How do I know if my teen has ADHD? What are the symptoms of ADHD for teens?
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.
-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.
-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.
The teen years can be difficult for any child, but having ADHD often contributes to additional challenges. Symptoms of ADHD can affect many different areas of a teen’s life, including school, family, friendships, and emotions.
You can help by talking to your family doctor about treatment options to ensure that your teen’s symptoms are well-managed. You can also help your teen with day-to-day struggles by using positive reinforcement, having a structured routine, and making sure your child engages in healthy behaviors, including getting enough sleep and staying physically active.
If you find that your home life has become unbearable (in some situations the ODD goes from zero to ten quickly), the school setting is no longer working — it might be time to consider a therapeutic boarding school.
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.