Can adhd develop in teenage years

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

For further information on Teens with ADHD, please see the following resources:

  • Teens with ADHD
  • Children and Adults with ADHD

Signs & Treatments in Adolescence

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.

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
  • Flexibility
  • 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)

[Take the ADHD Self-Test for Girls]

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. 1,2 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.3 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.4

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 Health5 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 habitual abuse
  • 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.6

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 7  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.8

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.910

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.

Comorbid Conditions in Teens with ADHD

Anxiety and mood disorders are common comorbid conditions that often appear alongside ADHD for the first time between the ages of 8 and 12. Adolescents with ADHD are at higher risk of developing them.

Common signs of depression and anxiety in teens include the following:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fixation on past failures and self-blame
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Changes in appetite
  • Self-harm such as cutting or burning

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.

[Could Your Teen Have ODD? Take This Self-Test]

Risks Specific to Teen Girls with ADHD: Pregnancy, STDs, and Depression

Because girls with ADHD may appear less symptomatic and internalize their problems, they often suffer silently. In the early teen years, girls with ADHD have more academic problems, more aggressive behavior, higher rates of depression, and earlier signs of substance-related problems than do their neurotypical peers. Some studies suggest that girls with ADHD may be at greater risk for self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and unplanned pregnancy than are girls without the disorder. These findings hold true even after adjusting for factors such as stimulant medication use, IQ, and age at diagnosis.11

The hormones that lead to rebellion and risky behavior in neurotypical teenagers can have profound effects on girls with ADHD, who typically start puberty between the ages 9 and 11, and begin menstruating between the ages of 11 and 14. Hormonal changes can affect how ADHD medication is metabolized; medication and dosing schedules may need frequent adjustment in the teen years.

By the age of 20, about 75 percent of American teens have had sexual intercourse. That number is likely higher for teens with ADHD; numerous studies have linked ADHD to a higher rate of teen pregnancy, promiscuity, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

One recent study of more than 7,500 adolescents with ADHD and 30,000 without ADHD in Taiwan found that participants with ADHD became pregnant younger, more frequently, and had a higher risk for early pregnancy than did their neurotypical counterparts.12

School is often a source of intense frustration and shame for girls with ADHD, especially if their symptoms are misunderstood or discounted at school. Teacher education is key, as is instituting a 504 plan or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address common challenges in middle and high school.

[Download This Free Resource: Evaluate Your Teens Emotional Control]

Treatment for ADHD Symptoms in Teens

ADHD symptoms in teens are treated with medication, behavior therapy, and/or through changes to diet and nutritional supplements. Regular exercise and sufficient sleep are also very important.

Treatment plans often become more challenging during the teen years as physical growth, metabolism, hormones, and frequently changing schedules impact daily life. If your child is already diagnosed with ADHD and has been taking medication for several years, expect dosage adjustments to address hormonal changes and any new tolerance to long-acting medication. New medication side effects may also emerge alongside the acne and drama so common during the teen years.

Though ADHD treatment with medication is still the most effective way to achieve symptom control in adolescence, it’s not unusual for teens with ADHD to rebel by refusing to take their medication during high school. This refusal may be an unhealthy attempt to establish independence or a response to feeling “controlled.”

Reports show that teens receiving ADHD treatment say that stimulant medications largely trigger positive effects on attention, behavior, and social function. At the same time, less than one-half of teens say they want to continue taking medication due to side effects like lack of appetite and sleep problems, and stigma associated with treatment. Effective dosing of stimulant medications for ADHD is not determined by age, weight, or symptom severity. It’s important for prescribers to carefully find the dose and timing that best fits the sensitivity of the individual’s body chemistry and schedule of activities.

Self-conscious teenagers often resist anything that makes them feel different — like receiving treatment for ADHD. Medication for them becomes a tangible manifestation of their differences.

