What are the symptoms of adhd in a teenager: The request could not be satisfied
Signs of ADHD in Teens & Ways to Treat ADHD Without Medication
ADHD is often noticed as soon as a child starts school, but it can be especially noticeable in teens. School gets harder, relationships get more complicated, and hormonal changes exacerbate ADHD symptoms.
If your teen is struggling in school or having a difficult time communicating with others, they may have ADHD. There’s no quick cure for ADHD, but there are many treatments and combinations of treatments that can help your child.
Above all, ADHD is not a life sentence. It doesn’t have to become a way your teen defines themselves, and it definitely shouldn’t hold them back. Let’s learn more about ADHD, how it appears in teenagers, and the ways you can help your teen manage their symptoms.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is characterized by two major symptom groups: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Individuals with the disorder can present as predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or a combination.
ADHD often begins in childhood before the age of twelve. For it to be classified as ADHD, the symptoms must interfere with the quality of socialization or schoolwork. It’s also expected that the symptoms be present in two or more settings, such as at both school and home.
For more information on the general symptoms and diagnosis of ADHD, you can read our Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder article. In most cases, symptoms appear slightly different in across age groups. Symptoms in teens often more closely match symptoms in children. If you have younger children, you can read our article “Does My Child Have ADHD?”
Because children and teens are in school every day, the behavioral and focus problems are often more apparent than in adults with ADHD.
However, it is possible your child went undiagnosed in younger years and their symptoms are more apparent now. Hormonal changes in teenagers will often make ADHD symptoms appear worse. What seemed like “extra energy” in early childhood could now cause a lot of struggle in adolescence.
If your child has ADHD, it’s best to speak with a doctor and begin treatment right away. Early diagnosis and treatment will help your child’s outcome with the disorder later in life. The earlier your teen starts managing their symptoms, the more effectively they’ll manage the disorder as an adult.
An ADHD Checklist for Your Teen
The following symptoms are good indicators your teenager has ADHD. If your teen has at least seven symptoms, and has had them for over six months, they likely have ADHD.
Trouble holding attention on tasks or even fun activities
Fails to give close attention to details
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
Fails to finish work or follow through on instructions
Trouble staying organized
Reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort
Loses items necessary for activities
Forgetful in daily activities
Teenagers with inattentive symptoms will often lose textbooks or school supplies, forget assignments and events, and become easily bored. If your child is often complaining about how bored they are during school or other activities, and they seem to forget things all the time, ADHD could be the reason.
Fidgets, taps hands or feet, or squirms in their seat
Leaves seat during inappropriate times
Unable to stay quiet or remain calm
Often blurts out an answer before the question has been completely asked
Has trouble waiting their turn
Interrupts or intrudes on others
Rushes through assignments and activities
Hyperactivity and impulsivity especially effects teens socially. Because their impulsive behavior can be perceived as rude, it makes forming relationships in their peer group more difficult. Teachers and other authority figures may consider a teenager with ADHD to have “bad behavior”, when that is not the case.
The adolescent is likely trying hard to be engaged with their activity, but ADHD makes it too difficult. Treatment will improve your child’s relationships with their peers and authority figures.
Higher Risks for Adolescents with ADHD
ADHD is a neurological disorder, which means hormonal changes in the brain will effect the symptoms. Adolescence is difficult on its own, and with the added challenge of ADHD, the difficulties can be heightened.
In particular, teens with ADHD will experience problems in school performance and family relationships that were perhaps not as evident in pre-adolescence.
A teenager is expected to take on additional responsibility as they grow older. For instance, driving the family car, adhering to curfew when out with friends, and increasing complexity in school assignments.
ADHD symptoms can make a teenager distracted while driving, forget their curfew, and rush through assignments and complete them poorly. These results of ADHD can seem like “bad behaviors”, like laziness or disrespect for the parents’ set rules. This perception can increase strain within the family, as the teen is punished for their symptoms.
If your child has ADHD, school and relationships will be more challenging for them than their peers. They will also have a higher risk of concurrent mental disorders. Getting their symptoms managed is extremely important during this period, to prevent any lasting damage to their self-image.
Substance Abuse Disorders
Adolescents with ADHD show a higher rate of substance use disorders than other teenagers. This is due to a number of factors.
Impulsivity is linked to thrill-seeking behavior, but a teen might also be looking to “self-medicate” and manage their symptoms themselves. This is dangerous and can lead to addiction.
Be mindful of signs of substance abuse and make sure to talk to your teen’s doctor about any signs. Also, make sure to talk with your teen and express to them how important it is they stay on the doctor’s treatment plan.
If a teenager feels their symptoms are being well-managed, they are less likely to engage in potentially damaging substances, so once your teen is diagnosed, finding a treatment plan that works for them is extremely important.
Differences of ADHD in Boys and Girls
Onset ages tend to differ between the genders. Girls are often diagnosed later, and sometimes they are misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed until adulthood. The most commonly noticed symptoms differ as well between boys and girls.
ADHD Symptoms in Boys
Boys most often present the combined subtype. This means you’ll probably see a combination of inattentive and hyperactive symptoms.
Boys are also more likely to engage in rule-breaking and obtrusive behaviors, like interrupting, inappropriate activity, and loud speaking.
These manifestations of ADHD are associated with reduced academic skills. If your son is exhibiting aggressive behavior, excessive rule-breaking, and performing poorly in school, he may have ADHD. However, it’s important to make sure he exhibits other symptoms of ADHD, as these aspects of behavior may have other causes in boys.
ADHD Symptoms in Girls
Though the number of boys and girls with ADHD is estimated to be roughly equal, girls are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. There are a number of reasons for this, including a later onset in girls, and a slight difference in observed behaviors.
Girls more routinely present the inattentive subtype for ADHD, rather than the hyperactive or combined presentations.
More key differences for girls with ADHD:
If your daughter’s schoolwork, friendships, and moods seem to be negatively impacted, keep a close eye for the symptoms of ADHD.
Symptoms are more subtle, but the disorder is just as common in girls as it is with boys.
When is it likely not ADHD?
If your child is not exhibiting at least seven symptoms, and you’re not seeing a decrease in their quality of life, it’s likely not ADHD.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if your teenager is only struggling in school, but not at home or with their friends, they are likely having a different problem that is affecting their schoolwork. Likewise, if your teen is having behavioral or focus problems at home, but is fine at school and with their friends, the problem likely does not lie with ADHD.
How a parent can help a teen with ADHD
Remember, children do not “grow out” of ADHD. The neurological makeup of ADHD will persist throughout an individual’s lifetime. However, there are many ways to help if your teen has ADHD.
Your ADHD teen is going through a number of feelings that their peers don’t have to experience. They are likely wrestling with increased stress, lower self-image, and a sense of isolation. When surveyed, teens with ADHD expressed the following about their daily life:
Severe stress when going to school and sitting in class
Frequent fights with close friends
Feeling different from their classmates
Feeling their parents don’t understand them
To help your teen feel better about themselves and their performance, you can do the following:
Help them engage in activities they enjoy
Celebrate their successes
Get them more help in school, with specialized tutoring or training in note-taking, study skills, and organization and time management
Encourage your teen to join structured social activities, such as sports, clubs, or youth groups
Consider getting a family therapist to help you with communication and conflict management between you and your child
Explain that ADHD is not their fault. They didn’t make a mistake to get it, and it’s not a punishment. Like asthma or poor eyesight, it’s most likely a combination of genetics and luck, not something they did.
Be honest about ADHD and how it can impact your teen’s life.
While all of these strategies will help your child’s self-image and quality of life, the most important thing if you suspect your child has ADHD is to start them on a treatment plan as recommended by a trained medical professional.
I think my teen has ADHD… What should I do next?
If the symptoms above sound like your child, don’t worry. There are several options to improve your child’s symptoms.
The first thing, as with any mental disorder, is to confirm the diagnosis with a licensed medical professional. Start by having your teen speak with your family doctor or their therapist about their symptoms.
However, before you discuss your child’s treatment with a doctor, it’s helpful to understand your options.
Options to Manage ADHD Symptoms
As far back as 1938, psychologists have noticed a relationship between ADHD-like behaviors in children and neurological functioning. Modern psychiatrists and neuroscientists agree that ADHD is a neurological disorder.
This means the most effective interventions are neurological in nature. Two highly effective ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD are stimulant medications and EEG/neurofeedback training.
It is important to note that while stimulant medications directly treat the chemical cause of ADHD in the brain, neurofeedback improves attention, focus, and impulsivity, without directly treating ADHD. We’ll explain more about the differences, and how each option helps, in the sections below.
It may seem counter-intuitive to stimulate someone who is hyperactive or inattentive, but the stimulants help to block reuptake of certain chemicals that help your teen’s attention. By blocking the re-absorption of these chemicals, the brain is able to use them to stay focused for longer periods.
Stimulant medications have been tested since the 1960s and have been shown to be effective.
However, stimulants can have serious side-effects, especially if the teen has been misdiagnosed. Even if the adolescent is correctly diagnosed with ADHD, stimulants can have negative side effects, such as:
Additionally, many adolescents refuse to take stimulants, or simply forget to take them, lessening the long-term effectiveness. Researchers call this “non-compliance.”
According to a study conducted in 2006, stimulants are effective for 65-75% of patients in all age groups. Those results must be balanced with the risk of side effects when choosing treatment.
Due to fear of side effects, many parents prefer to find a way to naturally manage ADHD symptoms, rather than treat it directly with medication.
EEG and Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback or “brain training,” is a process of measuring the activity of the brain and then using exercises to build up areas of the brain that need improvement. In the modern day, specialists can map your brain and show you the activity of each section. To read more about the brain mapping process, check out our article and video on the subject.
Many people consider neurofeedback a new technology, but actually, scientists have been experimenting with it since the ‘70s. A study conducted in 1995 indicates that brain training is “an effective alternative to stimulants” and may be the right choice “when medication is ineffective, has side effects, or compliance is a problem.”
This study found that there was no significant difference between patients treated with stimulants and those whose symptoms were managed with neurofeedback. Both groups saw a nearly equal decrease in the following categories:
By building up the brain using neurofeedback, children struggling with ADHD can see a large improvement in their symptoms, equaling even the benefit of stimulants.
The Most Important Difference Between Stimulants and Neurofeedback
The best part about Neurofeedback is that, unlike stimulants, even if your child does not have ADHD, their problems with focus and behavior can be safely improved thanks to this brain training. The brain is strengthened, not chemically altered.
This is especially helpful because many mental disorders closely mimic ADHD symptoms, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and learning and language deficits. Children dealing with high levels of stress can also exhibit ADHD symptoms.
Given this, many parents are understandably reluctant to start their child on stimulant medications. EEG and Neurofeedback Training are safe, natural ways to help your teen’s brain, without the potential of dangerous side effects.
However, neurofeedback does not directly treat ADHD. It strengthens the brain, helping your teen manage their ADHD symptoms more easily.
It’s important to note that these two symptom management options are not mutually exclusive. A combined plan of neurofeedback training and stimulants could be the right answer for your teen.
Think your teenager has ADHD? Take this quiz.
Fill out this questionnaire and we’ll help you discover your teen’s unique symptom profile.
At Vital, we’ve helped hundreds of students access higher levels of brain function for less stress, more success. With our personalized brain training, you will get to know your brain, and know how best to improve your ADHD symptoms.
With a more calm and focused mind, your teen will have the resilience to meet the challenges of today, and be ready to conquer the challenges of tomorrow.
Start your child’s journey to improved brain function today.
ADHD (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth
What Is ADHD?
Everyone has trouble at times with paying attention, listening, or waiting. But people with ADHD have trouble with these things almost all the time. They’re not doing it on purpose. ADHD is a medical condition that affects a person’s attention and self-control.
Because of ADHD, people have a harder time staying focused. They may be more fidgety than others. ADHD can make it harder to control behavior, so kids and teens may get into trouble more. ADHD can affect how they get along with other people.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That’s the medical term for difficulties with attention and self-control that can make someone fidget and move around a lot.
What Are the Signs of ADHD?
People with ADHD might:
- have trouble listening and paying attention
- need lots of reminders to do things
- get distracted easily
- seem absent-minded
- be disorganized and lose things
- not sit still, wait their turn, or be patient
- rush through homework or other tasks or make careless mistakes
- interrupt a lot, and talk or call out answers in class
- do things they shouldn’t, even though they know better
- feel restless, fidgety, frustrated, and bored
If someone has a lot of these signs, and the problems happen most of the time, it might be ADHD.
How Do Doctors Tell if a Person Has ADHD?
Deciding if someone has ADHD starts with a doctor visit. There are no lab tests or blood tests for ADHD. Doctors are trained to know what signs to look for.
If you go to a doctor to get checked out for ADHD, the doctor will ask about what’s going on in your life and at school. The doctor will ask things like if you have trouble doing homework, sitting still, slowing down, or listening — and how long that’s been going on.
The doctor will check to make sure another health or learning issue is not the cause. The doctor will probably ask your parents and teachers to fill out checklists about signs they may have noticed.
How Is ADHD Treated?
If a doctor finds out you have ADHD, you will get treatment to help. This can be a big relief. It can be hard to feel like you’re always struggling with things that others seem to have no trouble doing.
To help teens with ADHD, doctors might:
Prescribe medicine. Medicine can boost the brain’s ability to pay attention, slow down, and be more patient.
Provide therapy. Therapists can help people learn attention skills, cope with feelings, and gain self-control. They can help people with ADHD see the best in themselves and figure out how to use their strengths.
Help parents learn what to do. Parents play a big part in ADHD care. They can help teens do things like listen better or be more organized. Parents can also give encouragement, love, and support.
It’s not just doctors and parents who help teens with ADHD. Sometimes schools give students a learning plan called an IEP that’s designed just for them.
