Teen ADHD Treatment
About Teen ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that begins in childhood but often goes undiagnosed until the teen years when inability to focus begins to impede progress at school. Unfortunately, there is no simple blood test or medical test that can be performed to diagnose the issue of teen ADHD. The diagnostic process is a multi-step ordeal and often highly subjective, determined by the parent’s reported experience with their child at home and at school and the physician’s interpretation of that experience. There is a spectrum of behavioral disorders with symptoms akin to ADHD symptoms – an issue that can leave parents bewildered as to how best to treat their child’s focus and hyperactivity issues.
Here, your teen will undergo behavioral counseling and receive medical care and medications that can help them get the symptoms under control while parents can gain the therapeutic and educational awareness to better help their child.
If you would like to learn more about the process of teen ADHD treatment and our program highlights here at Newport Academy, contact us today. We can help your child begin the healing process and move past the social and academic limitations imposed by teen ADHD.
What Is Teen ADHD?
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), there are certain criteria that must be met in order for a diagnosis of teen ADHD to be handed down. Because anxiety, depression and certain learning disabilities may manifest through similar symptoms, it’s important to keep an open mind and understand that the process of diagnosis may be one of trial and error.
Some of the basic symptoms exhibited by teens and children who have ADHD that is manifested through inattention and/or hyperactivity may include the following, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Inability to finish schoolwork assignments
- Inability to pay attention during class, often daydreaming
- Loses things easily or forgets about school assignments or home chores
- Inability to get organized
- Difficulty waiting their turn in class or at home
- Restless behavior, like fidgeting or being in constant motion
- Issues with listening, often talking when they should be following directions
- Talking too much and interrupting others
- Inability to play quietly
- Difficulty taking turns or waiting for their turn
- Acting and speaking without thinking
Types of Teen ADHD
There are three different types of ADHD, according to the DSM-IV: inattention, hyperactivity-Impulsivity, or a combination of the two. In order to obtain a diagnosis, six or more of symptoms for that particular style of ADHD must be present for a period of more than six months and at a rate higher than for most other teens their age. These symptoms must also create significant issues in two environments, usually home and school.
- Predominantly Inattentive ADHD. When it is difficult for your teen to stay organized at school or at home and he often falls behind in schoolwork, forgets commitments, and is often late or distracted no matter how many conversations or specific instructions are given, then predominantly inattentive ADHD may be the issue.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. If your teen is unable to sit still and constantly fidgets, talks incessantly, has a hard time listening, or has issues with impulsive decisions like interrupting or grabbing things from people, then predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may be the problem.
- Combined ADHD. When symptoms of both types of ADHD are present, then the combined type of ADHD may be the issue for your teen.
Statistics on Teen ADHD
Research on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most prolific fields of study when it comes to childhood and teenage medical and mental health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the facts and figures gathered on the subject include the following:
- More than two million American children and teenagers (between three and seven percent) have ADHD, though those estimates are higher in some samplings.
- Half of those teenagers with ADHD are never properly diagnosed.
- Teenage ADHD is two to three times more common in boys than girls.
- As many as 60 percent of all teenagers with ADHD will carry the condition with them on into adulthood.
More data was culled through parent surveys by the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and indicate that:
- A diagnosis of ADHD at one point in their childhood has been handed down to 9.5 percent of children between the ages of four and 17.
- ADHD diagnosis numbers increased about three percent each year between 1997 and 2006.
- The increase in ADHD diagnoses primarily occurred among teenagers as opposed to younger children.
- The rate of ADHD diagnoses varied significantly from state to state, with Nevada coming in at the lowest at 5.6 percent and North Carolina coming in at the highest at 15.6 percent.
Causes of Teen ADHD
The causes of teenage and childhood ADHD are as yet unknown, but researchers are currently exploring a number of different possibilities. Some of the possible causes that seem most likely according to recent studies include:
- Head or brain injury
- Exposure to chemicals or toxins in the environment
- Use of alcohol or tobacco by the mother during pregnancy
- Pre-term delivery or low birth weight
According to the National Resource Center on ADHD and the National Institute of Mental Health, there are a number of popular myths about the cause of ADHD in children and teens that have not been proven to be true by research. These causes include a childhood diet filled with too much sugar, watching too much TV, poverty, divorce, and emotional issues of parents and other siblings. Though these factors may exacerbate an existing ADHD diagnosis, there is no strong evidence to suggest that these issues alone can cause ADHD.
