ADD Overview V: Red Flag Warnings

CLICK HERE FOR the first article in this series

Red Flags

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Final article in a 5-Part Series 

NOTE: This is NOT an “Am I dealing with ADD/HD?” list.

These items are not the same thing as diagnostic criteria.

HOWEVER, if you are wondering if ADD or ADHD might be a factor in some of your life-long struggles (or those of a loved one), take a look at this list.

Keep in mind: an instance or three is NOT necessarily an indication of a problem, or a reason to suspect that your preferences (or those of a loved one) are maladaptive.

The presence of more than a few of the Red Flags, or a great many examples of one or more of the items below is, however, a signal to you that looking more closely at the possibility of an ADD/ADHD or EFD diagnosis might be warranted.

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

I use “ADD” to include AD/HD etc. Check out What’s in a Name for why.

The Articles of the ADD Overview series:

ADD Overview 101
ADD Overview II: Identifying Traits
ADD Overview III: Associated Features
ADD Overview IV: Hyperarousal
ADD Overview V: Red Flag Warnings

Commonly seen with those diagnosed with ADD

Family history of any or all of the following

•  ADD/ADHD/MBD/HRC etc. in childhood
(even diagnosed retroactively)
•  alcoholism
•  drug abuse
•  eating disorders
  sensory defensiveness
•  anti-social personality
•  conduct disorder


  • Chronic “spaciness” and/or mind wandering
  • Extreme lack of patience
  • Unusually tactless, rude or socially inappropriate
  • Chronic lack of follow-through – LOTS of unfinished projects, missed deadlines
  • A higher than normal number of unpaid parking tickets, overdue library books, clothing with tags (meant for a store return that never happened)
  • Low level of interpersonal “follow-through” — multiple marriages, large number of serial relationships, juggling a number of relationships at a time, infidelity
  • Multiple job changes, repeatedly switching field of study or change of major in college
  • Frequent “firings” or serial job losses
  • Unexplained inattention for anything  tedious or boring
  • Unexplained negativity (common)
  • Unexplained irritability (very common) – and/or
  • Episodic Explosiveness/RAGE
  • Dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression) — or persistent low-grade “anxiety”
  • Betwetting after age 6, sometimes through adolescence (especially in males)
  • Waking extremely slowly in the morning (91%)
  • Dyslexia — “verbal” and/or spatial (55%)
  • Substance Abuse
    (Among adult substance abusers, over 70% are estimated to have ADD — Wilens)
  • A higher than normal number of traffic accidents or speeding tickets (especially unpaid speeding tickets)


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Other Related Articles on

Articles in the Executive Functioning series:

Articles in the Differential Diagnosis series:

Other Related articles ’round the ‘net




About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

2 Responses to ADD Overview V: Red Flag Warnings

  1. Pingback: Take Me Out to the BALLGAME! | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: Mental Health Awareness for February 2017 | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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