Teachers can also do these things to help teens with ADHD do well in class:
- Break schoolwork into parts.
- Help students organize their things.
- Make sure students sit where they are less likely to be distracted, like away from a window or door.
- Give students quick breaks to get up and move during class.
There are things that people with ADHD can do to help themselves too, like:
- Eat healthy food.
- Get enough sleep.
- Be active every day.
- Practice mindfulness exercises and breathing exercises.
What Causes ADHD?
ADHD is caused by differences in the brain’s ability to pay attention, slow down, and be patient. It’s not clear why these differences happen, but doctors know that ADHD is in a person’s genes. Most teens with ADHD have a parent or relative who also has it.
ADHD is not caused by eating too much sugar or anything else a person does.
What’s It Like for People With ADHD?
Having ADHD can be difficult sometimes. Kids and teens may get scolded for things they can’t help — like not listening, losing their temper, or doing things too fast. That can make people feel bad about themselves or mistakenly blame themselves for ADHD. But ADHD is not your fault.
Parents, teachers, and therapists can help you get better at paying attention, slowing down, and gaining self-control. They can teach you to use your strengths and energy in good ways. With the right help and support, people with ADHD can improve their attention and self-control, do well in school and activities, and feel good about themselves.
Diagnosing ADHD in Adolescence – CHADD
Some teens with ADHD were not diagnosed in childhood and may begin to struggle more as demands increase in adolescence. You or your teen’s teachers may suspect that ADHD symptoms are contributing to these struggles. For teens not diagnosed in childhood, obtaining a diagnosis of ADHD in adolescence can be complicated for several reasons. First, to qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD, symptoms must be present in some way prior to age 12; however, recalling symptoms that were present in the past is often difficult. Second, many of the symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria are primarily written for younger children (e.g., “runs about or climbs excessively”) and may not be applicable to teens. Third, obtaining reliable reports of teens’ symptoms from external observers, such as parents or teachers, is more difficult. This is because adolescents usually have several different teachers, each of whom sees them for only a small portion of the day. Similarly, you likely have less direct contact with your teen during the teenage years than you did during their younger childhood. Fourth, as mentioned above, some of the striking symptoms of ADHD, such as extreme hyperactivity, may be more subtle in teens than in younger children. Finally, the presence of other disorders may complicate the diagnosis of ADHD.
If you or your teen’s teachers suspect that your teen may have undiagnosed ADHD, it is important to seek a comprehensive evaluation that includes a careful history; clinical assessment of academic, social and emotional functioning; and reports from you, teachers, other involved adults (such as coaches) and your teen. This evaluation should also include a physical examination to rule out other causes of observed symptoms. If you would like to have your teen assessed for ADHD, see a psychologist, psychiatrist or other clinician with expertise in ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
Research has clearly shown that the majority of cases of ADHD have a genetic component. ADHD is a brain-based disorder, and the symptoms shown in ADHD are linked to many specific brain areas. Other causal factors, such as low birth weight, prenatal maternal smoking or other prenatal complications also contribute to some cases of ADHD. Patterns of parenting and family interaction may help reduce the impact of the symptoms of ADHD or may make them worse; however, parenting styles do not cause ADHD.
Co-occurring conditions in the teen years
It is common for other conditions to occur along with ADHD. These conditions may have been present since childhood or may emerge with the additional stress of adolescence. In fact, up to 60% of children and teens with ADHD have been found to have at least one additional disorder. These disorders can make parenting more challenging, and many parents find professional assistance helpful in providing support, resources and additional parenting strategies for their teens.
Some of the most common conditions experienced by teens with ADHD are difficulties with disruptive behavior, including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). ODD is characterized by a pattern of temper outbursts and irritability along with refusal to comply with adults’ requests and rules. CD is a more severe form of noncompliant and defiant behavior that includes tendencies such as harming people or animals, stealing, trespassing and truancy. Research has shown that teenagers with ADHD are 10 times more likely to experience disruptive behavior disorders. Other research has estimated that anywhere between 25%–75% of teens with ADHD have one of these disruptive behavior disorders.
Mood disorders, including depression and dysthymia (a type of negative mood similar to depression but longer in duration), can also be prevalent in teens with ADHD. Teens with depression often feel sad or irritable and may not be interested in activities they once enjoyed. They may also have trouble sleeping, feel hopeless about the future, and think about death or suicide. Research has estimated that between 20%–30% of teens with ADHD have a co-existing mood disorder.
Anxiety disorders may be present in as many as 10%–40% of teens with ADHD. Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry and difficulty controlling worries. Individuals with anxiety may also experience physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach and rapid heartbeat. They can also experience anxiety attacks and begin to avoid anxiety-provoking activities.
Substance use and abuse is a significant concern of many parents of teens. Indeed, risk for substance use among children with ADHD ranges from 12%–24%. Use of medication to treat ADHD is not associated with increased substance use. In fact, use of medication to treat ADHD may protect adolescents from developing substance abuse disorders later in life. The strongest predictor of substance use among teens with ADHD is an additional diagnosis of conduct disorder. Symptoms of substance use in teens may include smelling of alcohol or smoke, changes in eyes or face (bloodshot eyes or flushed face), mood changes, deceitful or secretive behavior, changes in motivation or decreased academic performance and/or changes in peer group.
Learning and communication problems can be significant, and research has indicated that learning disorders may be present in as many as 1/3 of youth with ADHD. The demands of middle school and high school place additional stress on teens, and parents should remain aware of their teen’s academic performance and carefully monitor any changes or declines in performance. Communication disorders include not only difficulty with speech (such as stuttering), but also difficulty with understanding language and the ability to express oneself clearly. If parents are concerned about their teen’s communication, they should contact the school and/or consult a speech/language pathologist for an evaluation.
Sleep disturbance is also common in teens with ADHD. Changes in sleep cycles are normal for all teens, as youth begin to stay up later at night and want to sleep later in the morning. Teens also require more sleep overall. In teens with ADHD, sleep disturbance may be even more pronounced and is not necessarily a side effect of medications. Given this risk, sleep should be carefully assessed prior to starting medication to determine whether pre-existing sleep disturbance exists.
At this time, it is not possible to predict which teens will experience these additional conditions. It is likely that genetics play a role. The additional stresses experienced by teens with ADHD, such as social criticism or internal frustration, may also make teens more vulnerable to these difficulties. For more information on these co-occurring conditions, please see ADHD and Co-existing Conditions. If you suspect that your teen may have any of these additional conditions, consult a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other clinician with expertise in ADHD to have an assessment.
ADHD Information for Teens – CHADD
Download Fact Sheet
“I have ADHD…..so what?” In many ways, so what is right. Mostly, you are just a regular teen, with all the ups and downs that come with being a teenager. In other ways, growing up and heading towards adulthood with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may present some unique challenges. People used to think that only young kids had ADHD and that children grew out of it as they got older. Now we know differently. Today’s research has shown that most kids do not outgrow ADHD when they reach adolescence, and most teens don’t outgrow ADHD when they become young adults. So what does being a teen with ADHD really mean?
First, you should know that having ADHD doesn’t have to get in the way of living the life you want. Many teens just like you have grown up to follow their passions, live happy lives, have families and be successful in their work. They’ve found this success because they’ve taken the time to learn how ADHD affects them and taken charge of a treatment plan that works for them and their own situation.
“I’m not a kid anymore!”―ADHD in the teen years
The main symptoms of ADHD—inattention, impulsivity and sometimes hyperactivity—are the same for teens as they are for children. However, you may notice some differences. For example, you may struggle less with symptoms of hyperactivity, such as fidgeting or staying seated, now than you did when you were younger. On the other hand, you may notice greater challenges with staying on top of your schoolwork and other responsibilities. This is because there are more demands on your time, your schoolwork is probably more difficult and there are higher expectations for you to be independent now that you are a teen. This can all feel overwhelming, but don’t worry; these challenges are not that different from what your friends are going through, even those without ADHD. Just remember that proper treatment can help you as you grow into yourself and adjust to the changes in your life.
Another thing associated with ADHD in adolescence is difficulty with executive functioning, the brain’s ability to prioritize and manage thoughts and actions. In other words, executive function allows you to think about goals and consequences for your actions, plan accordingly, evaluate your progress and shift plans as necessary. When you’re a child, your parents and teachers may have taken care of some of the executive function chores by reminding you to do your assignments, nagging you about organizing your schoolwork and letting you know about upcoming appointments. However, in adolescence, your parents and teachers expect you to start doing these things yourself, and sometimes that transition can be tough on you and those around you.
You may wonder why you have ADHD. Some teens feel guilty for having ADHD. Others feel that it is something that they should be able to be cured of or control on their own. Having ADHD is not your fault. Research has clearly shown that ADHD runs in families (is due to genetics). ADHD is a brain-based disorder, and the symptoms shown in ADHD are linked to many specific brain areas. There is no known cure for ADHD, but we know many things that can reduce the impact that ADHD has on your everyday life.
“Is it just ADHD?”—Other conditions in the teen years
Some teens with ADHD also have the challenge of other conditions that commonly occur with ADHD. These conditions may have been present since you were much younger or may start during adolescence. Up to 60% of children and teens with ADHD have at least one other condition; so don’t think you’re alone.
Some of the other conditions commonly experienced by teens with ADHD may affect how you act. Specific ones include oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). ODD means you may have difficulty following rules and may lose your temper often or argue with adults. CD is more severe and involves having difficulty following rules, but may also include dangerous and illegal behaviors such as fighting, stealing or trespassing.
Other conditions that affect how you feel (called mood disorders) can also be common in teens with ADHD. Depression is the most common mood disorder. If you have depression, you may often feel sad or irritable and may not be interested in activities you once enjoyed. You may also have trouble sleeping, feel hopeless about the future, and sometimes think about death or suicide.
Anxiety disorders may be present in as many as 10%–40% of teens with ADHD. If you have an anxiety disorder, you might have excessive worry, difficulty controlling your worries, and physical symptoms including headaches or upset stomach. You might also get anxiety attacks and often try to avoid situations that make you anxious.
Substance use and abuse is a significant concern of many parents and teens. The risk for later substance use among children with ADHD ranges from 12%–24%. Some substances, such as alcohol, may be illegal for you based on your age. Other substances, such as marijuana or other drugs, may be illegal, period! For these reasons alone, you should avoid using them. If you choose to use such substances and find you have difficulty controlling yourself, if others have expressed concerns to you about your use, if you need the substance to “get going” or “slow down” or if you feel guilty about your use, you may have a substance problem. You should get professional help from a licensed mental health professional or addiction specialist.
Learning and communication problems can also be common and may become apparent with the added demands of middle school and high school. If you are concerned about your ability to learn in the classroom, your ability to understand what others say to you or your ability to express yourself the way you want to, then you should tell your parent(s). You may need an evaluation by a professional to determine how you learn, think or communicate.
Sleep problems are also common in teens with ADHD. Changes in sleep cycles are normal for all teens. You may prefer to stay up later at night, sleep later in the morning and need more sleep overall. As a teen with ADHD, you may have difficulty sleeping well. This may be a side effect of your medication, but can also occur on its own.
At this time, it is not possible to predict who will experience these additional difficulties. It is likely that genetics play a role. The additional stresses experienced by some teens with ADHD, such as social criticism or internal frustration, may also make you more vulnerable to these difficulties. For more information on these conditions (which are called co-existing or co-occurring), please see ADHD and Co-existing Conditions.
What should you do if you suspect that you may have any of these additional conditions? Talk to your parent(s) about getting an evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist or other trained mental health professional.
My life with ADHD
What does it feel like to have ADHD? You may be embarrassed about your diagnosis. You may wish to deny that you have ADHD. Having ADHD may make you feel different from your friends, and you may want to believe that your symptoms have lessened or even disappeared. It is important for you to understand that you are not responsible for having ADHD. Having ADHD is not due to any mistake you made and is not a punishment. ADHD is just like other medical conditions, such as asthma or poor eyesight. You can’t control the fact that you have ADHD, but you can control the way you manage it. Following your treatment plan is a key to meeting your goals and achieving success.
You may feel bad about yourself, or you may feel that you are not as good as your friends or other students at your school. Research shows that teens with ADHD and learning disabilities report feeling very stressed when going to school and sitting in class, feeling tired, having frequent arguments with close friends, feeling different from other classmates, having low self-esteem and feeling that their parents don’t understand them. If you feel this way, remember, you are not alone and you can feel better. Talk with a parent, another trusted adult or health professional about how you feel. Participate in activities you enjoy and recognize that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
Many teens are concerned about talking with their friends about their ADHD. You may feel that your friends don’t understand your difficulties or may make fun of you. You can choose the friends with whom to discuss your ADHD and what details you want to share. However, explaining ADHD to your trusted friends may surprise you—they may be a great source of support or even have ADHD themselves. Although the exact number of children and adolescents with ADHD is unclear, somewhere between 1.4 million and 2.3 million youths have ADHD (about 1 out of every 10 kids), so you are far from alone in facing the challenges that come with it.
ADHD can affect many aspects of your life. Teens in general can face academic challenges, social difficulties and problems at home, however, having ADHD may make these issues more difficult to deal with or more severe.
Academic Performance: As a high school student, your life can be more hectic, with more demands to juggle and less supervision than when you were younger. Academically, the workload and difficulty of the material increases, and long-term projects are assigned more often. These factors all present challenges to teens with ADHD. You can benefit from assistance and training on note taking, study skills and organization/time management. As you develop these skills, you will come to rely less on parents or teachers and be more confident about your own ability to structure your time and perform at your potential. Students who have a diagnosis of ADHD and whose ADHD symptoms impair their academic functioning may qualify for classroom accommodations. These accommodations are based on your particular needs but can include extra time on tests, taking tests in a separate location where there are fewer distractions or additional organizational support. Work with your parents and your school if you think you might need or want this kind of help.