Disruptive Effects of Untreated ADHD
In some cases, you may not notice the effects of ADHD until your teenager hits middle school or high school. For those who primarily have issues with inattention, it may not be evident until academic issues develop at school. Teens who primarily struggle with hyperactivity may be restless and attempt to do too many things at once, choosing activities that offer quick gratification as opposed to those that take time and effort for delayed reward. Teens diagnosed with ADHD who do not undergo treatment will begin to experience more and more disruptions in their everyday life as a result of the disorder. Some of these include:
- Driving. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, teens who are diagnosed with ADHD are involved in four times as many car accidents and involved in more accidents that cause injury. They also get three times as many tickets for speeding than teens who are not diagnosed with ADHD.
- Academics. According to the Vital and Health Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July 2008, about four percent of children are diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability, though those with ADHD alone often have a hard time keeping up in school due to problems with focus, not listening and disorganization.
- Peer relationships. According to a research study published in the April 2006 edition of the medical journal Preventing Chronic Disease, parents of teens with ADHD report that they are 10 times as likely to have interpersonal issues that interfere with their friendships as compared to those with no history of ADHD.
- <em>Health. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, children and teens with ADHD were more likely to have a major injury, go to the hospital as an inpatient or outpatient, and visit the emergency room as compared to those of the same age without an ADHD diagnosis.
Economic Costs of Untreated ADHD
According to a number of studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in December of 2003, the economic cost associated with untreated ADHD can amount to far more than the cost of treatment itself. It is estimated that the annual societal cost of the disorder is between $36 billion and $52 billion.
The parents and extended family living with a loved one struggling with ADHD often see a significant impact to their finances as a result of missed work, lower productivity and other costs associated with fixingthe issues common with the disorder, averaging about $1,575 a year. It was also reported that 143.8 million days of productivity are lost each year across 10 surveyed countries as a result of ADHD.
Teen ADHD Treatment
Teen ADHD treatment should address the issues experienced by each individual child as a result of their personal struggle with the disorder. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), this means that your treatment program should:
- Recognize ADHD as a chronic and treatable disorder.
- Work with your teen’s therapist, teachers and you, the parents, to create a treatment plan that is effective on all fronts.
- Be able to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that offers individual therapy, family therapy, academic support and assistance, medication and consistent behavioral data gathering that monitors progress on treatment goals.
- Staff medical professionals who are qualified to prescribe medication that can ease your teen’s ADHD symptoms.
- Be able to reassess and recreate an effective treatment plan if necessary if treatment goals are not reached.
- Offer regular follow-ups to make sure that the treatment plan is being followed at home, at school, and in therapy and treatment.
Parents should always have a direct and active role in their teen’s ADHD treatment so they can help to reinforce the program at home and at their child’s school.
Use of Medication in Teen ADHD Treatment
According to the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report in September, 2005, 2.7 million children and teens between the ages of four and 17 diagnosed with ADHD (about 66 percent of those with an ADHD diagnosis) took medication in an effort to help quell the symptoms associated with the disorder.
For some teens, psychosocial treatment without medication is an effective response to teen ADHD; in other situations, true progress will only be made with pharmacological assistance. There are a number of different types of medications that can be used effectively, but the dose and combination of medications will take some time to find in each case. Additionally, as your teen grows and his or her body chemistry changes, their doses and medication schedule will need to be altered.
According to the National Resource Center on ADHD and the National Institute of Mental Health, between 70 and 80 percent of children on medication for ADHD are given stimulant medications and respond positively while the medication remains in their systems but often experience side effects as well.
Newport Academy Offers Teen ADHD Treatment
Newport Academy is located in Newport Beach, California. We provide a wide range of treatment options for teenagers who are struggling with disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with or without co-occurring issues like drug addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues. Using some of the most advanced treatment modalities available, we at Newport Academy can help your child and your family begin to understand the nature of his or her disorder and how to get it under control.
For more information about our ADHD treatment programs for teens, contact us today.