If you are the parent of a teen who you suspect might have ADD/ ADHD, then it helps to better understand the condition before you decide on what steps your family can take to help your child. Below you will find the top questions and answers about ADD/ ADHD:
What is ADD/ ADHD?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition that commonly affects children and young adults, and although ADD and ADHD are not exactly the same, ADHD is the term generally used to refer to the condition, except in those cases where hyperactivity is completely absent. ADHD exists in teens as a result of differences in the centers of their brains that control activity and attention, and it can manifest itself in a number of different ways, depending on the teen. It is important to note that just because an individual has ADHD does NOT mean that they aren’t smart. ADHD affects people’s ability to learn, which could result in poor performance in school and work, but make no mistake- a teen with ADHD does not necessarily equal a teen who is unintelligent.
What are the signs and symptoms of ADHD?
As mentioned above, because each teen is different and ADHD primarily affects behavior, each teen will exhibit a unique set of signs. However, there are some behavior problems that have been found to be common among a large number of teens with ADHD. Your teen could have ADHD if he or she:
- Exhibits difficulty paying attention or staying focused
- Has trouble following instructions
- Jumps around between activities
- Often loses or forget things
- Is easily distracted, even during enjoyable activities
- Pays little attention to detail
- Makes careless mistakes
- Has trouble with organization
- Finds it difficult to wait their turn
- Talks excessively
- Is restless, acts fidgety, or squirms constantly
- Interrupts others often
There really aren’t many definitive answers to this question yet, as doctors still aren’t sure what exactly causes the condition. There are some known contributors, though. For example, ADHD is more common among boys than girls, it may be more prevalent among children who were born prematurely, and a genetic link has also been established, meaning that it could possibly be inherited. Researchers also know that certain chemical imbalances (with dopamine, in particular) are responsible, so most treatment methods revolve around counteracting those imbalances.
What can I do to treat my child’s ADHD?
One of the most common forms of treatment for ADHD is medication. This medication, which could include recognizable names like Ritalin or Adderall, is aimed at helping the ADHD patient to better focus their attention. Other teens with ADHD learn to manage their symptoms without medication through counseling or other measures. Oftentimes, even those teens with ADHD who do take medication will need to have special adjustments made for them at school or work. Because ADHD is a learning disorder and detracts from an individual’s ability to focus, these individuals benefit greatly from adjusted environments. Many teens with ADHD, for example, are permitted to take their exams in a separate, distraction-free room, and oftentimes, they are allowed extensions for the amount of time they have to finish their tests.
In the vast majority of cases, ADHD is completely manageable, and if you take the necessary steps to understand and then treat the condition, your teen can live a perfectly normal and successful life.