Many kids who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder continue to have it as teenagers. The symptoms of ADHD in teens are similar to the ones found in children and include being easily distracted, hyperactive, impulsive, and irritability. ADHD symptoms have been found to be worse in the adolescence years during hormonal changes.
But how exactly does ADHD affect my teen?
Due to issues with poor concentration and being easily distracted, many teens with ADHD have problems staying focused at school. This results in falling grades — especially if the right treatment is not administered.
It is common for teens suffering from ADHD to forget their homework assignments, lose their textbooks and become bored with daily classwork. Teens with ADHD tend to become inattentive, an impatient (not waiting for their turn to answer questions in the classroom). This results in disruption of classes, interruption of the teacher and classmates, and the ADHD teen will often rush through their assignments.
How to Detect ADHD in Teens
Possible signs of ADHD include fidgety teens who struggle with sitting still.
Usually teens with ADHD are too busy focusing on other things to complete the one task before them. This can be seen in sports, homework, classroom activity, and/or with socializing with their peers. It is this lack of focus that contributes to the aforementioned bad test scores, not making the sports team, and often not belonging to peer groups and/or engaged in any after school activities.
My teen has ADHD – can he drive?
These teens could be impulsive risk takers, while seeking out new thrills at each turn. This makes their on the spot judgement questionable. They will often not be satisfied just driving, so they’ll often also be engaged in texting, or talking on the phone, or fiddling with music tracks, or all of the above. All these traits allow for accidents and serious injuries to occur.
If your ADHD teen is going to drive, studies have shown that they can lower the risk of accidents by taking their medications. But there are other risks for ADHD teens; they are are much more likely to be heavy drinkers than teens without ADHD; they are twice as likely to have issues with alcohol abuse, and three times more likely to abuse drugs besides marijuana.
How can I help my teen?
When it comes to treating ADHD in teens, experts feel behavior therapy is the right way to go. But according to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 80% of those requiring medication for ADHD as children still need their medication as teens.
The approach usually recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a combination of medication and behavior therapy.
Careful dosage of certain drugs (such as Intuniv, Kapvay and Strattera) have had success in treating the condition, with the more popular medications being Adderall, Focalin, Concerta and Ritalin. Careful dosage is recommended as over-medicating can lead to thoughts of suicide, drug abuse and mood swings.