Teens and young adults in most states have a legal right to refuse treatment after age 18. However, parents also have a right to insist that their children accept necessary medical attention. Resolving that conflict involves managing ADHD with medication, making good decisions, and facing the issues that plague so many from the age of 13 to about 25.

If your adolescent suddenly refuses treatment, listen to and discuss his concerns, then make adjustments that work for both of you. He could be merely forgetting to take his medication — or he could be attempting to deny his ADHD. If your teen insists on not taking medication, propose a trial period without medication wherein you’ll keep a scorecard for schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and relationships to assess any upward or downward movement.

One of the most important lessons parents can teach their teens is that, when they make a treatment decision for themselves, they also decide for everyone around them. That is particularly true when it comes to medicating correctly for diagnosed ADHD.

Learn more about the various medications available to treat ADHD, in our extensive ADHD medication guide.

How Can I Help My Teenager with ADHD?

Teenagers with ADHD face more peer rejection, frustration, and isolation than do neurotypical adolescents. They may take out these frustrations at home, which requires parents to practice extra patience and keep in mind that teens with ADHD need support — not criticism. No amount of nagging and pleading will transform a teen with ADHD into a neurotypical adolescent; a family’s time is better spent teaching executive function skills.

This process starts with accepting the realities of teen brain development. Brain chemistry changes dramatically during adolescence and puberty, causing a marked spike in emotional turmoil. Their minds are changing daily; and so, too, should coping strategies.

Success begins with realistic goals. Even with school support and a great IEP, tutoring help, behavior therapy, and the right medication at the right dose, most teens will struggle at times. Unrealistic expectations are a shortcut to failure.

Instead, experts recommend that parents do the following:

  • Teach life skills gradually. Take baby steps back from scheduling, organizing, and planning your child’s life. Teach life skills consciously, step by step.
  • Stay on top of your child’s schedule. Insist on knowing who your teen is with and where he’s going. Make sure rules (“Call to let us know where you’ll be if your plans change”) and consequences are clear, and stick to them.
  • Help him understand when to ask for help. Help your child understand that knowing when to ask for advice is a sign of greater maturity than repeating the same mistakes.
  • Avoid overreactions to overreactions. The neurological system in teens with ADHD is delayed. Your teen is still a “work in progress.” When mistakes happen, stay involved and know that this, too, shall pass.

For more discipline tips and strategies, read “Hormones, High School, and ADHD: A Parent’s Guide.”

[Read: Teens with ADHD Need Scaffolds and Structure: How Not to Helicopter Parent]

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3 Jogsan YA (2013). Emotional maturity and adjustment in ADHD children. J Psychol Psychother 3: 114. doi:10.4172/2161-0487.1000114

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6Moss CM, Metzger KB, Carey ME, Blum NJ, Curry AE, Power TJ. (2020). Chronic care for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: clinical management from childhood through adolescence. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 2020;41 Suppl 2S:S99-S10.

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whether, causes, symptoms, treatment, diagnosis

In 2017, scientists discovered that in adults, symptoms associated with late-onset attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may actually be the result of other disorders. At the same time, in 20% of adults with possible ADHD, as the study showed, they simply could not detect the corresponding symptoms in childhood.



As Florida International University (FIU) clinical psychologist Margaret Sibley points out, the ADHD epidemic in adults is easy to disprove with access to detailed case histories. Specialists found a large number of patients in whom it would be possible to diagnose ADHD acquired at a later age, however, after examining the cases more carefully, scientists saw that the symptoms of this disorder in adults could be traced back to childhood or could be explained by other problems (for example, psychological trauma or depressive symptoms that also affect concentration). Briefly, the results of the study were reported in a press release on the website of Florida International University. But before we talk about it, a brief digression into the concept of ADHD. nine0003

What is ADHD

ADHD is a neurological behavioral disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by difficulty concentrating and maintaining attention, excessive motor activity (hyperactivity) and intemperance of words and gestures (impulsivity). Naturally, ADHD in adults is a fairly common case, and in recent years the frequency of diagnoses has increased, and at least because in 30-70% of cases, patients received insufficient quality treatment at a young age. nine0003