Social Functioning: In adolescence, your relationships with others your age can become increasingly important to you. But these relationships are not always easy to navigate. During these years, your friendships are changing; you probably become interested in dating; and you may encounter more significant peer pressure. You may be more easily frustrated or more emotionally sensitive than others your age. Some teens with ADHD have no difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships, while others find dealing with different personalities, expectations and desires quite challenging. Participating in structured social activities, such as sports, clubs or youth groups, can give you a built-in social group and shared positive experiences.
Home Life: Nearly every teenager has conflict with his or her parents over rules, privileges, household chores, friends…you name it. However, on average, households of teens with ADHD have higher levels of parent-teen conflict than households with teens who do not have ADHD. Why is this the case? One source of conflict in the home is that teens want more freedom and independence. However, the difficulties with organization, forgetfulness and thinking before acting that commonly go along with ADHD may make your parent(s) reluctant to give you the freedom you desire. In addition, many teens with ADHD have more difficulty completing homework and chores on time or following rules due to inattention, distractibility, lack of interest or lack of organization. These difficulties can lead to a frustrating cycle of negative interactions for both teens and parents, as parents feel they need to lecture, yell or punish and teens respond with anger or in other ways that aren’t very helpful. When this occurs repeatedly, the parents may feel they need to nag even more to be heard and the teens get more resentful and belligerent; tensions can escalate and tempers can flare. What can be done to interrupt this cycle? Discussing issues in the heat of the moment when everyone is angry doesn’t work. Instead, set aside a time when all parties are calm to discuss any areas of disagreement or conflict. Clear communication is important. If family conflict is taking a large toll on the family, consider seeking help from a qualified mental health professional.
Treatment of ADHD
Although no cure currently exists for ADHD, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. Successful treatment generally involves a combination of education, behavioral therapy and medication. Although the symptoms of ADHD may change with age, you may still require treatment to target these symptoms and even may need treatment into adulthood.
Education is a necessary component to any effective treatment plan and provides you with the tools to understand your disorder and how to manage it. If you were diagnosed with ADHD when you were very young, it is likely that this education was directed to your parent(s). It is important that you receive this education as well, ask your doctors and treatment providers questions and express concerns if you have them.
It is a myth that medication becomes less effective in the teen years. In fact, medications should be as effective, but co-occurring conditions may require changes to the treatment regimen. You and your parent(s) may also consider a change to a long-acting ADHD medication to help manage your symptoms better throughout the day, as you may have activities after the school day has ended and into the evening hours. For more information, see Managing Medication for Children and Adolescents with ADHD.
Behavioral treatment is another common treatment approach for teens with ADHD. Proven psychosocial treatments include parent-teen training in problem-solving and communication skills, parent training in behavioral management methods and teacher training in classroom management. For more information, please see Psychosocial Treatment for Children and Adolescents with ADHD.
There are many alternative and complementary treatments that claim to help with ADHD symptoms. Many such as elimination diets, nutritional supplements and play therapy lack scientific research to show their effectiveness as ADHD treatments. The section on Complementary and Other Intervetions can provide strategies for evaluating different treatments. It’s important to avoid products that claim to cure ADHD. Being a smart consumer and carefully looking at products is key.
Additional issues for teens with ADHD
As a teen with ADHD, you are facing the same issues that prove challenging for your peers: developing your identity, establishing your independence, understanding your emerging sexuality, making choices regarding drugs and alcohol and setting goals for your future. However, you may also face some unique difficulties, as described below.
Driving: Getting your driver’s license is an exciting event and one that results in increased freedom and independence. However, inattention and impulsivity can lead to difficulties with driving. Drivers with ADHD have more tickets, are involved in more accidents, make more impulsive errors, and have slower and more variable reaction times. The use of stimulant medications when prescribed has been found to have positive effects on driving performance. Always follow safe driving habits, such as using a seat-belt, observing the speed limit, and minimizing distractions such as texting or eating while driving.
Adherence to medication regimen: Nearly half of children don’t take their medications as prescribed, and the use of ADHD medications decreases over the teenage years. This decrease occurs for a multitude of reasons: teens may have negative attitudes toward medication use; they may feel that their ADHD symptoms are not impairing their functioning; they may dislike the side effects of the medication; or they may simply want to take a vacation from their medications to see what happens. If you and your parents decide to stop your use of medication, you should consult with your doctor and designate a trial period for doing so. During this period, you should specify your goals and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Your plan may include tutors or frequent check-ins with a teacher or counselor. Make sure to specify what indicators might signal the need for restarting the medication, such as declining grades or increasing conflict at home. After a time, evaluate your progress with your parent(s) and your doctor and determine whether or not medication is effective for you.
Diversion of medications: Use or abuse of ADHD stimulant medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin, among individuals for whom these medications are not prescribed is an increasing problem. Individuals who use stimulants without a prescription may do so for either academic reasons (improving their ability to study or succeed on tests) or for recreational reasons (to get a high or a buzz). At some point in your life, friends or acquaintances may ask you to give or sell your medications to them for these purposes. The use of medications by individuals for whom they were not prescribed is illegal and could have serious legal consequences. In addition, your ADHD medications are safe and effective when taken as directed, but can be dangerous if used without medical supervision. You should never give or sell medications that are prescribed to you to anyone else. Take some time to think about how you might respond if someone asks you for these medications. Some strategies include changing the subject, simply refusing and walking away, explaining the dangers of non-prescription medication use, or telling them that your parents monitor your pills and would notice if some were missing. Practice your responses; it is likely that you will face this situation and being prepared is important.
Building your self-esteem: Living with ADHD can be challenging. Many teens with ADHD find that the school environment does not suit their personality or maximize their natural talents. It is important for you to find your place in life and identify your strengths: Are you athletic? A good artist? Do you have musical talent? Are you good with computers? Find environments and activities that remind you of your strengths and allow you to experience success. Remind yourself that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The important thing is to do your best to work through difficulties and spend plenty of time on activities in which you shine.
“What about my future?”
Only you can determine what lies in store for you and your future. The fact that you are taking the time to read this website and educate yourself about your diagnosis shows that you are reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses and taking steps to prepare yourself for your future. We know that teens with ADHD are at risk for potentially serious problems as they transition into adulthood. We also know that as many as two-thirds of teens with ADHD continue to experience significant symptoms of ADHD in adulthood. In addition, as they become adults, teens with ADHD are at higher risk for difficulties in education, occupation and social relationships. However, these are only risks, they are not guarantees. Most teens with ADHD become successful, productive adults and so can you! Continued awareness and treatment is crucial so that you can avoid the risks and meet the goals you set for yourself, whatever they are.
Symptoms for ADHD in Teens
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Symptoms for ADHD
Though symptoms differ according to ADHD subtype — inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, or combined — and with comorbidities, teens with attention deficit hyperactive disorder commonly experience some or all of the following symptoms more than other teens their age:
- Distractibility and lack of focus
- Disorganization and forgetfulness
- Self-focused behavior
- Hyperactivity and fidgeting
- Heightened emotionality and rejection sensitive dysphoria
- Impulsivity and poor decision making
- Poor concentration and trouble finishing tasks
ADHD Symptoms in Teens: Chronic, Not Constant
Despite their chronic difficulties with these symptoms (listed above), virtually all of those with ADHD have a few specific activities or tasks for which they have no difficulty in exercising their executive functions quite well which can be a source of confusion among parents, physicians, and psychologists. This may be in playing a favorite sport or video games; it could be in making art or music or some other favorite pastime. Seeing these exceptions, some parents assume that ADHD is simply a lack of willpower when, in fact, ADHD is not a willpower problem. It is an impairment with the chemical dynamics of the brain.
How Common are ADHD Symptoms in Teens?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 9.4 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental conditions today. Experts say that 80 to 85 percent of preteens continue to experience symptoms into their adolescent years, and 60 percent of children with ADHD become adults with ADHD. The impact of ADHD symptoms may increase or decrease over time depending on the individual’s brain development and the specific challenges faced in school or at work.
How Do ADHD Symptoms in Teens Get Worse During Puberty?
The teenage years are grueling — for adolescents and for their parents. Even the most well-adjusted teen struggles with peer pressure, academic expectations, and emotional and physical changes. Teens with ADHD face an extra set of challenges: puberty aggravates their symptoms, higher academics tax their executive functions, and a drive for independence sometimes triggers their dangerous impulsivity just at the time they’re facing transitional milestones like learning to drive, engaging in sexual activity, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and forming relationships with new or different friends. For many families, moving through the teen years is a bumpy ride.
Parents navigating these challenges benefit by working closely with school officials and finding a clinician experienced in treating teens with ADHD. With treatment — a combination of medication, behavior therapy, and family-management training is recommended — and timely intervention, caregivers can help their teens avoid or minimize risks for negative outcomes.
Many of your teens’ problems at home, at school, and in social settings arise due to neurological delays. ADHD is tied to weak executive skills — the brain-based functions that help teens regulate behavior, recognize the need for guidance, set and achieve goals, balance desires with responsibilities, and learn to function independently. Executive dysfunction hinders the following key skills, critical to school and life success:
- Response inhibition (being able to stop an action when situations suddenly change)
- Working memory
- Emotional control
- Sustained attention
- Task initiation
- Planning/prioritizing, organization
- Time management
- Goal-directed persistence (sticking with a task when it becomes “boring” or difficult)
- Metacognition (the awareness and understanding of your own thought processes)
On average, these executive skills don’t fully develop for anyone until their early 20’s. The timeline is 3 to 5 years longer for adolescents with ADHD, who are more likely to struggle with tasks that require executive functioning. In the meantime, teens with ADHD are unfairly labeled lazy or oppositional because these neurological deficits are largely invisible and misunderstood.
As their bodies grow and change, teens with ADHD tend to lag behind their peers in emotional maturity as well. Experts say a young person with ADHD will not achieve the emotional maturity of a neurotypical 21-year-old until they reach their mid or late 30s due to developmental delays in the brain’s frontal lobes.
How are ADHD Symptoms in Teens Diagnosed?
ADHD is most often diagnosed in elementary school — the average age of diagnosis is 7, and hyperactive boys are still the most likely to be evaluated. But if your child has the inattentive type of ADHD, as is often the case with girls (quietly staring out the window rather than paying attention to the lesson, or leaving their work undone), signs may be missed through elementary school — ADHD doesn’t suddenly develop during the teenage years but it may not be fully apparent until the challenges of high school.
For some teens, ADHD symptoms are not clearly noticeable until they move away from home and enter college. Research suggests that males are diagnosed with ADHD six times more often than females in childhood and three times more often in adolescence.
To be diagnosed with ADHD, a teenager must demonstrate a history of ADHD symptoms in at least two settings (usually at home and at school) that began before the age of 12. What’s more, the symptoms must interfere with the teen’s functioning or development.
Diagnosis is seldom accomplished with a quick visit to a general pediatrician. Proper diagnosis involves gathering information from parents, teachers and family members, filling out checklists, and undergoing a medical evaluation (including vision and hearing screening) to rule out possible medical issues and differential diagnoses.
According to the Journal of Adolescent Health assessing ADHD in teens is challenging due to variability in access to pediatricians who provide care for mental health issues. Another complicating factor is that many primary care physicians (PCPs) aren’t sufficiently trained in the idiosyncrasies of ADHD and its overlapping comorbid conditions, and as a result, are not equipped to perform the in-depth evaluation needed. Diagnosis rates diminish as children age through middle and high school.
What Are the Greatest Risks Facing Teens with ADHD?
As a group, teenagers make notoriously bad decisions. Among the most serious risks facing teens with ADHD are:
- drug use and addiction
- unwanted pregnancy
- sexually-transmitted diseases
- lower test scores
- higher rates of not completing high school
- regrettable internet and social media use
- serious car accidents
Thanks to the popularity of vaping, there are renewed worries about nicotine and marijuana and the more debilitating way these substances may impact the ADHD brain.
But perhaps more dangerous is the fact that ADHD impulsivity — exacerbated by peer pressure and disrupted treatment — may prompt teens to make some very unwise and potentially fatal decisions. Research overwhelmingly concludes that long-term use of ADHD medication lessens the risk of poor and/or impulsive decision making among adolescents.
To further counter this threat, teens need continued guidance. However difficult, parents must keep the lines of communication open, closely monitor their teens’ behavior, and set clear limits.
A recent study found that PCPs fail to educate and assess their teen patients with ADHD for driver readiness, risky sexual behavior, and medication diversion during checkups and sick visits. School counselors and medical practitioners are no substitute for a caregiver’s guidance and hard questions regarding sexual activity, safe driving, drug, and alcohol use.
The following are the most common and potentially dangerous problem areas for teens with ADHD:
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Teens with ADHD
A teen’s need to belong puts them at heightened risk for alcohol and drug use; low-self-esteem makes them more susceptible to peer pressure. The three leading causes of death in adolescents are accidents (unintentional injury), homicide, and suicide. Sadly, alcohol is frequently involved with each cause.
Most research shows no clear association between greater alcohol use in teens with ADHD compared to their peers without it. One study, however, found that 40 percent of children with ADHD had used alcohol before age 15, compared to only 22 percent of children without ADHD What’s more, studies do show elevated alcohol use among adolescents with both ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. More research is warranted, however, parents are advised to know the following signs of substance abuse:
- Sudden and dramatic mood changes, particularly after a night out with friends.
- Red or heavy-lidded eyes with dilated pupils
- Deceit and secretiveness; stories that don’t add up
Automobile Accidents and Teens with ADHD
Learning to drive is a scary time for most parents. When you have a teen with ADHD, the fear is more than justified. Motor vehicle accidents (as a category) are the leading cause of death in teenagers and research shows that untreated ADHD is more likely to impair a driver’s ability due to core symptoms of distractibility, inattention, and impulsivity.
