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Does My Teen Have ADHD?

Sep 01, 2023
Does My Teen Have ADHD?
If your teen is restless, distracted, and forgetful, it can be from a number of things in their lives while maturing, but it may also be because of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Here’s how to know for certain.

If you have a teenager in the house, you know they can be a lot to handle. This is in part due to a major amount of changes they’re going through routinely as they grow, including changes in thinking skills, emotional changes, and dealing with peer pressure. Teen brains rely a lot more on the limbic system than adults (the prefrontal cortex controls more behavior over time), which while important for regulating blood sugar and heart rate, is also vital to forming memory and emotion. Simply put, teens are dealing with a lot.

But not all behaviors are simply teens being teens, so how do I know whether or not other problems are at play, like attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? To determine if your teen has ADHD, let’s examine how this condition affects teens, what symptoms to look for, and how it can be treated and managed.

If you live in the Woodlands, or Kingwood, Texas, areas and you think your adolescent may be struggling with ADHD or some other mental health disorder, Dr. Athi Venkatesh and his skilled medical staff at Kingwood Psychiatry can help. 

How ADHD affects teens

This disorder often starts in childhood, and the overall problems it presents are similar in adolescence. The categories of this illness vary depending on whether or not it affects inattentiveness, impulse control, or hyperactivity:

  • Predominantly inattentive: Teens with this one have problems focusing, following instructions, or finishing things they start
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive: Impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity are common with this type, making it difficult for them to wait for anything
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive: This is the most common type, combining issues with lack of focus and an tendency to be impulsive

Since it can already be difficult for teens to do things like remember assignments, concentrate, or get things done on time, ADHD can magnify these issues and encourage more impulsive actions.

Symptoms to look out for

Based on what we’ve already established, here are some things to look for in teenagers struggling with ADHD:

  • Becoming bored with classes and daily work
  • Forgetting assignments and losing books
  • Blurting out answers out of turn
  • Rushing through assignments
  • Being unable to sit still in class

ADHD can be more problematic for driving teens as they are more likely to have accidents than others their age, and other risk-taking activities are more common, as well as heavier drinking. In isolation, the signs may not seem unusual, but if they’re struggling with several of these symptoms, they should get some help.

Management and treatment

Coping with ADHD for teens and the family is a concerted effort with several components. Medications can be used to improve self-control, attention span, and reduce hyperactivity, while a combination of behavioral therapy, parent coaching, and school support help to better develop social and emotional skills. No one solution will fix the whole problem, and each case will present unique challenges for the family. Helping your teen will entail being involved in their treatment, working with them in school, and being warm and supportive.

Many things can lead to changes in your teen’s behavior, but if it is ADHD, we’re here to help. To start the process of helping your adolescent get the treatment they need, make an appointment with Dr. Venkatesh and Kingwood Psychiatry today.