It’s more difficult to diagnose in teens because hyperactive symptoms are less obvious. If your teen was diagnosed with ADHD, it’s not the end of the world.
They may struggle in some areas, but there is nothing that they won’t be able to overcome with proper treatment and organizational skills.
-Disorganization. Especially when it comes to homework. ADHD teens are typically very smart but their lack of organizational skills prevents them from completely school assignments. Maybe they forgot to write it down or left it in their locker. This can bring their grade from an A to an D very quickly.
-Lack of focus. A teen with ADHD might have trouble staying on task — and are easily distracted. They may start on a project only to end up starting another before finishing. Being easily distracted can lead to careless mistakes at school, work, or home.
-Fidgeting. Restlessness is a common sign of ADHD. Typically teens with ADHD might find it difficult to sit still without squirming or getting up to walk around. You will notice many teens with ADHD will use music (ear-buds) as they are in the car for long rides with the family — to help sooth them.
-Impulsivity. Teens in general tend to be more impulsive than adults. For a teen with ADHD, resisting temptation may be particularly difficult, potentially leading to dangerous decisions. A teen with ADHD with act without thinking about the consequences.
-Social awkwardness. Teens with ADHD sometimes have difficulty following or participating in a conversation. ADHD can interfere with conversational skills in several ways: sometimes the teen will talk too much, or interrupts while someone else is speaking — or they will walk away in the middle of the conversation.
-Procrastination. Putting things off is a byproduct of lack of focus. It’s especially noticeable in things that take a long time. Your teen might put off homework or other duties so long that they completely miss deadlines. With ADHD teens this procrastination is not always intentional.
-Making noise. ADHD teens struggle with working quietly. Quiet activities are generally not easy for a teen with ADHD. They may find it difficult to sit and read or work on a project by themselves.
-Hyperactive. ADHD teens tend to have fewer hyperactive symptoms than younger children with ADHD. But some are a flurry of activity. They may be set on playing their favorite video game one minute and going to a friend’s house the next.
-Trouble keeping friends. With some ADHD teens, it’s difficult for them to keep friends. Some of lack the social cues that are required for developing long lasting relationships.
-Personal hygiene. It’s not true of every teen with ADHD, but some have a problem keeping up with personal hygiene. It may have to do with disorganization and procrastination.
-Defiance. With ADHD teens, through the puberty years oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) will sometimes rear its’ head. Now you are dealing with a defiant ADHD difficult teenager that needs to learn coping skills for his/her anger and impulsiveness.
There’s no single test for teen ADHD. The process includes a physical exam and hearing and vision tests. It usually involves filling out questionnaires and input from parents and teachers.
Teen ADHD is not something you can diagnose on your own. It takes a trained health professional to evaluate specific symptoms as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
If you’ve exhausted your local resources for your ADHD teenager and they are still struggling, contact us to learn about the benefits of a therapeutic boarding school for teens with ADHD.