Symptoms of ADHD in adults

  • Inability to focus on details, inattention errors
  • Resistance to engagement with tasks, avoidance or active resistance
  • Often loses things
  • Easy distractibility to extraneous stimuli or thoughts ("hovering" in one's thoughts)
  • Daily forgetfulness on a regular basis

6 months):

  • Constant movements in the hands, feet, fidgeting in a chair
  • Getting up from a seat
  • Inability to sit still
  • Inability to spend time quietly
  • Constantly on the move, as if “wound up”, as if “attached the engine”
  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Answers the question without listening to the question itself
  • Difficulty waiting his turn
  • Interrupts others, interferes in other people's affairs other people without permission

These symptoms of ADHD in adults must reach a degree of severity that interferes with learning, communication, work. They should be observed both at home and in other settings. They should be noticed not only by relatives, but also by those around them. nine0003

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults

In general, the manifestations of ADHD in children and adults do not differ, but there are some peculiarities.

Firstly, if a child did not have ADHD, then an adult will not develop this disease either. Therefore, ADHD in adults is not a separate disease, but disorders that have persisted since childhood and were simply triggered in treatment.

Secondly, in adults with ADHD, attention disorders prevail over manifestations of hyperactivity. It is difficult for such people to concentrate and hold attention, so many activities that require attention and complete immersion can be difficult for them. Hyperactivity can be manifested by restlessness, so sedentary, sedentary work is not suitable for them. Impulsivity can lead to conflicts in the family and at work. nine0003

And thirdly, the presence of ADHD in adulthood requires a thorough examination to rule out other disorders, incl. mental illness.

Adult ADHD Study

In the Adult ADHD Study, the authors studied 239 participants every two years for 15 years (from age 10 to age 25). The researchers used evidence of ADHD symptoms from parents, teachers, and participants themselves, as well as other psychiatric disorders, participants' substance use, etc. The researchers tracked the context of symptom onset and time. nine0003

As a result, experts came to the conclusion that more than 80% of adults with ADHD acquired at a later age may not actually have such a syndrome (the diagnosis may be erroneously made on the basis of symptoms associated with other disorders), and 20% of them just wasn't defined at an early age.

According to Sibley, the results of the adult ADHD study showed that clinicians need to be more careful about other factors and the patient's medical history before diagnosing late-onset ADHD and treating it appropriately. In addition to those described above, possible explanations for the occurrence of symptoms characteristic of ADHD include traumatic brain injury, environmental stressors, side effects from medications, or somatic diseases. nine0003

Sibley notes that more research is needed.

Scientific work was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

symptoms and principles of behavior correction.

ADHD in adolescents: symptoms and principles of behavior modification.

Gimranov Rinat Fazylzhanovich
Neurologist, neurophysiologist, experience - 33 years;
Professor of Neurology, MD;
Clinic for Rehabilitation Neurology. nine0016 About the author

Publication date: August 9, 2019

Updated: March 28, 2022

ADHD is one of the most common behavioral disorders in children. In the world, they suffer from 8 to 10%. It is widely believed that this is an exclusively childhood disease, supposedly by the age of 12-13 the child outgrows it. However, it is not.

The hormonal explosion that occurs during adolescence, due to iodine deficiency, exacerbates the main symptoms of ADHD: anxiety, difficulty concentrating. In this case, the disease shows new signs, unnoticed before. nineOl000 In adolescents, two types of ADHD are conditionally distinguished depending on the symptoms: attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder, each with its own symptoms.

At the same time, the signs of each species appear in large numbers. nine0003

You cannot make a diagnosis based on just one or two symptoms. Doctors believe that it is necessary to identify at least 6 signs in order to say that the child is not healthy.