A 2019 study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and published in Pediatrics found that drivers with ADHD had a 62 percent higher rate of injury crashes, and a 109 percent higher rate of alcohol-related crashes than did their neurotypical counterparts.
What’s more, delaying the driving age to 18 doesn’t appear to remedy the problem since many state laws designed to protect new drivers — stiffer penalties for the use of phones, limits on the number of passengers permitted in the vehicle, etc. — do not apply to drivers age 18 and older.
Since executive functioning skills and emotional maturity may lag significantly behind in children with ADHD, parents must carefully consider whether their teens are mature enough to drive. While some teens with ADHD are very careful drivers, others are not ready to manage driving safely. High impulsivity and emotionality may indicate that a child is not ready for this responsibility.
Medication Diversion Among Teens with ADHD
Medication diversion is a serious and all-too-common problem in high school and on college campuses, where stimulant medication may be abused as a study or diet aid. An alarming 25 percent of middle and high school students (and 50 percent of college students) diagnosed with ADHD were approached in the past year to sell, trade, or give away their stimulant medication.
Stimulants are a controlled substance and many adolescents with ADHD are not aware of the serious personal, legal, and financial consequences of selling or sharing their medication.
Parents should stress the idea of being discreet in sharing information about stimulant use. They should explain the serious risks of diverting medication and keep tabs on whether their teen is dealing with requests for pills or showing any signs of medication misuse. Reconnecting a teen to the prescribing physician when issues arise will allow for continued understanding and acceptance of ADHD and the medications made to treat it.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder, two other common ADHD comorbidities among teens, are marked by antisocial, hostile, and unusually adversarial behavior. These disorders may place teens with ADHD , especially impulsive boys, in dangerous or even criminal situations. If symptoms emerge, quick and effective intervention with a trained professional is imperative.
If you have exhausted your local resources in getting your teen help, and are considering a therapeutic boarding school, contact us for more information.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Ages 13-18
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD used to be known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. In 1994, it was renamed ADHD. The term ADD is sometimes still used, though, to describe a type of ADHD that doesn’t involve hyperactivity.
ADHD is a medical condition that affects how well someone can sit still, focus, and pay attention. People with ADHD have differences in the parts of their brains that control attention and activity. This means that they may have trouble focusing on certain tasks and subjects, or they may seem “wired,” act impulsively, and get into trouble.
Symptoms and Signs of ADHD
Although ADHD begins in childhood, sometimes it’s not diagnosed until a person is a teen and occasionally not even until someone reaches adulthood.
Because ADHD is a broad category covering different things attention, activity, and impulsivity it can show up in different ways in different people. Some of the signs of ADHD are when someone:
- has difficulty paying attention or staying focused on a task or activity
- has problems finishing assignments at school or home and jumps from one activity to another
- has trouble focusing on instructions and difficulty following through
- loses or forgets things such as homework
- is easily distracted, even when doing something fun
- has problems paying close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- has trouble organizing tasks and activities
- has difficulty waiting one’s turn
- interrupts or intrudes on other people
- blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- fidgets with hands or feet or squirms about when seated
- feels restless
- talks excessively and has trouble engaging in activities quietly
Of course, it’s normal for everyone to zone out in a boring class, jump into a conversation, or leave their homework on the kitchen table once in a while. But people with ADHD have so much trouble staying focused and controlling their behavior that it affects their emotions and how well they do in school or other areas of their lives. In fact, ADHD is often viewed as a learning disorder because it can interfere so much with a person’s ability to study and learn.
Sometimes the symptoms of ADHD become less severe as a person grows older. For example, experts believe that the hyperactivity part of the disorder can diminish with age, although the problems with organization and attention often remain. Although some teens may grow out of ADHD as they become adults, others may continue to have symptoms into adulthood.
What Causes ADHD?
Doctors and researchers still aren’t exactly sure why some people have ADHD. Research shows that ADHD is probably genetic and that it may be inherited in some cases. Scientists are also exploring other things that may be associated with it, such as ADHD being more prevalent in kids who are born prematurely. It is also more common in guys than it is in girls.
Doctors do know that ADHD is caused by changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters (pronounced: nur-oh-trans-mih-terz). These chemicals help send messages between nerve cells in the brain. The neurotransmitter dopamine (pronounced: doe-puh-meen), for example, stimulates the brain’s attention centers. So a person with low amounts of this chemical may show symptoms of ADHD.
How Is ADHD Treated?
Because there’s no cure for ADHD, doctors treat people by helping them to manage the symptoms most effectively. Because some people have more trouble with the attention side of the disorder and others have more problems with the activity side, doctors tailor their treatment to the person’s symptoms. So different people with ADHD may have different treatments.
Doctors usually follow a multimodal approach to ADHD treatment. This means that they use several different treatment methods for one patient, such as medication, family and individual counseling, and changes at school to address particular learning styles.
Certain medicines can help people with ADHD by improving their focus and attention and reducing the impulsiveness and hyperactivity associated with ADHD. People with ADHD used to have to take medicine several times a day, but now there are some that can be taken at home once a day in the morning. Scientists are constantly working to develop new medications to treat ADHD.
You can discuss treatment options with your doctor, but always follow the doctor’s instructions about medication dosages. If you have been taking medicine for ADHD since you were a kid, your doctor will probably adjust your medication for changes in your symptoms as you get older.
Family counseling helps treat ADHD because it keeps parents informed and also shows them ways they can work with their kids to help. It also helps to improve communication within the family and to solve problems that come up between teens and their parents at home. Individual counseling helps teens with ADHD to better understand their behavior and to learn coping skills. Sometimes lots of teens with ADHD work together in group therapy, which helps them work on coping skills and getting along better with others, if that’s been a problem.
Schools are also involved in helping students with ADHD most will develop a plan that’s right for each teen and make changes that allow learning in ways that work best for them.
People with ADHD may also have other problems, such as depression, anxiety, or learning disabilities like dyslexia, that require treatment. They also may be at greater risk for smoking and using drugs, especially if the ADHD is not appropriately treated. That’s why proper diagnosis and treatment are critical.
If You or Someone You Know Has ADHD
Most teens with ADHD are diagnosed as kids, but some people aren’t diagnosed until they’re in their teens or even older. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, scared, or even angry if you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. That’s one thing counseling can help with. Talking about those feelings and dealing with them often makes the process much easier.
If you have ADHD, you may not be aware that you’re behaving in a way that’s different from others; you’re just doing what comes naturally. This can sometimes cause problems with people who don’t understand or know about your condition. For example, you might speak your mind to someone only to get the feeling that you’ve shocked or offended that person. You may not understand why people get mad at you.
Learning all you can about your condition can be a huge help. The more you understand, the more involved you can be in your own treatment. Here are some of the things you might try to help with school and relationships:
- Sit in the front of class to limit distractions.
- Turn off email, instant messaging, and your phone when doing homework or other tasks that require focused attention. This will help protect you against being distracted.
- Talk openly with your teacher about your condition and work together to be sure you’re learning in a way that works for you. For example, some schools will allow people with ADHD more time for taking tests. Some teens may benefit from smaller class sizes and tutorial help.
- Use tools that help you stay organized.
- Keep a homework notebook to keep track of assignments, including a list of books and readings you’ll need to bring home to do them.
- Write down classes, extracurricular activities, and other appointments in a daily planner so you don’t forget.
- Keeping a daily agenda can also help you avoid making unplanned, impulsive decisions: If you’re scheduled to start homework at 4:30, you’ll know it’s not a good idea to go with your friend to watch her 4:00 soccer practice. The organization skills you develop now will serve you well in the future, too. Even people who don’t have ADHD all find they need to develop these skills when they head off to the workplace so you’ll be ahead of the curve!
- Get plenty of exercise. Studies are starting to show that exercise can help people who have ADHD. If you feel hyper during school, talk to a teacher about taking activity breaks so you can stay focused and concentrate better when in class. Take frequent activity breaks while studying or doing homework.
- Practice relaxation and meditation techniques to relax and focus. Try this breathing exercise for starters.
- Let friends know what’s going on. Sometimes with our friends, we blurt things out and regret it later or we do silly, impulsive things. If this happens to you, let your friends know that sometimes you just say things without thinking all the way through, apologize if you have hurt someone’s feelings, and try to be extra careful in new situations.
- Take pride in the things you do well. Having ADHD is just a different way of being, and people with ADHD have their own abilities and talents.
If you have ADHD, it’s natural to feel misunderstood and frustrated at times. It might seem like you’re always losing your homework or having trouble following teachers’ instructions, or you may have trouble making friends or getting along with your family members. It helps to learn as much as you can about ADHD and to find the methods that will help you work to your full potential both academically and socially.
The good news is that doctors, counselors, and teachers are learning more about ADHD all the time and have a greater understanding than ever of the challenges people living with it face.
(This information is made available by www.kidshealth.org)
For further information on Teens with ADHD, please see the following resources:
Treating ADD/ADHD in Teens and Young Adults
Teen attention deficit disorder, or ADD, is a form of ADHD more accurately referred to as “attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive presentation”. ADD is characterized by all the same symptoms as ADHD, without the associated hyperactivity or impulsiveness.
ADD is a brain disorder characterized by extreme aloofness, being easily distracted, constant boredom and disinterest. In some ways, ADD can also manifest as a learning disability, essentially causing a teen to struggle with absorbing information. ADHD is the most common brain disorder among children and can continue into adolescence and adulthood yet ADD is noticed less often because children with ADD tend not to act out as much or be disruptive.
What Does Attention Deficit Disorder Look Like?
- It’s normal for teens to show a lack of interest in things that genuinely don’t interest them, and it’s also not uncommon to be aloof or absent-minded as a teen. But ADD is characterized by such extreme examples of daydreaming and forgetfulness that a teen struggles to put in any work at school or in their daily life.
- Teens with ADD may be often losing their things, can’t recall deadlines or responsibilities, misplace objects, fail to turn in schoolwork, and generally have a very hard time paying attention to anyone.
- Like other forms of ADHD, ADD manifests differently for everyone. Psychiatrists use a set of behaviors and symptoms to determine if a teen is on the spectrum for ADHD and requires teen attention deficit disorder treatment or is simply struggling due to certain personality quirks, requiring limited intervention.
What Causes Attention Deficit Disorder?
There is no explicit cause for ADHD or ADD. Researchers have identified several markers and risk factors that potentially point towards how and why ADD develops, but it’s hard to tell what the cause might be in any given individual’s case. Common factors include:
Family history – like other mental disorders, ADD is more likely to show up in future generations if several family members exhibited similar symptoms, or were diagnosed with the disorder as well. Whatever factor might make up most of the reason for any given individual’s mental health, chances are that it was inherited.
Brain chemicals – some suggest that ADD is the cause of differences in the way certain brain chemicals are released and processed. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are essential in the communication between brain cells and for initiating and managing every function in the body and mind. The particular neurotransmitters that might function differently in teens with ADD are dopamine and norepinephrine.
Brain structure – imaging technology shows that teens and children with ADD sometimes have brains that don’t “fire up” the same way other brains do, particularly in areas of the prefrontal cortex. This complex part of the brain contains several subsections and is summarily responsible for a large amount of our cognitive ability, including impulse control and thoughtfulness. In some cases, ADD is caused by a neurological dysfunction. One of the effects of this dysfunction is the inability to focus, especially under pressure. Because of this, teens with ADD may perform better when relaxed and stimulated positively than when confronted with stress.
How Can I Help My Teen with Attention Deficit Disorder?
Don’t pressure them – teens with ADD don’t perform well under pressure. It’s been shown that in cases where neurological problems are the cause for a teen’s disorder, increased pressure actively makes them do worse, struggling even more to pay attention the harder they try. The answer to that is to give your teen a relaxing, stimulating environment in which to grow. Guide them through subjects that genuinely interest them by harnessing and improving upon their enthusiasm, while teaching them to manage stress and calm down when dealing with things they find uninteresting, or when confronted with pressure. People with ADD have the potential to succeed in life, but they need to learn to manage their emotions in such a way that the negative impact of their disorder is minimized.
Praise them when they do well – it’s easy for any parent to list the things they find frustrating about their children. No child is perfect, and teens in particular are skilled at giving even the most reasonable parents some significant headaches from time to time. But it’s important to remember that your teen does good, too, and you need to remind yourself – and them – of those positives. Some parents live by the idea that pouring honey in a teen’s ears is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst, but praise isn’t always a bad thing. Discipline and rules are important, but so is giving your teen a nudge in the right direction by telling them when they did well.
Work on their conversational skills together – regardless of what your teen is going through, teens are always working on one thing: being someone. That means they spend a lot of time trying to figure out who they are, what image they want to present, how to fit in with others, and how to exist in whatever social environment they have at school or elsewhere. To a teen, being cool is everything. But teens that can’t communicate well have little to no chance of belonging to a group. Help your teen learn to communicate by teaching them to control themselves during conversations, avoiding interruptions, developing listening skills, spending time speaking about another person’s interests, and so on.
What Types of Teen Attention Deficit Disorder Treatment Are Available?
Because ADD so often exists as a co-occurring disorder with other conditions, such as a form of anxiety or a mood disorder, we provide thorough testing in order to accurately diagnose the issue. After ADD is diagnosed, the most successful teen attention deficit disorder treatment tends to be a combination of medication and therapy, including behavioral therapy.
Talk Therapy – While it is true that ADD is usually a neurological disorder, and that medication is the best way to combat the symptoms of this disorder, medication alone isn’t always likely to help your teen cope with their experiences and figure out a way to fit in socially and professionally. The future is always daunting to most teens, and it’s especially scary to someone who is struggling with a mental disorder. A learning disability like ADD can make it difficult to survive out there, even with medication – but the guidance and help of an experienced therapist can make a world of difference.
