future events that aren’t in the near-term. They also have difficulty stringing together actions to meet long-term goals. This is not an attention problem in the present tense, but rather a sustained attention problem.

[Related Self-Test: ADHD in Adults]

When a person has weak executive functions in certain areas, he or she may have trouble analyzing, planning, organizing, scheduling, and completing tasks. People with executive dysfunction and/or commonly lack the ability to handle frustration, start and finish tasks, recall and follow multi-step directions, stay on track, self monitor, and balance tasks (like sports and academic demands). Remediating the area of deficit reduces academic or work difficulties. If this sounds familiar, take this self-test.

This self-test is designed to determine whether you show signs of executive dysfunction. If you have concerns about executive dysfunction, see a health professional for a thorough evaluation. This self-test is for personal use only.

At least once a day do you lose or misplace items—for example, keys, wallet, purse, or a cell phone?

Do you start tasks with enthusiasm but lose interest quickly?

Do you become frustrated when things don’t go as planned and can you quickly become angry?

Do you have trouble getting started or initiating tasks?

Are you easily distracted by things you see or hear?

Do you struggle to get a handle on clutter? Does your personal space get messy with piles of papers and miscellaneous items?

Do you find it hard to do things that aren't necessary or highly stimulating?

Do you have difficulty figuring out what is most important or what you should start with given a list of things to do?

Do you say “I will do it later” and then forget all about it?

Do you become absorbed in things or tasks that interest you—sometimes to the point of forgetting about people around you or other obligations?

Do you forget appointments and do you typically run late?

Do you have trouble completing multiple-step tasks and moving from one task to another?

Do you forget things, even when they are important to you?

Do you have trouble following conversations because you are distracted or because you are trying to remember what you wanted to say?

Do you waste time trying to decide what to do first?

Do you let go of anger as quickly as it came?

(Optional) Would you like to receive your executive function disorder symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.

Executive Dysfunction in Adults: Next Steps

1. Take This Test: ADHD Symptoms in Adults
2. Take This Test: Do You Have a Working Memory Deficit?
3. Research Treatments for Executive Dysfunction
4. Read Executive Dysfunction, Explained!
5. Take This Test: Do You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?
6. Download Is It Executive Function Disorder?

32 Comments & Reviews

  1. This is my sons 100%….and I don’t know what to do about it….I have ADHD myself, but it wasn’t devastating to my life until after giving birth to my sons….but my two sons…I used to describe it as a failure to want to thrive…still now…that’s how I describe it…and they are now 16 and 20!

    1. I scored a 93%! That’s crazy. But the questions made me think of myself and certain situations. Wow. I’d definitely mention this to their ADHD doctor. I’ve got to find a specialist.

      1. I got a 93% as well. I have adult ADD, OCD, GAD, SAD & suffer from depression. I have never even heard of Executive Function Deficit before. I take medication but it does not seem to really help. I don’t know what to do at this point anymore. I am scared I will lose my jpb and I cannot afford therapy or counseling. HELP!!!

      2. There are various kinds of tests online, we do some to recognize what we did benefit or not. I think that is the meaning of the test, to help us know ourselves in these interesting ways, and remind us to make some changes.

  2. 87% — I guess the coping strategies I’ve learned have helped, but I can still see so much need for improvement. I’m excited that the mental health world is finally recognizing this as a separate area of challenge for some of us; hopefully future generations won’t have to struggle and be called “lazy” like my generation did.

    1. Sure, nowadays the young generation has more options and more opportunities. We are easy to get ourselves be lazy. But we could set some targets and deadlines to avoid procrastination subjectively.

  3. 20%–I do not think that I am little about the EFD, because the answers sometimes half yes and half no, and I have to select the button “Not Often” or “Disagree”. For example, my true answer to the question “I can’t seem to get a handle on clutter. My personal space is messy and has piles of papers and miscellaneous items. ” is “Yes, I agree that I can’t seem to get a handle on clutter, however, I am really an organized person, so My personal space is neat and well-organized.” But all the questions show me a signal about how to be a man keeping far away form EFD, that is to follow the upper option in each questions.

  4. Ok I’m a bit confused. I’m pretty sure I read an article a couple months ago that said Executive Function Disorder is essentially synonymous with ADHD. This says it’s not. I’m not sure which was written first. Can someone help me out with this? If it’s true that they’re not the same, I really need to be tested for this!

  5. Wow. 100%. At 65, I have developed some work-arounds for some things. Easier now that I’m retired, but felt like an idiot loser for so much of my life until I was diagnosed about 10 years ago.

  6. This test needs some decent bounds checking.

    I ticked all the boxes but skipped the email address as I already have multiple emails from here…. so only got 80%.

    When I did it again and put my email in , it rose to 100%…. gee I’m getting worse….
    And after logging in, hit the “Show me my results” Button and it changed to 0%…. I’M CURED! Hallelujah!

  7. I started to develop EFD at 55 and certainly haven’t had it since Childhood. I was diagnosed by a clinical psych when reviewing my cognitive impairment – which has overwhelmed my life.
    I worked in accountancy, much detail and order in my every day working life. I was successful and popular for my expertise an forensic accounting. It just doesn’t fit.
    Where can I find information on this type of EFD

    1. Are you going through menopause? I have read that the hormonal fluctuation can cause great difficulties with focus, concentration, and executive functioning. Largely I have read about those with ADHD, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t also affect the general population to a lesser degree.

Leave a Reply