All families are different, and the signs and symptoms of ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can show up differently. Sometimes, a child can show the classic symptoms of ADHD from a very young age and receive treatment almost immediately. Other times, the signs of ADHD can come on gradually. Some kids don’t show symptoms of ADHD until their teen or tween years.
If your teen son has started showing signs of ADHD, there are several options for finding help. At Help Your Teen Now, we regularly help families find the proper treatment for their teens. In this article, we will review some of the different things parents can do to find help for their teen son with ADHD. You are also welcome to contact us for more information.
What are the signs of ADHD in teens?
The symptoms of ADHD are similar for all ages, but the symptoms can appear differently based on the person’s age. Since there are certain behavioral expectations for different ages, ADHD is perceived differently at different ages.
For example, it’s typical for a 5-year-old to have trouble focusing for the same amount of time that a 15-year-old can focus. No one expects a young child to have the same attention span as a teenager. However, most people hope the teenager has an attention span beyond that of a typical 5-year-old.
In any situation, ADHD is defined as showing “a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” There are specific criteria that must be met before someone can be diagnosed with ADHD, and only a doctor can issue an official diagnosis.
Some of the typical signs of ADHD in teenagers are:
- Lacking attention to detail. This often shows up in schoolwork as careless mistakes or not following directions.
- Having trouble focusing for extended periods of time. This can apply to monotonous things like sitting in class and fun things like sporting activities.
- Need help listening and paying attention to what people are saying. It might seem like what you’re saying goes in one ear and out the other.
- Getting distracted before completing a project and failing to follow through with the task.With schoolwork, this often means starting an assignment, getting sidetracked, and forgetting to finish the assignment or turn it in.
- Need help with organization. Their things might get lost easily, or they can’t keep track of priorities.
- Disliking or altogether avoiding situations that require sustained attention. This can lead to skipping class, skipping practice, or trying to duck out of work.
- Losing things frequently. Teens with ADHD often misplace essential day-to-day items. They lack the organizational skills needed to keep track of their items.
- Get distracted easily. They get distracted during almost everything they do, even if it’s something they enjoy doing.
- They forget basic day-to-day activities. They might forget to brush their teeth or bring their lunch with them even though it’s something they do every day.
Finding help for teens with ADHD
If you suspect that your teen son might have ADHD, you must know how to find help. You can do some things at home to help your son learn to live with ADHD, but it’s best to learn from trained professionals.
Talk to your family physician.
Start by talking to your family physician about your concerns. Remember, only a doctor can diagnose ADHD. Talk through the symptoms and get your doctor’s opinion. They should be able to recommend some next steps and give you more options for treatment.
Sometimes, medication can be used to help curb the symptoms of ADHD. However, medication is not always needed. Your family physician should be able to talk you through some of the medical options so that you can determine if medication is a good fit for your teen.
Many teens also see progress when they combine talk therapy with medication or start with talk therapy and then see if medication is needed. Again, your family physician should be able to recommend multiple treatment options and should be able to work with your child’s therapist to come up with the best treatment plans.
Teens who have ADHD need to learn how to manage their symptoms. Their brain doesn’t work the same way as everyone else’s, so they should use some specific strategies. Talk to a counselor who is trained in working with teens with ADHD to start learning and practicing new coping strategies.
There are multiple options for therapy these days. In-person options are great, but there are also virtual therapy options now. If it’s tough for you to get your child to in-person therapy appointments, or if there are no local therapists on your insurance plan, check out virtual therapy.
If your teen son’s ADHD is extreme and he has trouble functioning in day-to-day life, he could benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools combine multiple aspects of therapy and skill-building with helping teens learn how to live with ADHD. Once they have mastered the basic skills and developed ongoing treatment plans, students return home to resume their regular life.
Treating teenage ADHD typically takes a long time and can last into adulthood. Fortunately, lots of teens with ADHD learn how to manage their symptoms and lead a productive and healthy life. Having ADHD isn’t the end of the world, and your teen isn’t alone. Medical professionals know a lot about ADHD now, and many treatment options exist. The earlier your teen gets treatment and learns how to manage his symptoms, the better.