Support for teens
Most children with ADHD continue to have symptoms of this condition into adolescence; others are not diagnosed until the teen years. Treatment, including medication, continues to be effective throughout adolescence. It is helpful to think about and plan for some of the challenges that are specific to teens.
- Teens often show fewer hyperactivity symptoms, but their attention and organization skills are increasingly challenged by the greater demands of middle school and high school
- Teens may develop other co-occurring conditions, such as oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety, or depression
- Teens with ADHD are more likely to develop substance abuse problems
- Teens with ADHD may have sleep disturbances (sleeping too much, or trouble sleeping enough)
- Although most teens take risks, teens with ADHD may engage in impulsive and risky behavior at high rates
- Teens with ADHD have more traffic accidents and tickets
- As teens take on more responsibility for their own healthcare, they may find it harder to maintain a medication or treatment schedule
- “Diversion” of prescribed drugs may become a problem as teens are pressured to “share” or sell their medication
- Teens often struggle with self-esteem and social skills
Adolescence is a time for discovering your own identity and unique strengths. While living with ADHD may have some unique challenges, it doesn’t have to keep you from living the life you want and achieving your goals. Identify and develop your hidden talents. You can learn about how ADHD affects you and make plans and choices for managing your ADHD symptoms.