ADHD In Teens – Causes, Symptoms, Test & Treatment

ADHD In Teens

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Does your teen find it difficult to concentrate on his studies or finish his assignments alone? Does he often ask you to help him complete a class project or his homework? If this situation sounds familiar, your teen may have ADHD. And, as a responsible parent, you need to help your teen overcome the condition.

So we, at have gathered some relevant information about ADHD here. Learn more about ADHD and how it affects teens, read our post below.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological condition that can lead to behavioral and concentration problems. ADHD Teens typically become hyperactive and cannot control their impulses. The mental disorder makes it difficult for your teen to lead a normal school or home life or pay attention to his tasks. The most common ADHD symptoms in teens include restlessness, impulsiveness, and poor concentration ability. The three primary classifications of the mental disorder include hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, and the combined (1).

Facts About ADHD In Teenagers:

  • The behavioral disorder makes your teen impulsive, restless, and less inattentive. All these conditions significantly interfere with his normal life.
  • The complex neurobiological disorder occurs when your teen’s neurotransmitters and brain chemicals do not work correctly.
  • The treatment for ADHD in teens involves a series of psychotherapy, educational support, counseling sessions, and medications.
  • All teens who have ADHD, do not exhibit the similar symptoms. In some cases, the signs can be mild and for other they may be severe or combined.
  • ADHD often runs in families and about 40-50 % of teens who have the behavioral disorder have one or another parent afflicted by the problem.
  • If your afflicted teen does not get the treatment timely, it can lead to complications.
  • ADHD can affect any teen from any gender, religion, and socio-economic background.
  • Though there is no specific cause of ADHD in teens, there are several biological, social and environmental factors that elevate your teen’s risk of suffering from the mental disorder.
  • The most common drugs prescribed for the treatment of ADHD include the stimulant medications. (2)

[ Read: Tips To Treat Mental Disorders In Teens ]

Causes Of ADHD In Teens:

Some of the most probable causes for ADHD in teens are:

1. Genetic:

  • Research concludes that ADHD has a familial component. It means that if a close relative suffers from the mental disorder, the risk of your teen to encounter ADHD is a bit higher.
  • However, not all teens who have ADHD have any close relative with the following behavioral disorder.
  • ADHD tends to run in genes, In most cases, teens inherit the problem from either their parents or close family.

2. Physical:

  • The deficiencies of brain chemicals and certain neurotransmitters can lead to ADHD in teens.
  • Your teen has a lowered brain ability to pay attention to or to focus on certain tasks.
  • Low levels of dopamine can elevate your teen’s risk of suffering from ADHD.

[ Read: Common Teenage Behavioral Problems ]

3. Environmental:

  • There are numerous environmental factors to raise your teen’s risk of developing ADHD.
  • Exposure to toxic substances like tobacco, lead, or illicit drugs, can trigger the mental disorder.
  • Maternal exposure to environmental toxins likes smoking, or drugs during pregnancy play a pivotal role in the development of ADHD in teens.

4. Other Causes:

  • Other causes of ADHD in teens include:
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Intake of harmful food additives
  • Your teen born prematurely
  • You teen born with low birth weight
  • Exposure to high percentage of toxic materials at a young age
  • Higher exposure to passive smoking (3)

Symptoms Of ADHD In Teens:

1. Hyperactive ADHD:

The symptoms of hyperactive ADHD in teens are:

  • Your teen talks excessively (even with unknown people)
  • Unable to pay attention to different leisure activities like drawing, painting, or playing board games.
  • Intruding on or interrupting others more often
  • Having difficulty walking in a straight line, or while taking turns
  • Feeling restless all the time and cannot perform activities with utmost concentration
  • Running in situation when it’s not required
  • Blurting out answers, even before hearing the complete question
  • Fidgets with his hands or feet more often
  • Cannot perform any work quietly
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Often leaves his seat in circumstances, when it’s not needed or expected

2. Inattentive ADHD:

The symptoms of inattentive ADHD in teens are:

  • Not paying close attention to teacher’s instruction and making careless mistakes in assignments, schoolwork, and other activities.
  • Often has difficulty to sustain complete concentration and focus in certain tasks
  • Gets easily distracted by different irrelevant stimuli like sounds, unwanted thoughts, and lights.
  • Remains inattentive when someone tries to speak to him directly
  • Fails to follow the instructions and thereby makes careless mistakes in complete daily activities and tasks
  • Loses or forgets items easily like a pen, umbrella, books or mobiles.
  • Often fails to complete the assigned task within the strict deadlines
  • Problems with academic achievements
  • Performs tasks in a messy manner and cannot keep things organized in orderly fashion
  • Avoid or dislikes activities that take mental effort for completion (For instance. Playing chess, solving puzzles)
  • Often remains forgetful about daily tasks like paying bills, calling a friend, or visiting the doctor.
  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Trouble while learning anything new like playing piano, learning swimming.
  • Daydreaming and confusion
  • Risk-taking behaviors like driving car in high speed or jumping from elevated heights
  • Has difficulty remembering important things, instructions or guidelines

[ Read: How To Understand Teen Psychology ]

3. Impulsive ADHD:

Some of the symptoms of impulsive ADHD in teens are:

  • Acting impatient and can easily get frustrated by monotonous activity or life schedule
  • Interrupting other people around him
  • Making inappropriate and unjustified comments
  • Cannot hold back emotions and crying in front of others
  • Difficulty waiting in long queues and getting irritable easily
  • Acting weird and negative even without knowing the consequences. (4)

Treating ADHD In Teens:

Teens with ADHD respond quite well to a structured environment and the support procedure helps him to stay motivated in his life. The treatment of ADHD in teens includes a blend of biological intervention, psychological intervention, and proper guidance at home. Open communication between the treatment professional, therapists, and family members help your teen lead a trouble-free life.

1. Psychological Interventions:

  • Counseling can help your teen understand the mental disorder correctly and learn how to handle it.
  • Different psychological interventions help your teen overcome the negative impacts of ADHD and lead a relaxed lifestyle.
  • As a parent, you have to go through the behavior therapy to have a better understanding of your teen’s risk-taking behavior.
  • The training teaches you to use small rewards and motivate your teen to achieve the desired results.
  • You may also have to attend a parental guidance session, and identify your parenting skills. By remaining educated with the behavioral aspects of ADHD, you can help your teen undertake successful treatment.
  • Your teen has to go through individual psychotherapy session that can boost his self-confidence and motivate him to face social challenges.
  • Group psychotherapy makes your teen understand the importance of social skills and how to implement them to learn accurate social behaviors.

2. Biological Interventions:

  • Medications play a pivotal role in managing the symptoms of ADHD in teens. Some of the FDA-approved drugs for ADHD are Focalin, Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and Strattera.
  • Stimulants such as Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin help your teen overcome depression and anxiety.
  • Doctors also prescribe antidepressants like Bupropion and Desipramine for ADHD.
  • Antihypertensive medications used for treating ADHD in teen are Clonidine and Tenex. (5)

[ Read: Oppositional Defiant Disorder In Teenagers ]

Effects Of ADHD In Teens:

When the symptoms of ADHD remain untreated, it negatively affects the life of your teen. Some of the common impacts of untreated ADHD are:

  • Self-harm
  • Social isolation (Cannot gel with friends or family members easily)
  • Unable to pursue higher education
  • Not able to complete assigned tasks accurately
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Delinquent behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Negative judgment by other people
  • Taking risk-taking behaviors
  • Extreme distractibility
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Increased likelihood of car accidents
  • Poor listening skills
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Unable to deal with frustration
  • Trouble staying motivated
  • Sense of insecurity
  • Hypersensitivity to negative criticism

Other Co-Occurring Disorders:

When your teen suffers from ADHD, he can also struggle with several other mental disorders, which can further complicate the treatment of ADHD.