Talk therapy involves helping your teen better understand how to navigate the world while coping with the problems and limitations of ADD, using CBT and behavioral therapy to lead a normal life, nurture healthy relationships, and get started along a career path.
Medication – The most common forms of medication for treating ADD are stimulants, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines. These medications activate areas of the brain that support focus and attention. Non-stimulant alternatives exist, including atomoxetine (a selective norepinephrine inhibitor), guanfacine and clonidine (used to treat high blood pressure as well), and bupropion (an antidepressant also used to treat nicotine addiction).
It’s important to remember that treatment options work differently for different people, and some teens experience side effects from certain medications and/or find more relief from one medication than another. Stimulants in particular are considered dangerous due to the abuse potential, albeit rarely from the teens themselves.
Teens who undergo ADHD treatment with stimulants tend to experience less drug and alcohol abuse than those who don’t get any treatment. Dosages used to treat ADHD are usually low, and most of the abuse is linked to teens and adults buying illegally distributed prescription stimulants as a way to cope with stress, perform better at work or academically, or for recreational purposes.
Stress Management – Stress can be a significant issue for teens with ADD, causing them to perform worse and struggle even more than they already do with certain tasks and situations. Helping them cope with stress and find ways to deal with stressful situations in their own way is crucial to helping a teen develop the necessary toolset to tackle academic challenges, workplace responsibilities, and other tasks.
Examples may be helping teens try out a number of stress management techniques and therapies, from yoga and meditation to sports and music, or art. Finding the best way to calm down and focus in times of stress is important for teens with ADD.
Teen Attention Deficit Disorder Treatment at Paradigm Treatment
At Paradigm Treatment, we incorporate a number of different approaches to help teens with ADD. A big step is to help teens identify behavior and thoughts that might be inappropriate or false. This is an especially big deal for teens who are struggling not only with symptoms of ADD but with a concurrent disorder such as depression. Another important aspect of therapy at Paradigm Treatment is giving teens concrete tasks to accomplish with varying degrees of difficulty, helping them adjust to certain responsibilities while their disorder is being treated.
Learning with Others – Therapists at Paradigm Treatment also work to help teens become more aware of themselves and their behaviors, so that teens can learn to speak and act with more self-control. Since sometimes ADD has significant effects on social interactions, therapists might also practice communication techniques with teens, helping them to listen, to not interrupt, to wait their turn, and actively maintain conversations. Being among other teens at Paradigm Treatment helps a lot in forging new friendships and practicing communication skills.
The Right Environment – Creating a positive environment is conducive not only to treatment, but also to helping teens with ADD relax and better absorb information. It becomes harder for teens with ADD to focus under pressure, so feeling calm and happy helps them be more attentive and engaged in any given conversation or topic. This requires a combination of having skilled therapists, and the right kind of environment.
I had been stumbling through life for many years, some good weeks, but mostly bad ones. I blamed everything negative in my life to bad luck or other people being jerks. It took a real bad event in my life to begin looking inward and to come to terms that i was the sole reason for all things bad in my life and I had no idea how to change or fix the problems. You’ve changed my life and I have the deepest gratitude to the entire staff for helping me to the depths you have. I will stay in touch throughout my life, as I feel like you really care how I am doing, and am going to do.
– Robert L.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Attention Deficit Disorder
Is residential treatment necessary for a teen with ADD?
It depends mostly on the severity of the symptoms and how a teen responds to treatment, as well as any co-occurring disorders. Teens with ADD may turn to drug use as a way to cope with symptoms if their disorder goes undiagnosed, as ADD is easier to miss than other forms of ADHD, and drug use problems are more common among teens with ADD who have not started treatment. As such, a residential treatment program is more effective as it places teens in a drug-free environment where they can work on their mental health while going through recovery.
In other cases where severe symptoms of ADD are paired up with other disorders, including depressive thinking and suicide ideation, residential treatment can also be more effective than the alternative by surrounding a teen with professionals who are capable of assessing a teen’s mental state and helping them accordingly.
How is ADD different from ADHD?
ADD is a form of ADHD without presenting hyperactivity, or impulsive behavior. ADHD is split into predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined types, where people exhibit both. Teens with ADD may still at times present hyperactivity, but not to the degree commonly found in predominantly hyperactive-impulsive teens and children.
This matters, because an accurate diagnosis is important for helping psychiatrists and therapists form a better treatment plan. Because many teens with a form of ADHD often also struggle with other mental health problems, either as a result of their ADHD or for other reasons, holistic multimodal approaches are best, wherein professionals tackle a teen’s condition as a whole rather than separate sets of symptoms, utilizing various different methods rather than relying on a single treatment.
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90,000 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD )) is a behavioral disorder that begins in childhood. It manifests itself with symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and poorly controlled impulsivity. The term ADHD was coined in the early 1980s from the broader concept of “minimal cerebral dysfunction,” although the study of this problem dates back to the 1930s.In recent years, great advances have been made in the study of ADHD.
Relevance is determined by the high frequency of this syndrome and its great social significance. ADHD occurs between 2.2% and 18% in school-aged children and is twice as common in boys as in girls. In almost every classroom there is at least one child with this condition. It is believed that some children, namely 30%, “outgrow” this syndrome or adapt to it in adulthood.
It is possible to diagnose ADHD starting in late preschool or school age, since the assessment of the child’s behavior in at least two settings (for example, at home and at school) is necessary to meet the requirements of diagnosis.The presence of learning disabilities and social functions is a necessary criterion for establishing a diagnosis, that is, not earlier than 5-6 years of age. In addition, many of the signs of ADHD only appear occasionally, making diagnosis difficult.
There are genetic and physiological reasons for this condition. Some researchers even insist on the influence of climatic factors in its development. Thus, families of children with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder often have close relatives who had similar disorders at school age.Along with genetic, family, pre- and perinatal risk factors for the development of the syndrome are distinguished. Family factors include the low social status of the family, the presence of a criminal environment, and severe disagreements between parents. Neuropsychiatric disorders, alcoholism, and abnormalities in maternal sexual behavior are considered particularly significant. Pre- and perinatal risk factors include newborn asphyxia, the mother’s use of alcohol, certain medications during pregnancy, and smoking.
Attention deficit disorder can be both primary and occur as a result of other diseases, that is, it can be of a secondary nature: genetic and mental diseases, the consequences of infectious lesions of the central nervous system.
Children with attention deficit disorder have normal or high intelligence, however, as a rule, they do not do well in school. In addition to learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder is manifested by motor hyperactivity, defects in concentration, distraction, impulsive behavior, and problems in relationships with others.It should be noted that attention deficit disorder occurs in both children and adults.
ADHD is diagnosed according to the following criteria: – presence of attention deficit and / or hyperactivity disorder in the child; – early (up to 7 years) onset of symptoms and duration (more than 6 months) of their existence; – some symptoms are observed both at home and at school; – symptoms are not a manifestation of other diseases; – violation of learning and social functions.
Deficit of attention if the child: – does not pay attention to details and makes mistakes in work; – has difficulty maintaining attention in work and play; – does not listen to what is said to him; – unable to follow instructions; – is unable to organize a game or activity; – has difficulties in performing tasks that require prolonged concentration of attention; – often loses things; – is often and easily distracted; – is forgetful.
A child is hyperactive if he: – makes fussy movements with his arms and legs; – often jumps up from his seat; – hypermobility in situations where hypermobility is unacceptable; – cannot play “quiet” games; – is always in motion; – says a lot.
A child is impulsive (ie, unable to stop and think before speaking or performing an action) if he: – answers a question without listening to it; – can’t wait for their turn; – interferes in the conversations and games of others.
In a significant percentage of cases, clinical manifestations of the syndrome occur before the age of 5-6 years, and sometimes already in the 1st year of life. Children of the 1st year of life, who subsequently develop symptoms of hyperactivity, often suffer from sleep disorders and hyperexcitability. In the future, they become extremely disobedient and hypermobile, their behavior is hardly controlled by their parents. At the same time, children who subsequently have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in infancy may moderately lag behind in movement (they begin to roll over, crawl, walk for 1-2 months.later) and speech development, they are inert, passive, not very emotional. As the child grows, attention deficits become apparent, which parents usually ignore at first.
Disorders of attention and / or the phenomenon of hyperactivity – impulsivity lead to the fact that a school-age child with normal or high intelligence has impaired reading and writing skills, does not cope with school assignments, makes many mistakes in the work performed and is not inclined to listen to the advice of adults.A child is a source of constant concern for others (parents, teachers, peers), as he interferes in other people’s conversations and activities, takes other people’s things, often behaves completely unpredictable, reacts excessively to external stimuli (the reaction does not correspond to the situation). Such children find it difficult to adapt in a team, their clear desire for leadership does not have actual reinforcement. Due to their impatience and impulsiveness, they often come into conflict with peers and teachers, which aggravates the existing learning disabilities.The child is also unable to foresee the consequences of his behavior, does not recognize authorities, which can lead to antisocial actions. Especially often, antisocial behavior is observed in adolescence, when children with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder have an increased risk of persistent behavioral and aggressive disorders. Adolescents with this pathology are more likely to start smoking early and take narcotic drugs, they are more likely to experience craniocerebral trauma. Parents of a child with attention deficit and / or hyperactivity disorder are sometimes themselves characterized by mood swings and impulsivity.Outbursts of rage, aggressive behavior, and a child’s stubborn reluctance to behave in accordance with parental rules can lead to uncontrolled parental reactions and physical abuse.
It is important to understand that ADHD is a disease. Treatment can improve the child’s learning, social adjustment, ability to make friends and maintain friendships. Proper treatment can reduce family tensions, normalize life at home, and make life enjoyable for all family members.Most importantly, effective treatment for a child with ADHD increases their chances of a healthy, happy, and rewarding future.
The prognosis is relatively good, as in a significant proportion of children the symptoms disappear in adolescence. Gradually, as the child grows, disorders in the neurotransmitter system of the brain are compensated, and some of the symptoms regress. However, in 30-70% of cases, clinical manifestations of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (excessive impulsivity, irascibility, absent-mindedness, forgetfulness, restlessness, impatience, unpredictable, rapid and frequent mood swings) can also be observed in adults.
How do I behave at home if my child has ADHD?
1. Develop a positive attitude. Children with ADHD are sensitive to criticism. Instead of criticizing the child and telling him what he should NOT do, turn your comments in a more positive way and tell the child what he SHOULD do. For example, instead of “Don’t throw your clothes on the floor,” try saying, “Let me help you put your clothes away.”
Help your child develop a habit of positive thoughts.For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” help him tune in to what he can do: “I can do this!”
2. Do not skimp on praise. Children flourish when their parents praise them. For example: “Today you did your homework well and quickly”, or: “I’m proud of you.”
We all make mistakes and minor misdeeds from time to time. Instead of getting angry when your child messes something up, say something like, “Don’t worry, it can be fixed.”
3.Help your child not to worry. Activities such as playing quietly, listening to pleasant music, and taking a bath can help your child calm down when he is annoyed or frustrated.
4. Make simple and clear rules for your child. Children need a certain routine. With it, they know when and what they need to do, and they feel calmer. Do your daily activities at the same time of the day. – Have lunch and dinner at the same time. – Help your child not to put off things that need to be done.- Keep a to-do list. – Teach your child to plan their day. Start by collecting your school supplies ahead of time.
5. Communicate more. Talk to your child. Discuss various topics with him – what happened at school, what he saw in the movies or on TV. Find out what the child is thinking. Ask open-ended questions that involve a story rather than a monosyllabic answer. When you ask your child a question, give him time to think and answer. Don’t be responsible for it! Listen when he speaks to you and give positive comments.Let your child feel that he and his affairs are interesting to you.
6. Limit distractions and control your child’s work. When your child needs to focus on completing an assignment, he needs special conditions. Reducing distractions will help you focus better. – Make sure your child has ample opportunity to let off steam. Children often need a break between school and homework. – Make sure that the child understands what is required of him when completing the task.- Some tasks need to be broken down into several parts to make them doable. – Supervise activities and household chores as needed. – Regular breaks will allow the child to rest and then focus again.
7. Respond correctly to bad behavior. – Explain what made you angry about his behavior. – Avoid generalizations (for example, instead of: “You never listen to me,” say: “I’m angry because you weren’t listening to me right now”). – The punishment must be just and consistent in its severity with the offense committed.- Don’t get into arguments with your child. – Be adamant in your decisions, but do not resort to threat tactics.
8. Relax yourself. Sometimes you also need rest and time for yourself. Invite someone to sit with the child, or send the child to a trustworthy friend.
Pavlenko T.V., head of the pediatric department
Healthcare Institution “15th City Children’s Clinic”
90,000 ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
Small they seem funny: pranksters, fidgets with the favorite word “no”. In infancy, these features were preceded by poor appetite and sleep, a tendency to prolonged crying and excessive mobility. At the age of one and a half to three years, parents notice an excess of independence, impulsivity, disobedience, aggressiveness and fits of anger. From three to six years old, the “prankster” turns into a “difficult” or “problem” child, and his antics no longer cause a smile.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neuropsychiatric disorder. ADHD is the most common cause of behavioral disorders and learning difficulties in preschool and school age, problems in relationships with others, and, as a result, low self-esteem.
Fidget gets the title of “hyperactive”, and his behavior begins to act depressingly on others. The child does not respond to the demands of adults, suffers from inability to cope with setbacks, from social difficulties, deceives, spoils property and sometimes even mocks animals.Further, at school age, the symptoms intensify, and poor academic performance is added to them. At school and at home, he is considered a “bad child” and often “promotes” his negative image and behaves even worse. The relationship between these children and their parents becomes strained and hostile over the years. The teacher or teacher calls every other day to inform them that this cannot continue. Relatives and friends accuse parents of poor parenting.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit disorder was first described in 1902, and the first report on drug therapy with psychostimulants was published in 1937.At first, due to pronounced neurological signs, the disorder was called MMP – minimal brain damage. Later, when no anatomical brain damage was identified, it was renamed MMD – minimal cerebral dysfunction. In 1980, the syndrome received its current name in the international psychiatric classification.
