ADHD—Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—is a condition that begins in childhood but often goes undiagnosed until the teen years. The diagnostic process to determine ADHD is highly complicated and subjective. There is a spectrum of behavioral disorders with symptoms akin to ADHD symptoms.
One of the best ways to determine whether or not teen ADHD is the pervasive issue is to undergo teen ADHD treatment.
In treatment, your teen will undergo behavioral counseling and receive medical care. Also, parents can gain the therapeutic and educational awareness to better help their child.
What Is Teen ADHD?
There are certain criteria that must be met in order for a diagnosis of teen ADHD to be determined. Anxiety, depression and certain learning disabilities may manifest through similar symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to understand that the process of diagnosis may be difficult.
Some of the basic symptoms exhibited by teens and children who have ADHD 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 ADHD
There are three different types of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity-Impulsivity, or a combination. In order to obtain a diagnosis, six or more of symptoms must be present for a period of more than six months. 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. He often falls behind in schoolwork, forgets commitments, and is late or distracted, despite how many conversations or specific instructions are given. As a result, predominantly inattentive ADHD may be the issue.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. If your teen is unable to sit still and constantly fidgets, talks incessantly, or has a hard time listening, 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
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most researched topics of teenage medical and mental health. Some of the facts and figures gathered on the subject include the following:
- More than two million American children and teenagers have ADHD.
- Half of the 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.
Causes of Teen ADHD
The causes of teenage and childhood ADHD are as of 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
There are a number of popular myths about ADHD and the causes 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.
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. Teens diagnosed with ADHD who do not undergo treatment will begin to experience more disruptions in their everyday life as a result of the disorder. Some of these include:
- Driving. 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. 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. 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.
- 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 fixing the 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.
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.
Newport Academy Offers Teen ADHD Treatment
Newport Academy can provide holistic treatment for the signs and symptoms of ADHD.
For more information about our ADHD treatment programs for teens, contact us today.