Some of the common co-occurring disorders are:

  • Depression
  • Conduct disorder
  • Learning disabilities
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Tourette Syndrome

Self –Help Tips For Teens With ADHD:

With effective strategies, your hyperactive teen can make real changes in his life and protect himself with the negative symptoms of ADHD. Here are some self-help tips for your teen:

1. Exercise Regularly:

  • Your teen needs to practice relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation to get rid of mental depression and anxiety associated with ADHD.
  • Regular exercising helps your teen to manage the aggression in an efficient manner, and it soothes and calms his body and mind.

2. Eat Right:

  • It is pivotal for your teen to follow a healthy diet plan comprising of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Your teen needs to limit intake of high sugary foods, as it can easily elevate mood swings.

3. Getting Plenty Of Sleep:

  • When you teen feels stressed out, getting a proper sleep helps him get rid of the unwanted toxins and feel energized. Most doctors advise teens to have a complete 7-8 hours sleep every night.
  • Sleep helps your teen to manage your stress level, stay focused and productive in the life.

4. Practicing Better Time Management:

  • Your teen needs to make a habit of setting deadlines for every small task. And try to complete it within the said time frame.
  • He can also use timers or alarm clocks to stay in proper track, and follow a strict timetable.
  • It is important for your afflicted teen to make a list of all the tasks priority wise. It helps him in completing every assignment on time.

5. Working On Relationships:

  • Your teen needs to schedule all his activities and also take out time to meet friends and family members.
  • While speaking to other, he should try to remain silent and pay close attention to their words and only then reply firmly.
  • It is important for your afflicted teen to cultivate healthy relationships with people around him.

6. Creating Supportive Work Environment:

  • Your teen can make frequent use of files, color-coding, lists, notes-too-self or rituals to perform assigned tasks perfectly.
  • ADHD teenagers are the most creative people. You teen should always follow his instincts, listen to his heart and achieve things that interest him more in his life.

When To Seek Help From Professionals?

When the signs of ADHD still seem to bother in your teen’s life, and he cannot pay attention to his daily tasks, it is time for him to seek professional support. There are several treatment procedures adopted to help afflicted teens. The professionals can use the following relief measures:

  • Vocational counseling
  • Individual Therapy
  • Behavioral coaching
  • Self-help groups
  • Educational assistance
  • Medication

The professionally trained individuals can help your teen with the following:

  • Managing stress and anger
  • Communicating effectively with other
  • Managing the time in an orderly manner
  • Staying organized
  • Controlling impulsive behaviors
  • Boosting productivity both at home and work

Parenting Tips To Deal With Your ADHD Teen:

You can follow these parenting tips to help you teen deal with ADHD:

1. Be Compassionate With Your Teen:

  • Your teen may feel mentally deprived and disturbed when you tend to avoid them and remain busy in your tight work schedule.
  • Teen with ADHD feels better when you show love and affection towards them.
  • By scolding the teen for the negative risk-taking behaviors can hamper your relationship, and your child may suffer from lack of confidence and lower self-esteem
  • When your child faces difficulty to complete the assigned tasks within said time frame, try to remain compassionate and hug him tightly.
  • Your positive compliment and affection can boost your teen’s morale, and he may try his level best to perform better in studies or other activities.

2. Stay Calm And Composed:

  • Unwanted shouting or quarrels can make your teen distracted from his aims, and he may face difficulty to overcome the symptoms of ADHD.
  • Though parenting styles differ from one parent to the other, you should always try to remain calm and patient.
  • Always act reasonably, so that your teen understands his flaws and tries to rectify it for the next time.

3. Boost Your Teen’s Self-Esteem:

  • Teen with ADHD often finds difficult to concentrate on their education or follow the instructions accurately.
  • If your teen loves to perform a particular activity like dancing, singing, painting, or martial arts, you need to encourage constantly.
  • Never compel of force your teen to perform the tasks that are beyond his abilities, like performing multi-tasking or solving complex mathematical problems.
  • All teens have hidden talents and special interests in different things. Your little appreciation or encouragement can help in building his self-esteem.

4. Work On Organization:

  • Help you teen maintain a daily notebook, where he can note down his regular tasks according to priorities. By simply looking at the notebook, your teen remembers about the assigned task and completes it perfectly.
  • Organize your teen’s room in an orderly manner. Try to arrange all the different items in clearly marked spaces, so that he can easily find them and use whenever needed.

