If you have a teen in your life, you’ve noticed how they can simultaneously be answering a text message, watching a Youtube video, and searching the kitchen for snacks. We see teenagers flit from notification to notification on their multiple devices, but how can you tell if your teen is just distracted or struggling with ADHD? Understanding the causes and symptoms of ADHD can help you decide if you might need to seek out a diagnosis or treatment. 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or known as ADHD, is one of the most common disorders found in children. Teens with ADHD may be hyperactive, act impulsively, or struggle to sit still or pay attention. Although ADHD is often diagnosed during childhood, the symptoms continue to affect many youth into adolescence and adulthood. During the teenage years, ADHD symptoms become more pronounced, manifesting in academic underachievement, trouble at school, substance abuse and difficulty with social relationships.

Causes of ADHD

While researchers are still uncertain as to what exactly causes ADHD, it is important to note some of the factors that may come into play with ADHD such as:

  • Environment — ADHD may be associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy as well as lead exposure
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Nutrition — some studies show that diets containing high amounts of sugar at a young age correlate with ADHD

While some theories have been researched more thoroughly, researchers continue to search for the cause of ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD can present itself in different ways in different children, but is often characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and lack of attention. Symptoms of ADHD can range from mild to severe, but with most diagnoses the disorder impacts a teen’s ability to function day to day. While each diagnosis differs, one or more of the following symptoms in each category is present.

Symptoms of inattention may include:

  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful
  • Difficulty completing a given task
  • Trouble learning something new
  • Easily bored
  • Lack of organization
  • Slower and less accurate at processing information
  • Struggle to follow directions

Symptoms of hyperactivity may include:

  • Constantly moving or talking
  • Inability to work quietly
  • Struggling to sit still
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Touching everything in sight

Symptoms of impulsivity may include:

  • Acting without thinking through consequences
  • Interrupting other people
  • Impatient or easily frustrated
  • Difficulty waiting their turn or delaying gratification

Early detection and treatment are critical in addressing ADHD symptoms and preventing problems such as depression, anxiety, low-self esteem and substance abuse.

While there is no cure for ADHD, there are many treatment options. What works for some may not work for all. For most teens, a combination of medication and behavioral therapy will be the most effective.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to properly help your teenager with ADHD experts recommend specialized schools that provide structured routines and individualized education and therapy plans. Call Discover Seven Stars (844) 601- 1167 today to learn more about our treatment options. We are here to provide your teen help.