ADHD in Teens

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is typically diagnosed in the early stages of a child’s life. Symptoms of ADHD do not go away or get cured as the child ages. In some cases an individual may go undiagnosed into their teen and even adult years. The individual may have been dealing with their symptoms internally but with hormonal changes that come along with being a teenager, their symptoms might become too much for them to handle on their own.  Early intervention of ADHD can allow children to learn to cope with their symptoms. 

1. Does ADHD Get Worse as a Teenager?

Symptoms of ADHD may become worse as a child grows older. With a combination of hormonal changes and challenges related to their symptoms, teens with ADHD may struggle to maintain long lasting and meaningful relationships. They might struggle keeping friends or keeping a girlfriend/boyfriend. Their peers might find them immature or lacking social skills. Children with ADHD mature slowly compared to their peers. Friends they had when they were younger might find it difficult to maintain the friendship as they grow older.  It is important for a teen with ADHD to practice their social skills and become aware of respecting the boundaries of others. 

2. ADHD and High Risk Behavior

Due to their impulsive tendencies, a teen with ADHD may be more likely to participate in high risk behaviors. When a teen with ADHD gets their driver’s license, it will be imperative that parents set boundaries for the child and to only allow the teen to drive when they have demonstrated the abilities to control their impulsivity. Furthermore, a teen with ADHD may be more vulnerable to addictions to drugs, alcohol and nicotine. Parents and teachers of teens with ADHD should be communicating about changes in the teens behavior that may signify an addiction problem. 

3. How to Diagnose ADHD in Teenagers?

It may be more difficult to diagnose a teen with ADHD compared to a younger adolescent. It is common for parents and teachers to blame any challenging behavior on teen angst. A common sign that a teen is struggling with ADHD symptoms is that they are struggling to keep up with academics, struggling maintaining friendships, unable to emotionally regulate or not able to sustain attention for a period of time. If a teen is consistently demonstrating any of these behaviors, parents may want to consider setting an appointment with their healthcare provider. 

4. Preparing for Adulthood

A teen with ADHD will need more support with the transition from teen to adult. If they take medications, they may need support with learning how to become independent with their timing and dosage. Lightsail offers a multitude of books that will help teens with ADHD learn to navigate new social situations and manage money which are some more skills that a teen with ADHD might need. Setting up a support team for teens with ADHD can assist the teen and set them up for success as they transition into adulthood. 

Posted on 8.Aug.21 in Struggling Readers

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