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
- 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.
Since 2003, Dr. Gordon Day has passionately helped young people with a wide range of family, emotional, social, neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. Gordon’s mission has been to help people find their strengths and their own passion for living a full and rewarding life. He is particularly sensitive to the pressures, frustrations and disappointments that adolescents face that can sometimes cause them and their loved ones to want to withdraw and throw their hands up in despair.
Dr. Day knows that you really have to understand where a student is coming from and understand their patterns of strengths and needs. When we truly know an individual and their struggles, only then can we truly help.
Dr. Day has pioneered the use of outdoor therapy activities and outdoor living as a dynamic and effective therapeutic tool for learning, confidence building and skill building. His programs provide effective, supportive and encouraging environments that help students find their strengths and power.