5. Use Simple Words For Directions:

  • While instructing your teen to perform a certain task, try to be extremely specific and concrete.
  • Give one direction at a single point in time and allow your teen to understand the instruction accurately.
  • Clear guidelines help your teen to perform the task in a perfect way, and he does not make mistakes.

6. Identify Difficult Situations:

  • Try to keep your teen away from the situation that makes him puzzled and he cannot take the decision properly.
  • Some of the daily events like sitting in long presentations, memorizing lengthy computer programs or shopping from supermarkets seem to be a bit stressful for an ADHD teen.

7. Help Your Teen Learn Social Skills:

  • Teens with ADHD often face difficulty in interacting with others and reacting appropriately to people’s comments.
  • Help your teen develop the proper social skills such as listening carefully to other, not interruption other when they speak, and having a pleasant conversation with other.
  • The social skills may help your teen to lead a better life and progress well in both personal and professional life.

8. Establish Routines:

  • Set a daily timetable for your teen, so that it becomes easier for him to perform the different activities timely.
  • Following a proper routine reduces the mental stress of your teen, and he can lead the life in a relaxed manner.

9. Preparing For Academic Transitions:

  • The transition from middle school to college can be challenging for your teen with ADHD.
  • To make the transition smooth, you need to pay constant supervision on your teen’s behavior and help him overcome the symptoms. (6)

Ways To Manage ADHD Naturally:

1. Nutritional Supplements:

  • There is a long list of nutritional supplements that helps your teen to fight against the ADHD symptoms.
  • Your afflicted teen can intake essential fatty acids supplements. The suggested proportion for ADHD treatment includes 186 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid, 96 mg of gamma-linolenic acid, 43 mg of arachidonic acid, and 863 mg of linoleic acid.
  • Fatty acid supplements help in improving both cognitive and behavioral problems of your ADHD teen.
  • The intake of Vitamin C oil supplements of approximately 25 mg of vitamin C and 400 mg of flaxseed oil helps your teen to recover quickly.
  • Supplementing your teen with Probiotics, Omega 3s, and Vitamin B helps in improving the behavioral issues. The suggested proportion can include 200 mg of fish oil, and 50 mg of the vitamin-B complex. The following supplements aid in stabilizing the central nervous system and improves you teen’s mental focus, brain functioning, and mood stability.

[ Read: Nutritional Requirements For Teenagers ]

2. Yoga And Meditation:

  • Performing regular meditation and yoga postures may help your teen learn the relaxation techniques and stay disciplined in his life.

3. Special Diet:

  • Your teen’s diet must comprise of nutritious food, and it is important to eliminate foods that elevate hyperactivity, such as sugar. Moreover, the diet must not contain common allergens like eggs, milk, or wheat.
  • Doctors also recommend eliminating food additives and artificial food colorings from your teen’s diet menu.

4. Bedtime Massage:

  • Massage oil serves as a quintessential vata balancer that calms and soothes the nerves of your teen’s brain.
  • You can take one teaspoon of unrefined organic oil into your palm and massage gently on your teen’s skin.
  • Let the nourishing oil penetrate into the skin for few minutes, and then wipe off the extra oils.
  • When you do not have enough time to give your teen a head-to-toe treatment, you can just massage the oil beneath his feet before the bedtime.

5. Technology Time-Out:

  • Most teens remain deeply engaged in technology and the like playing video games, texting on phones, or watching TV for several hours.
  • The constant electronic stimulation hampers your teen’s concentration and also exposes to harmful electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
  • When your teen’s nervous system gets agitated due to high exposure of the EMR, he experiences symptoms of headaches, chronic fatigue, distorted vision, and dizziness.
  • Restrict your teen from using the technological gadgets all the time, and instead, encourage him to get indulged in natural relaxation techniques like yoga, swimming or meditation. (7)

Did your teen suffer from ADHD? What parenting style did you adopt to enhance your teen’s alertness and mental focus? Share your tips with other mommies here. Leave your comments below!

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