A parent's guide to ADHD in teens

October 13, 2015

The teenage years are filled with major life changes and can be especially difficult for teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If your teen has ADHD, here are some important things to keep in mind.

A parent's guide to ADHD in teens

Symptoms of ADHD in teens

ADHD is characterized by impulsiveness, inattention and hyperactivity. While teens can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe, this disorder often has a significant impact on an individual's daily function. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD in teens include:

  • Confusion and daydreaming
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Boredom
  • Distraction
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Problems sleeping
  • Talking or moving constantly
  • Frustration
  • Problems holding back emotions
  • Inappropriate statements
  • Failing to think about consequences before acting

How does ADHD affect teens?

The combination of poor concentration and distractibility often leads to difficulties at school. Poor grades may be a problem, particularly among teens who are not receiving the treatment they need. Teens with ADHD often forget about homework, become bored in class and rush through assignments.

Since many teens forget about their current task, they often end up with bad test grades. In many cases, lack of attention keeps teens from forming peer groups, becoming involved in after-school clubs and participating in sports teams.

Teen car accidents and ADHD

There is evidence to suggest that teens with ADHD are more likely to have car accidents. Teens with ADHD often have poor judgement and are very impulsive; combined with their tendency toward risk-taking behaviour, this increases their risk of having a car accident.

Given this risk, it is important for parents to set strict rules for teens when driving. For example, teens with ADHD who do not take their medication should not be allowed to drive. Teens who are caught talking on the phone or texting while driving should lose their driving privileges for a set amount of time.

Treatments for teens with ADHD

Although no cure for ADHD currently exists, excellent treatment options are available for teens. To prevent problems with substance abuse and depression, early treatment is essential. For many teens, combining behavioural therapy with medication proves effective. In some cases, ADHD schools and summer camps can also be helpful by offering tailored education plans and structured routines that help teens manage their symptoms.

It's important for parents to be accepting and supportive of teens dealing with ADHD. By maintaining open communication with your teen and working closely with their physician to implement a treatment plan, you can help your teen successfully navigate the challenging teenage years.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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