ADHD is a misnomer. The word “scarcity” means that children are missing something. In fact, they are super attentive. In other words, they pay attention to any stimulus that arises around them, incl.hours for smells. People without ADHD can raise their threshold of stimuli in order to ignore the unnecessary. They hear, see or feel a lot, but they are not distracted. They don’t follow every stimulus that can lead them away from what they need right now. This means that they can focus on what they are doing at the moment.
The main manifestations of ADHD include attention deficit disorder (attention deficit), signs of impulsivity and hyperactivity. If the signs of hyperactivity usually decrease on their own as the child grows up, then attention disorders, distraction and impulsivity can remain with him for many years, serving as a fertile ground for neuroses, social maladjustment.
What is attention deficit disorder?
Attention disorders in children include the manifestations described below:
1. It often seems that the child does not listen to the speech addressed to him.
2. Often the child is not able to adhere to the proposed instructions and to cope to the end with the completion of lessons, homework or duties in the workplace (which has nothing to do with negative or protest behavior, inability to understand the task).
3. Usually has difficulty retaining attention when doing assignments or playing games. Often unable to maintain attention to detail; due to negligence, frivolity, makes mistakes in school assignments, in the work performed and in other activities.
4. Often experiences difficulties in organizing independent performance of tasks and other activities.
5. Usually avoids engaging in tasks that require prolonged mental stress (eg, school assignments, homework).
6. Often loses things needed at school and at home (for example, toys, school supplies, pencils, books, work tools).
7. Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
8. Often forgetful in everyday situations.
What is hyperactivity?
1. Restless movements in the hands and feet are often observed; sitting on a chair, spinning, spinning.
2. Often gets up from his seat in the classroom during lessons or in other situations when it is necessary to stay put.
3. Often exhibits aimless physical activity: running, spinning, trying to climb somewhere, including in situations where this is unacceptable.
4. Usually cannot play quietly, calmly, or do anything at leisure.
5. Often fusses or is in constant motion and behaves as if a motor was attached to it.
6. Often chatty.
What is impulsivity?
1. Often answers questions without hesitation, shouts out the answer in the lesson without hearing the question.
2. Often interferes with others, interrupts adults, sticks to others (for example, interferes in conversations or games).
3. Usually, it is difficult to wait for his turn in games, during classes, in other situations.
4. Without special intent, he can commit rash acts (for example, get involved in fights, run out onto the carriageway).
1000 “WHY?” about ADHD
1. Why are all adolescents and adults with ADHD playing for time? They do everything at the last minute, or prepare for an exam in only two or three days.Why?
2. People with ADHD tend to do several things at the same time, but have extreme difficulty completing any of them. Why?
3. Children love computers, electronic games, cartoons. They can pay attention to this for hours. Why? Why are they not able to give the same attention to something else, parents ask. How can this apparent contradiction be explained?
4. Often parents, teachers and other people think that if they like something they will do it, otherwise they will refuse or will not do it.This is true, but why is this happening?
5. Many are involved in daring or dangerous sports such as auto racing, parachuting, rock climbing. Why?
Excitement and some forms of fear release adrenaline. Anything that releases adrenaline corrects the problem !!!
Causes of ADHD
As a result of the combined influence of biological and psychosocial factors, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children has recently become widespread.The high prevalence of this disorder (from 5–10% to 20–28% of the child population) confirms the relevance of its study.
Dozens of studies in recent years have focused on genetic issues and demonstrate that some aspects of ADHD are inherited. The study, published in December 2003 in the journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, enrolled children 3 to 7 years of age and compared 98 children with ADHD with 116 children without ADHD. It was found that parents of children with ADHD, especially their mothers, were 24 times more likely to have ADHD compared to parents of children without ADHD.In addition, parents of children with ADHD who showed severe forms of negativism in relationships with people were 5 times more likely to have behavior or mood problems than parents of children without ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – the most common neuropsychiatric disorder
According to Dr. Andrea Kronis, Director of the ADHD Research Program at the University of Maryland, “One of the most important findings of this study is that there is a need to take a broad look at the boundaries of treatment for children.Medication is not enough if something is wrong around the child. “Research has shown how parental responses can complicate the life and treatment of a child with ADHD.” We must always be aware of the influence of parents on the child’s treatment. Therefore, doctors should not focus entirely on children, but should pay attention to how parents deal with problems that can make it difficult to treat a child. We want to create an environment in which the child can achieve great success. “
Andrea Kronis claims that the drug treatment of the parents themselves helps them in raising their children.“We just finished one study in which mothers of children with ADHD were treated for depression. If it improves their mood, it will have a positive effect on them and as parents. ”
Features of parent-child relationships in families of children with ADHD
The influence of psychosocial factors and, in particular, the family environment and upbringing on the development of ADHD was studied in mother-child pairs (children aged 5–10 years) using the methods: ASV, ITO, PARI, Family drawing. In families of children with ADHD, mothers in 42% of cases revealed educational uncertainty, inadequacy of requirements, prohibitions and sanctions.In 58% of cases, there is a projection onto the child of his own undesirable qualities. In 36% of “mother-son” couples, the mother’s preference for female qualities in the child was revealed. The Family Drawing test showed: in 83% of cases, children experience anxiety and conflict in their relationships with their parents; 56% feel a sense of inferiority in a family situation; in 72% of cases – hostility. Thus, it was revealed that the peculiarities of family upbringing, the individual-typological properties of mothers affect the development of ADHD in children, contributing to its strengthening.
Parental style can be attributed to environmental factors, for example, lack of attention and warmth on the part of the parents. Every parent loves their child, but not everyone is able to express their love in a way that suits this particular child. Issues such as stability, daily routines, training in norms of behavior and boundaries are also essential in this regard. A child with a behavior disorder is not able to learn the norms of social behavior, sometimes for the simple reason that he was not taught this by his parents.When we talk about boundaries, it is important that they are respected on both sides.
There are families where the boundaries are very blurred: eating and sleeping anytime, anywhere; cruelty that no one stops, or the parents even believe that aggressive behavior will help the child settle in life. The more difficult it is for a child to restrain himself due to internal reasons, the more he needs the environment, i.e. parents who can pay attention to his agitation, fatigue or hunger, and prevent an explosion in advance.Parents need to be very sensitive, and there is a trap here: Parents who struggle to organize their own daily routines are, of course, unlikely to be able to do this for their children. This creates a vicious circle.
Thus, the environment is not, of course, the only cause of behavioral problems, but it can exacerbate the situation.
ADHD is a family problem
Caring for a child with ADHD can create relationship problems between members of the household.Many parents of children with ADHD feel guilty, anxious, and tired. Between spouses raising a child with this syndrome, it is easy to accuse each other. There may be disagreements about the child’s diagnosis, treatment, or discipline. Finding solutions is not easy, but it is necessary to try to talk daily. In addition, parents devote a lot of time and attention to the problem child with ADHD. As a result, other children may feel left out. Every effort should be made to spend time with other children and help them build a relationship with the child with ADHD.
Assistance to a family raising a child with ADHD Assistance includes: formative parenting, psychological correction and psychotherapy, drugs and additional support methods such as occupational therapy and classes with a phlogopedist / defectologist / neuropsychologist, as well as methods for correcting behavior and improving motor skills (playing sports) …
Correctional and psychological work with a hyperactive child should be aimed at solving the following tasks:
1.Normalize the situation in the child’s family. It is important to teach family members to avoid new conflict situations.
2. To teach the child to obey, to instill in him accuracy and skills of self-organization, to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his own actions.
3. To teach the child to respect the rights of the people around him, to form correct verbal communication and control of his own emotions (actions).
4. Establish contact with school teachers, acquaint them with information about the nature and main manifestations of ADHD, effective methods of working with hyperactive students.
5. To raise the child’s self-esteem, self-confidence by mastering new skills, achieving success in school and everyday life. It is necessary to determine the strengths of the child’s personality and his well-developed higher mental functions and skills in order to rely on them in overcoming existing difficulties.
Advice to parents
Follow the “positive model” in your relationship with your child. Emphasize his successes and reward his efforts, especially in all activities that require concentration, even if the results are far from perfect.This builds the child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Encouraging the desired behavior can be not only verbal, but also materially tangible: you can reward the child with stickers cut out of paper stars, painted laughing faces, etc., and when you type a certain number of them, you can reward.
Try to say “no” and “no” less often – it is better to try to switch his attention.
Create a neat and quiet workplace for your child at home.
Always talk to your child with restraint, calmness, gentleness.
Give your child only one task at a time to complete.
Do not give your child long instructions and do not read long lectures – he simply will not listen to you to the end. Learn to give your child short, clear directions. Two or more elements in a directive can confuse them, such as, “Go to Dad’s room and get his shoes.” They walk into the room and return empty-handed.They only heard the first part. Some other surrounding stimuli took their attention away from what you said.
They often do better in private lessons. It is important to reduce the number of environmental stimuli when they do their homework, etc.
Avoid crowds whenever possible. Being in busy places has an overly stimulating effect on such a child.
Use visual stimulation to back up verbal instructions.
Maintain a clear daily routine at home. Prepare your child for any change in this order.
Limit the child to one partner during play. Avoid restless, noisy buddies.
Protect your child from fatigue, as it leads to decreased self-control and increased hyperactivity.
90,000 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Causes and treatment
The diagnosis of ADHD is one of the most common in children of late preschool or school age.This developmental disorder of the child has a neurological-behavioral nature. It is manifested by hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity, sometimes even increased aggressiveness and moodiness. In most cases, the syndrome is diagnosed in male children, but girls as well as adults are affected.
What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD diagnosis – one of the most common in children of late preschool or school age.This developmental disorder of the child has a neurological-behavioral nature. It is manifested by hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity, sometimes even increased aggressiveness and moodiness. In most cases, the syndrome is diagnosed in male children, but girls as well as adults are affected.
There are many opinions about the existence of ADHD, the methods of treatment for this condition, and their effectiveness. Some scientists and medical professionals argue that even if we admit that there are problems with the development of the child, in the case of ADHD, treatment is not required.You just need to be more tolerant of the child, and sooner or later the developmental disorder will subside, or the child will learn to live with him, adapt. Especially if the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder occur only from time to time, and not systematically. Indeed, about 30% of children who were not provided with medical care “outgrew” the disease, and their condition returned to normal.
However, most experts are inclined to believe that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder requires, if not treatment, then correction.The help of doctors allows you to improve the child’s learning ability, the ability to concentrate, coordinate movements, reduce irritability, aggressiveness. And also to restore or improve the state of the central nervous system to eliminate the neurological aspect of the development of the syndrome.
Causes and symptoms of ADHD in children
The causes of ADHD are not fully understood. The disorder may result from exposure to one or more of the following factors:
- Climatic or environmental factor.
- Abnormalities in the course of pregnancy – diseases of the mother, for example.
- Immunological incompatibility of the expectant mother and fetus.
- Violation of the timing or process of delivery, including birth trauma in an infant, incompetent stimulation of labor by doctors, poisoning with anesthesia.
- Diseases of a child in infancy, accompanied by a strong fever and taking prescription drugs.
- Diseases of the child that can negatively affect brain nutrition and brain activity, including asthma, heart failure, diabetes.
Scientists claim that 80% of the causes of ADHD are genetic factors. The tendency to develop the syndrome can intensify or weaken the environment in which a child is born and grows up.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Increased activity.
- Talkativeness or vice versa silence.
- Restless or uncontrolled movements, aimless physical activity.
An accurate diagnosis of ADHD can be made at the age of 12 (according to the guidelines for the classification of mental disorders). A supposedly hyperactive child should be observed in different situations, conditions and settings (school, home).A prerequisite for a diagnosis of ADHD is learning disabilities, lagging behind peers, and social dysfunctions.
Correction and treatment of children with ADHD in Khabarovsk
If a child has hyperactivity, treatment should be comprehensive, including several methods that are selected on an individual basis. Methods such as behavior correction, psychotherapy, pedagogical assistance and neuropsychological correction are widely used. Medication is prescribed with caution.
The Neocortex Center uses modern progressive correction techniques, the use of which allows you to eliminate hyperactivity in children or its severity. We employ highly qualified specialists who draw up an individual plan that makes ADHD treatment effective and its result prolonged. Before prescribing certain methods of therapy, the staff of the center carry out a final diagnosis, carefully assess the condition of the child, and identify the whole range of problems.
Treatment programs for children diagnosed with ADHD include the following procedures:
Also, during the course of treatment for ADHD, the child is provided with psychological and pedagogical support. More information about ADHD correction programs can be found on our website in the material “ADHD Correction Programs for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”
Treatment of ADHD in children in Moscow, correctional sessions
ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) characterized by behavioral disturbances and often a consequence of CNS dysfunction.Children with ADHD experience difficulty concentrating on mental activities, problems with learning and social interaction in the children’s team and when communicating with adults, they are characterized by impulsivity, increased activity and distracted attention.
The St. Luke Center for Children’s Health and Development offers clients the services of licensed doctors who conduct correctional and developmental classes for children with ADHD in Moscow. Having a sufficient material and technical base, we successfully treat behavioral disorders and allow children to adapt in a social environment, not to experience difficulties with communication and interaction with the outside world, without the use of medications that depress the central nervous system.
Why does ADHD occur in children, and what are the symptoms of the syndrome?
Disorders of brain activity do not have an exact etiology, which does not give an affirmative answer to the question of the causes of the syndrome. However, experts identify the following prerequisites for the development of the disease:
- infectious diseases at an early age;
- the use of narcotic drugs and substances that alter consciousness during pregnancy by the mother;
- asphyxia of a newborn child;
- Premature birth or prematurity.