Signs of hyperactivity in a teenager:

  • Forgetfulness.
  • Absentmindedness. Because of this, such children often lose important little things: keys, glasses, change of shoes or things at school, phones.
  • Easily distracted from an important task.
  • Inattention to detail, negligence, due to which many errors are made. nine0024
  • Difficulty concentrating on the conditions of the game or task, especially teamwork.
  • They don't finish what they started.
  • Constantly changing hobbies. However, there are no significant achievements in any of them.
  • Disorganization.
  • Constant delays.
  • Try to avoid difficult tasks that require prolonged concentration. They do not like to perform large creative tasks, make graphs and tables.

Avoid any activity that requires concentration and thoughtfulness. Because they do not possess such skills, it is difficult to master them. nine0003

This diagnosis can be made if the child has at least 6 signs from the following list:

  • Constant movements of the arms and legs, even in moments of relative rest (for example, jerking his leg during a lesson or doing homework).
  • Restlessness, desire to jump up and change location at the wrong moment.
  • It is difficult to do work that requires perseverance. This applies to both intellectual labor and physical labor.
  • Excessive talkativeness. It is difficult for a teenager to remain silent even in an inappropriate situation for conversations. nine0024
  • The habit of speaking without listening to the interlocutor. For example, answering a teacher's question without listening to it to the end.
  • Often interrupts interlocutors. Does not listen and does not remember the information addressed to him.
  • Intervenes in other people's conversations and games.
  • Impulsiveness turning into resentment and even aggressiveness.

These symptoms significantly complicate the life of a teenager, prevent him from integrating into society, from achieving success in business and studies. nine0003

The intelligence of sick children is usually average or above average. But they study poorly and constantly conflict with classmates. It is much more difficult for them to do what is considered simple for their peers, they have to constantly control their actions in order to build relationships with other people.

Depression is often the result of hyperactivity in adolescence.

Causes of ADHD in adolescents

The cause of ADHD in children and adolescents is changes in the volume of certain parts of the brain. The basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex in such children occupy a smaller volume than in the average. This anomaly is manifested due to:

  • Genetic predisposition. Changes in the structure of the brain are inherited from close relatives.
  • Maternal lifestyle during pregnancy. If a woman drinks alcoholic beverages, smokes, is often nervous and eats improperly while carrying a fetus, then the chance of having a child with ADHD increases dramatically.

Injuries at birth or in early childhood, suffered in the first months of infection, also affect the development of brain structure later. nine0003

In addition, children with these changes often have concomitant problems that prevent them from leading a normal life:

  • Poor learning abilities with a fairly high level of intelligence. Often accompanied by increased anxiety and hysteria.
  • Poor learning abilities with a sufficiently high level of intelligence.
  • A third of children have an oppositional defiant or conduct disorder.
  • Every fifth person is diagnosed with some other serious disorder of the nervous system or psyche. Most often it is depression or bipolar disorder. nine0024

Poor learning ability with a sufficiently high level of intelligence.

Treating Adolescents with ADHD

Many people leave ADHD untreated, hoping that with age the child will outgrow the symptoms and become "normal".

If a teenager has symptoms of ADHD, the doctor will decide how to treat the problem, what methods of correction to use.

Most doctors consider an integrated approach that combines medication, psychological and educational-correctional measures to be effective. nine0003

  • Drugs, stimulants and non-stimulants that activate the brain, help to better control impulses, improve attention and memory. Finding the perfect drug is difficult. They are prescribed depending on the age, gender, weight, characteristics of the hormonal background of a person. Many have a prolonged action, they are allowed to be taken less frequently, which facilitates therapy. Do not trust a teenager to take medication himself, because due to the nature of the disease, he will forget to do it on time. nine0024
  • Diet enhances attention and also reduces nervousness. Design your diet to include more protein-rich, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat foods. Eliminate harmful products, artificial and chemical origin.

Psychotherapy is the most useful part of the treatment, as a good psychotherapist will help the child understand what is happening to him, understand the characteristics of his body, teach him to live with them.