Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Teens (cont.)
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
In this Article
- ADHD in teens introduction
- What causes ADHD in teens?
- How is ADHD in teens diagnosed?
- What are the symptoms of ADHD in teens?
- How does ADHD in teens affect executive function?
- What kinds of difficulties do teens with ADHD face?
- What are non-medical treatment strategies for teen ADHD?
- What stimulant medications are available to treat ADHD in teens?
- What are the potential side effects of stimulant medications?
- What non-stimulant medications are available to treat ADHD in teens?
- What alternative treatments are available for ADHD in teens?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What kinds of difficulties do teens with ADHD face?
Teenagers with ADHD will commonly have problems with relationships (parents and peers), academic and non-academic (for example, sports) success, and self-esteem. It is important to include the teen when discussing management of his or her ADHD. Accepting the diagnosis of ADHD can be a major hurdle. A teen's sense of self-identity requires fitting in seamlessly with peers; this goal of blending in may be disrupted and the adolescent may feel that he or she has been "labeled," and thus ostracized. Helping the teen to appreciate his or her strengths and that there are options which will help to "level the playing field" will actually enable him or her to better fit in with their non-ADHD affected peers. The analogy of wearing glasses may help to make the point. The glasses merely enable the wearer to see as well as those whose vision is not impacted. Management of ADHD is merely designed to return the teen back to the baseline his or her contemporaries currently experience.
What are non-medical treatment strategies for teen ADHD?
Non-medical management strategies for the adolescent with ADHD include:
- Provide fair, clear, and consistent expectations, direction, and limits.
- Follow a regular (while not rigid) schedule and limit distractions.
- Establish a system of rewards and consequences to address the teen's behavior.
- Boost the teen's self-esteem by acknowledging success and positive behavioral choices.
- Create a home system to help the teen stay on schedule for both immediate- and more long-term academic projects.
- Establish a positive relationship with teachers so that regular, timely, bidirectional feedback occurs on a regular basis.
- Try to stay calm during the inevitable disagreements between you and your adolescent. Seek professional help if conflicts seem extreme.
- Encourage 1 hour of vigorous physical activity prior to homework; studies have repeatedly demonstrated a positive relationship between vigorous physical activity and faster and more effective and accurate study habits.
- Establish regular, quality sleep patterns.
- Set firm, fair, consistent rules for the use of TV, computers, Internet, texting, cell phone usage, and video games.
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