Scientists claim that the syndrome has 2 forms: primary and secondary. A common cause of ADHD in children is a lack or complete absence of norepinephrine and dopamine. The clinical picture is characterized by the following symptoms:
- scattered attention;
- avoidance of mental stress;
- making fussy, small, obsessive movements;
- difficulty in self-selection of occupations;
- excessive sociability, obsession;
- meager expression of emotion;
- violation of reading and writing skills;
- conflicts in the team.
For different forms of the course of the disease, the symptoms differ, since there are 3 forms: a syndrome that combines attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and, accordingly, hyperactivity without attention deficit.
If you are familiar with the listed symptoms or your child has been diagnosed with this disease, contact the staff of our center for help. Treatment of ADHD in children in Moscow is carried out with high efficiency, and we are ready to provide each client with consultations in a modern center or at home.After the diagnosis, our doctors will select the correct treatment for the child, taking into account his characteristics and the form of ADHD.
How is ADHD treated at the Center. St. Luke?
There are many methods of treating ADHD, however, the most effective is corrective work that does not suppress the nervous system and brain activity, which means it is non-drug. Our employees have formed an integrated approach for the treatment of special children, which includes:
- micropolarization – restoration of the activity of specific parts of the brain;
- concomitant therapy is a technique aimed at solving the symptomatic manifestations of the syndrome.
In addition to micropolarization, we use additional correction techniques:
- neuropsychological correction.
In this way, it is possible to save clients from the need to take complex medications (tranquilizers, nootropics) that depress the child’s nervous system. Thanks to the use of modern methods of treatment, we relieve patients even of deep-seated problems, removing the external manifestations of the syndrome with concomitant therapy.Personal selection of treatment methods, well-coordinated work of experienced specialists and the use of the latest developments allow us to cope with the most advanced cases. Remember that timely access to specialized doctors can reduce the treatment time and facilitate the recovery process for the child, which means that you should not delay the visit to the doctor.
90,000 Treatment of children with ADHD in Moscow
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder of the psychoemotional development of a child.
This disease is based on functional immaturity or disruption of the subcortical structures and the cerebral cortex, in particular, the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, goal creation and achievement, and social behavior. With ADHD, the organization of mental processes is impaired. The causes of ADHD remain largely unexplored. The main predisposing factors are: heredity, alcohol consumption and smoking by the mother during pregnancy and lactation, environmental conditions, past perinatal injuries and infections.
The main symptomatic triad of ADHD is inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity. In the early years of life, parents may not notice any deviations in the behavior of their child, but problems may appear after the start of systematic education – attending kindergarten and school. There, the child is faced with an increase in mental and physical stress, the requirements for discipline. With ADHD, the child’s nervous system cannot cope with this and is overwhelmed.
Overload is expressed in hyperactivity – motor disintegration: it is difficult for a child to sit still, he is fussy, cannot play quiet games, and runs aimlessly.
Impulsiveness manifests itself in impatience – it is difficult for a child to wait for his turn, he interrupts, shouts out the answer without hearing the question, frequent mood changes are also characteristic. A lack of attention leads to a decrease in academic performance and learning: it is difficult for a child to listen to the text, to do work that requires perseverance, to complete the task, he is easily distracted by outside stimuli.ADHD prevents a child from fully developing their intelligence. Dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and mental retardation of 1.5-1.7 years may occur.
Diagnostics and treatment
ADHD is diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist. Various psychophysiological tests, EEG and MRI will make it possible to establish and differentiate the diagnosis. It is important to distinguish this syndrome from parenting defects and the characteristics of the child’s temperament.
Pharmacotherapeutic and neuropsychological approaches are possible in the treatment of ADHD.From medications, a neurologist can prescribe metabolic drugs that improve brain trophism and stabilize the nervous system. The neuropsychological approach includes observation by a neuropsychologist, classes with a teacher, speech therapist. In addition, a new non-invasive method of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is used, which makes it possible to smooth the severity of the main symptoms of the disease. Also, with a symptom of hyperactivity, massage, osteopathic treatment and reflexology are indicated.
ADHD treatment in children and therapy in St. Petersburg
ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.The diagnosis is made by the doctor on the basis of observation of the child’s behavior and the parents’ story about his behavior. The diagnosis of ADHD is established if the child’s behavior shows manifestations of impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention, which appeared before the age of 6 years, persists for at least 6 months, and manifests itself in at least three different situations.
The diagnosis of ADHD is quite subjective. It is believed that the cause of this disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain, but tests that would confirm this hypothesis are not carried out.There is an alarming trend around the world: psychotropic drugs are prescribed to treat children with ADHD, which have many side effects.
Neurological approach to the correction of children with ADHD in the Logoprognosis clinic
Most hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive children have neurological impairments that interfere with social adaptation, learning, and skill acquisition. Special trainings allow you to overcome these violations. As a result, symptoms decrease or disappear with ADHD treatment.
The Logoprognosis clinic in St. Petersburg conducts scientific studies of neurological disorders that are characteristic of ADHD and complex therapy for children with this diagnosis. Children with ADHD are common among our patients and we provide them with effective assistance.
What neurological symptoms do children with ADHD have?
Hardware diagnostics, carried out by qualified specialists of the Logoprognosis neurological center, reveals symptoms of dysfunction in several areas of the nervous system in children with ADHD:
- vestibular system
- disorders of blood supply to the neck and head
What kind of help should be given to a child with ADHD of preschool age?
Correction of ADHD in the Logoprognosis clinic is aimed at optimizing the brain function of a school-age child, increasing his motivation for learning and developing adequate self-esteem.We give preference to non-drug correction methods: hardware and non-hardware. An intensive course in our clinic for the correction of ADHD is prescribed based on the results of diagnostics. The following techniques can be included in the course:
- biofeedback-based trainings – biofeedback
- neurodynamic gymnastics
- music therapy
- art therapy
Even short-term training can significantly improve the condition of the child and increase his ability to learn.The cost of services can be found in the “prices” section on the official website of the clinic.
Book your child for a diagnosis and intensive course for the correction of ADHD through the registration form on the website or by phone.
90,000 a parent or community problem? Principles of diagnosis, treatment and social adaptation of children with ADHD
On October 11-12, an open meeting of the working group was held in Kiev
Ministry of Health of Ukraine on the development of requirements for
program-targeted services for children with the most common forms of
mental disorders, during which topical issues were discussed
diagnosis and treatment of hyperkinetic disorder, better known in
society as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As part of the event for child psychiatrists and neurologists of Ukraine, the children’s section
Psychiatry of the Association of Psychiatrists of Ukraine in conjunction with the Department of Children’s,
Social and Forensic Psychiatry of the National Medical Academy
postgraduate education. P.L. Shupik and the Department of Social Problems of Therapy
mental disorders of the Ukrainian Research Institute
social and forensic psychiatry and narcology was organized by an international
seminar. Classes were conducted by renowned child psychiatrists from the Institute of Psychiatry and
King’s College London (UK) – Professors Eric Taylor and
On the first day Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Emily Simonov
gave a lecture on epidemiology, diagnostic criteria,
typology, clinical and dynamic characteristics and principles of classification of ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Chronic Mental
a disorder due to impaired neuronal development in children and
characterized by impaired concentration function of attention, hyperactivity
and impulsivity.Serious complications of ADHD (Fig. 1) are insufficient
the level of development of school skills, school maladjustment, behavior disorders,
the formation of dependence on psychoactive substances.
Professor E. Simonov reported that when assessing the prevalence of ADHD,
based on ICD-10 criteria, hyperkinetic disorder occurs in
1-2% of UK children. When diagnosing a disorder in accordance with
DSM-IV criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
in 3-9% of children.The difference in ratings is due to the fact that the disorder with
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when using DSM-IV includes both
more severe cases (hyperkinetic disorder in the understanding of ICD-10), and
cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Attention Deficit Disorder Assessed by the American Psychiatric Association
and hyperactivity manifests in 4-12% of children between 6 and 12 years of age.
About 60% of children with ADHD have problems with school adaptation, about 32%
drop out of school.Children with attention deficit disorder and
hyperactivity, in adulthood have a lower occupational
level and often suffer from an inferiority complex. In their families 3-5 times
higher divorce rate. Among children with ADHD, a high percentage of adolescent
pregnancy, the risk of developing alcohol dependence is 2 times higher and
psychoactive substances, low probability of quitting smoking in adulthood, in
4 times higher risk of injury.
Clinical manifestations of ADHD are associated with structural and functional features.
brain, which may be due to the interaction of genetic,
psychosocial factors and perinatal damage to the central nervous system.In most children with ADHD, we can talk about a genetic predisposition to
the development of this syndrome. In parents and relatives of hyperactive children
quite often there are similar behavioral disturbances.
There is now strong evidence that ADHD
due to polymorphism and expression of genes with which they are associated
insufficient activity of monoamine transporters, low sensitivity
receptors of the postsynaptic membrane, regulation of release and reverse
capture of dopamine by the presynaptic membrane.Each of the listed genes
increases the relative risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
insignificantly (1.2-1.9 times), which confirms the molecular genetic
hypothesis that ADHD is mediated by the interaction of many genomic
factors, each of which has a weak independent influence. At the same
time, several relatively rare genomic abnormalities have been established (fragile X
chromosome, genomic resistance to thyroid hormone), which have
significant independent effect on the risk of developing the disease.
Recent studies have shown that children with ADHD have more
slow maturation of the frontal lobe of the brain and the formation
neuropsychological deficit. It is known that the anterior regions of the brain provide
inhibitory effect on the ganglia of the brainstem – subcortical structures,
providing automatic motor acts and non-targeted motor
activity. At the same time, this part of the brain is responsible for the communication between
limbic system, brainstem ganglia and cerebral cortex.Violation
maturation of the anterior parts of the brain determines the formation of cognitive,
emotional-volitional and psychomotor disorders.
In ADHD patients, there is an imbalance between arousal and
braking. As a consequence, the main symptoms of ADHD are severe
hyperactivity, impulsivity and impaired attention.
Symptoms of ADHD are usually not in doubt once children reach
6 years of age. At the same time, parents
complain about the child’s lack of persistence in completing tasks,
requiring the involvement of cognitive functions, excessively rapid transition from one
type of activity to another, the inability to complete many of the started cases.WITH
with age, there may be some changes in the clinical picture of ADHD due to
changes in the ratio of symptoms: at a younger age, more often prevails
hyperactivity, in the older – inattention.
In addition to the symptoms listed, there may be other impairments: cognitive
disorders, specific delays in motor and speech development. Approximately at
In half of the cases in children with ADHD, coordination disorders are revealed. It could be
awkwardness of movements, imbalance and visual-spatial
Emotional volitional disorders are quite common in ADHD.
Many children with ADHD perform poorly in school despite a normal overall score.
mental development (IQ). Partial delays are common in ADHD
development, including school skills (writing, counting, reading). Their main
sign – a discrepancy between real academic performance and the one that can
expect based on IQ.
It must be remembered that ADHD is a high index disorder
comorbidity, that is, it has a high frequency of concomitant mental
disorders that also require timely detection and adequate
Correct qualification of comorbid disorders is essential for correct
planning therapeutic tactics for each specific child with ADHD.
Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Eric Taylor , well known in the world
as the head of the working group that prepared the European treatment protocols
ADHD, in his lecture noted that taking into account the existing system in Ukraine
health care and human resources, preliminary diagnosis of ADHD could
carried out by school teachers and psychologists by screening all children with
behavioral problems.The professor suggested the definitive diagnosis of ADHD
to assign to child psychiatrists and neurologists. Examination of a suspicious child
for ADHD should include conducting a structured interview and asking
violations of attention, activity and impulse control in various situations (at home, in
school, among peers) at different times of the day. Scale screening
Conners allows you to simplify the collection of formalized information from parents and
child teachers. As the main tool for diagnosing ADHD
the professor suggested using a semi-structured interview developed by
a group of British researchers under his leadership.In agreement with
authors in the sector of medical and social rehabilitation of children and adolescents with
mental and behavioral disorders of the Ukrainian Research Institute of Social and
forensic psychiatry, versions of the toolkit were prepared and tested for
Ukrainian and Russian languages.
Pathologic levels are required to make a diagnosis of ADHD
inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, which are manifested when
a wide range of diverse situations and persist steadily over time.At
it is necessary to exclude those cases that can be explained by stress
family situation related to breakup, abuse, or sexual
violence, other mental disorders such as
autism spectrum, schizophrenia, mental retardation. Children with more intelligence
high than average, may also have problems with school adaptation
due to inattention in the classroom, greater independence and impulsiveness in
judgments and actions.
According to classification
DSM-IV distinguishes three forms of ADHD:
– with a predominance of impaired attention;
– with dominant hyperactivity-impulsivity.
ICD-10 addresses impaired attention activity outside the scope of
ICD-10 for the diagnosis of ADHD provides for the use of the following list
Inattention. For at least 6 months have been persistently present
at least 6 signs of inattention from among the following (moreover, symptoms
expressed so much that they are maladaptive and do not correspond to the level
1. Often cannot concentrate on details or admits
(obviously not through negligence) mistakes in school assignments or other
2. Often unable to hold attention for a long time during the execution
assignments or play activities.
3. It is often noticeable that he does not listen to what he is told.
4. Often does not follow the instructions received or does not complete the execution
school tasks or other responsibilities.
5. Often there is a violation of the ability to rational organization
6. Avoids activities that require constant mental exertion.
7. Often loses things necessary to complete certain tasks.
8. Easily distracted by external stimuli.
9. Often forgetful in the course of daily activities.
Hyperactivity. For at least 6 months, at least 3
signs of hyperactivity (and the symptoms are so pronounced that they are
maladaptive and do not correspond to the level of development of the child).
1. Often restlessly moves his arms or legs, fidgets in his chair.
2. Leaves his seat at the desk or behaves in a similar way in a situation
when to sit.
3. Often starts to run or climbs in situations where it
4. Often makes excessive noise while playing or has difficulty if
it is required to spend leisure time doing some quiet activity.
5. Demonstrates a consistent, consistent set of signs of excessive activity,
not significantly influenced by social context or requirements
Impulsiveness. For at least 6 months, one
and more signs (and the symptoms are so pronounced that they are
maladaptive and do not correspond to the level of development of the child).
1. Frequently shouts out the answer before the question being asked is final
2. Unable to stand in lines, wait patiently for their turn in games, or
3. Often interrupts others’ activities or speech, or interferes in various situations.
4. Often talks too much in the absence of an adequate response to
attempts to regulate this behavior.
Moreover, all symptoms are maladaptive and do not correspond to the level
The second seminar was devoted to the complex treatment of ADHD. Professor Eric
Taylor lectured on general principles of psychological and social treatment
children with ADHD and told that the main therapeutic interventions
for ADHD, psychoeducation, behavioral therapy, and psychopharmacotherapy are considered.Therapeutic interventions should be directed at the child, his parents,
pedagogical environment. The most effective non-pharmacological methods
psychoeducation and training of parents and teachers in methods that increase
the effectiveness of the management of the child’s behavior. Behavioral therapy provides
influence on the child by creating motivation for him to change his behavior.
Cognitive psychotherapy and training also have positive results.
social skills in children.
According to the European guidelines for the treatment of ADHD, the treatment of preschool children and
also school age with mild ADHD should start with behavioral
therapy. Pharmacological treatments are added for behavioral inefficiencies.
therapy and in severe forms of the disorder.
According to the latest major study by the National
the US Institute of Mental Health (MTA Cooperative Group, 1999, 2004), in
which compared the effectiveness of behavioral, drug and
combination therapy for ADHD, isolated use of pharmacotherapy according to
compared with the use of behavioral therapy is much more
effective.In the study, combination therapy (combination of pharmacotherapy with
behavioral) had minor advantages over isolated
pharmacological treatment. However, combination therapy according to the same
research is more effective in improving the environment in
family, as well as the impact on comorbid disorders.
in a lecture on the principles of pharmacological treatment of ADHD professor Emily Simonov
told that the evidence base regarding the effectiveness in treatment
ADHD is possessed by drugs that regulate the activity of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine and
dopamine.According to modern European recommendations, the drugs of the first
psychostimulants are the treatment of choice for ADHD.
Psychostimulants have been successfully used for several decades in
around the world for the treatment of ADHD as the most effective drugs for
these disorders (Fig. 2).
The mechanism of action of psychostimulants is to block reuptake
catecholamines by presynaptic nerve endings and their cleavage
monoamine oxidase.As a result, the concentration in the presynaptic
gaps of monoamines (dopamine and / or norepinephrine).
One of the problems associated with psychostimulant treatment is
the need to provide the child with a sufficient concentration function of attention
in the morning (to eliminate behavioral disorders in the family before school), at school, after
schools (due to the need to ensure the effectiveness of homework
assignments), in the evening (to eliminate behavioral disorders when communicating with
peers and family members).Refuse the complex selection of doses and their timing
admission, avoiding the need to involve teachers in ensuring control over
taking the drug while the child is at school allows the introduction of
clinical practice of long-acting psychostimulants, in particular
methylphenidate (Concert). Concert drug with a mechanism of slow
release of the active substance, provides a uniform concentration
methylphenidate in blood plasma for 12 hours.This allows you to control
ADHD symptoms both during school and at home. Taking the drug
long-acting avoids sharp fluctuations in concentration
methylphenidate in plasma and, accordingly, fluctuations in ADHD symptoms throughout
day. In addition, the slow release of the substance provides better
drug tolerance, compliance and reduced child stigma
It should be noted that the practice of prescribing antipsychotics to children with ADHD is currently
time is not supported by current protocols for the treatment of this disorder, which
due to the lack of evidence base on their effectiveness – on the one hand,
and a high risk of side effects, on the other.The professor emphasized that
the basis for the appointment of antipsychotics (exclusively atypical) for ADHD can
be only the presence of opposition-defiant and aggressive forms of behavior, and not
hyperactivity. The ADHD treatment protocol, in addition to psychostimulants, allows
the use of clonidine, antidepressants and atomoxetine, but states them
less effectiveness and a greater risk of side effects.
The professor also noted that in the group of ADHD patients who were treated
psychostimulants, fewer problems associated with addictions (smoking,
alcoholism, non-medical use of psychoactive substances), in comparison with
patients with ADHD who have not been treated with psychostimulants.The mechanisms of this
the protective effect of psychostimulants is to reduce the symptoms of ADHD,
especially impulsivity, as well as in the reduction of aggressive disorders and
late personality disorders, in the possibility of academic success and
pursuing a career or improving social and family relationships.
Dr. Dennis Ugrin (Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London)
conducted practical training in the diagnosis of ADHD. Listeners gained experience
with structured interviews, parent and teacher versions of the questionnaire
On October 13, a press conference was held at UNIAN “Hyperactive children: test for
maturity of Ukrainian society ”. Questions were raised about the special needs of children with
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, improving their school and family
As noted in his speech the national coordinator of the WHO program
“Mental health” Igor Anatolyevich Martsenkovsky , mental health and
psychological well-being are fundamental components of life
child, allowing him to reveal his life potential, become socially
active citizens.Conditions with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are
one of the main problems of child psychiatry in Europe and the world, the success of the solution
which largely determines the state of mental health of children and adolescents
population. Since the 60s, in the countries of the European Union and the United States, it has been created
to date, a harmonious, holistic system of medical
psychological and pedagogical assistance to children with ADHD. This system is built on
principles of evidence-based medicine, deep respect for rights and special
needs of such children and is aimed at their full social, including
Further, Doctor of Medical Sciences I.A. Martsenkovsky spoke about the difficulties,
schooling of children with ADHD and the organization of medical care
– Until recently, the existence of the problem was not recognized in Ukraine, special
the needs of these children, primarily related to schooling,
were ignored. Official statistics of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
puzzling. It seems that Ukrainian children, in contrast to
their peers in Europe, attention deficit disorder and
hyperactivity almost never occurs.Ukrainian schools demonstrate
failure to create the necessary conditions for the education of such children. Many
schoolchildren with ADHD are transferred to an individualized form of education. Hard
recognize the normal situation in which outside the walls of a mass school there are
children with intact intelligence.
Organization of medical care for children with ADHD in Ukraine looks enough
archaic, the established therapeutic practice does not correspond to modern
scientific achievements.In our country, there is no specialization of doctors in the field of
child psychotherapy, there are no specialists trained in the field
cognitive behavioral therapy. Only recently, after
Department of Child Psychiatry, National Academy of Postgraduate Education named after
P.L. Shupik was headed by Professor Vyacheslav Danilovich Mishiev, the situation with
training of the necessary specialists was recognized as relevant and began
change for the better. Another problem: there are no programs in Ukraine
psychological correction of behavioral disorders at the place of residence or study
children with behavioral disorders.Such programs are very effective at
correction of behavioral disorders associated with ADHD.
Many children receive high doses of antipsychotics and antiepileptic drugs for years.
drugs. The effectiveness and safety of such treatment causes fair
doubts in most countries of the world. S. Goldstein and Anne Teeter Ellison in their
fundamental monograph on attention deficit disorder and
hyperactivity, back in 1988, it was stated that the risk associated with
the use of antipsychotics for the treatment of ADHD in children significantly exceeds
likely benefit.Another therapeutic tactic common in Ukraine is
associated with the theoretical concepts of some Russian colleagues and
involves the appointment of children with ADHD a variety of neurometabolic
drugs. The rationale for their appointment is the alleged presence of some
residual organics, which is the goal of such therapy. results
numerous controlled studies conducted in European countries
The Union and the United States allow it to be argued that such therapy is contrary to the principles
evidence-based medicine (the use of neurometabolic
drugs in young children).There is a point of view that it can increase
the likelihood of expressing certain gene mutations and acting as a factor
predisposition of autism spectrum disorders. At the same time, Ukrainian
specialists lack experience in the use of drugs that are the first
line of therapy for ADHD in most countries of the world (except for some former republics
THE USSR). This is primarily about methylphenidate. The situation is no better with
the use of other drugs that have proven clinical efficacy.V
as the first line of drug therapy, psychostimulants appear in
NICE recommendations (Great Britain), European recommendations, recommendations
SIGN (Scotland), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations,
AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) guidelines.
How can these facts be explained? Ukrainian children as opposed to European peers
suffer from other mental disorders? ADHD is different for them and requires
other treatment? Of course not! Children even with severe forms of ADHD in Ukraine are not
are being treated or treated in disregard of the principles of evidence-based medicine.
Such treatment causes a significantly more severe course of ADHD in Ukrainian
children and creates serious difficulties, both for children with these disorders, and
and for their environment. To change the situation, it is necessary to carry out comprehensive
reforms. The Ministry of Health cannot solve the problem on its own
mental health care for children with ADHD. Effective help is impossible for children with
ADHD without considering their special educational needs. These children are not
should be transferred to individual forms of education, but should be integrated into
school teams.When carrying out reforms, the Ministry of Education of Ukraine
must pass its part of the way. In many cases, qualified school
interventions are sufficient, and drug treatment is not
have to. We need to solve both the problem of psychological and
psychotherapeutic assistance to parents and children with ADHD. No school psychologists
this problem is difficult to solve.
But the main goal of reforming the system of care for children with deficiency disorders
attention and hyperactivity should be a change in attitudes towards these children with
the side of educators, peers and parents.We need social advertising
aimed at protecting the mental health of children. We need a connection to
education of parents of children in the field of mental health of family doctors,
pediatricians, pediatric neurologists. Ukraine needs to organize a system of providing
psychiatric care in primary care, at the place of residence and study of the child.
This should be primarily primary and secondary prevention, screening with
the purpose of early diagnosis. I believe that the Ukrainian society will have enough strength to change
health care system for children with ADHD.
Director for International Cooperation of the Association of Psychiatrists of Ukraine Tina
Beradze emphasized that the problem of children with ADHD is not only medical, but also
social character – most of them retain some of the symptoms and during
adulthood. In general, patients with ADHD are characterized by a lower
ability to social adaptation, a lower level of education and greater
the frequency of development of states of dependence on psychotropic drugs compared with
the general population.Therefore, early diagnosis and timely treatment of ADHD
are relevant to our society, which faces difficult
social consequences of insufficient attention to this problem.
Professor Emily Simonov reported that in 2004 the World Association for Children and
adolescent psychiatry and related professions recognized ADHD as the # 1 problem in
child health care. According to the results of international studies,
initiated by the WHO, the prevalence of ADHD in different countries is 3-20%.
The problem of ADHD requires wider discussion around the world, especially in those
countries where until recently it was not given due attention.
The primary task of specialists in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry
in any state is to initiate a discussion of ADHD problems on
appropriate level and intensification of work to identify children with such
Professor Eric Taylor noted that in recent years, a large
number of studies on ADHD with results
significantly expanded the knowledge base in the field of etiology, pathogenesis and clinical
manifestations of this disease.Scientific data have been obtained that allow to form
an accurate understanding of the nature of hyperactivity in children and understand the essence of the problem.
One of the tasks of the medical community is to constantly work with
school teachers and parents, on whom the creation of
optimal conditions for children with ADHD, the success of their treatment and adaptation to
society. Teacher intervention and parenting education are sufficient
effective forms of assistance. The professor emphasized the importance of cooperation
medical experts and parents whose children have hyperactive disorders, in
creating a system for assessing such children and recommendations for their treatment.
Some children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, however,
need medical treatment. Psychostimulant therapy is
the safest and most effective form of such treatment.
Experience with European approaches to helping children with ADHD
told the head of the educational and rehabilitation center “Dzherelo” Oleg Romanchuk
It was interesting to know that over the past three years, specialists
The Center implements a program for the early detection of children with ADHD and providing them with
necessary help.A lot of educational work is being done with teachers
elementary grades in schools and educators of preschool institutions.
We support families with children with ADHD.
The results of the work carried out indicate the enormous potential of such children,
which can only be realized if it is timely identified
disorder, its treatment and creation of comfortable conditions for the development
abilities of children with ADHD, the speaker noted.
On ways to solve the problems associated with ADHD in Ukraine, she said in her
speech Head of the Maternity and Childhood Protection Department of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Raisa
Alexandrovna Moiseenko .
She stressed that the primary task is to develop the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Labor and Social
policy protocol for treating children with ADHD. The second step towards a solution
this problem should be the creation of centers for training specialists –
teachers, medical and social workers, which will help
the formation of an intersectoral approach to helping children with ADHD. V
currently, the Ministry of Health has prepared methodological
recommendations for program-targeted services for such children, providing
creation of a system of coordinated medical, psychological, pedagogical,
correctional and social activities aimed at improving the quality
help hyperactive children.
Head of the Department of Child, Social and Forensic Psychiatry, National
Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education. P.L. Shupika, doctor
Medical Sciences, Professor Vyacheslav Danilovich Mishiev drew attention to
significant differences in treatment approaches used in children and adults
psychiatry. Child psychiatry is a field of behavioral disorders, problems,
associated with hyperactivity, emotional and volitional incontinence. In the present
time domestic specialists in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry at
with the support of foreign specialists, they develop programs for more
in-depth study of the problem of ADHD, early detection of this disorder and
training of relevant specialists.
The participants in the press conference expressed their hope that the joint work
representatives of state structures of health care, science, practical
doctors and teachers with the support of the state will contribute to a significant
increasing the level of medical and social care provided to children with ADHD in
Prepared by Natalia Ocheretyanaya
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