Helping Troubled Teens With ADD / ADHD

TEENS WITH ADD/ADHD MAY SHOW THE FOLLOWING TRAITS AND PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS:

Each type of ADHD comes with its own symptoms. A teen with ADD/ADHD will typically have six or more of these symptoms:

1. Inattention:

  • Trouble concentrating on tasks.
  • Difficulty following instructions.
  • Forgetful even in daily activities.
  • Easily bored.
  • Appears disorganized and has trouble planning tasks.
  • Appears not to listen even when spoken to directly.
  • Loses vital things needed for school or home activities.

2. Hyperactivity:

  • Constantly talking or moving.
  • Unable to sit still or constantly fidgeting.
  • Might have difficulty sleeping.

3. Impulsivity:

  • Difficulty waiting their turn.
  • Constantly interrupts others.
  • Acts impulsively without thinking things through.
  • Impatient and easily frustrated.

PARENTS WHOSE TEENS STRUGGLE WITH ADD/ADHD SHOULD KNOW THAT THIS IS PROBABLY HOW THEIR TEEN IS FEELING ON THE INSIDE:

Your teen’s behavior often affects your family life. Understanding what they are going through will motivate you to learn coping techniques to help them better manage their ADD/ADHD. Your troubled teen may be feeling:

  • Frustrated and embarrassed by their inability to control their behavior.
  • Socially isolated and different from their peers.
  • Struggling to make friends and develop relationships with peers.
  • Low self- esteem.
  • Depressed.
  • Anxious.
  • Insecure about their abilities.

KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADD and ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) both refer to a common disorder that affects the regulation of a specific set of brain functions and related behaviors. The disorder is characterized by a continuing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that affects a person’s daily functioning.

The difference between the two is that people with ADHD are hyperactive, making their behavior highly noticeable whereas those with ADD are not. However, the current correct medical terminology, ADHD, was adopted in 1994 and ADD is now considered an outdated term by some or a subtype of ADHD by others.

Although the exact cause of ADHD remains unknown, it is thought to be caused by chemical or structural differences in the brain that occur because of genetics. Other risk factors include exposure to environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol or cigarette smoking during pregnancy as well as brain injuries.

There are 3 main subtypes of ADHD, namely:

1. Inattentive ADHD (formerly ADD) – where the teen has trouble paying attention or focusing on tasks.

2. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD – where the teen behaves impulsively and is overactive.

3. Combined ADHD– where the teen has combined symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.

There’s no cure for ADD/ADHD and treatment involves a combination of medication (stimulants) and behavior therapy.

STATS ON ADD/ADHD IN THE UNITED STATES AMONG TEENS

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  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 3-5% or about 2 million teens in the US suffer from ADD or ADHD.
  • Teen boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as teen girls while non-Hispanic white teens have the highest prevalence of the disorder.
  • Boys and girls can display different ADHD symptoms with boys being more physically aggressive, impulsive and hyperactive (running or jumping) while girls tend to be more verbally aggressive, withdrawn and daydreamers.
  • Coexisting conditions are common in teens with ADHD. The most prevalent one is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which appears 41% of the time . Anxiety disorders may be present in as many as 10%-40% of teens with ADD/ADHD while 20-40% of teens with ADD/ADHD also develop conduct disorder.

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  • Teens with ADHD are at an increased risk of alcohol and substance abuse with 12%-24% of them likely to use these substances during their adolescence.
  • Driving poses a significant risk for teens who have ADHD as they are 2-4 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than their peers.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO

  1. Educate yourself about ADD/ADHD from books, professionals, support groups or forums to know how to best help your teen to cope with the disorder.
  2. Join a support group to get emotional support from people going through the same challenges.
  3. Seek professional help and treatment from a qualified counselor, doctor, therapist, therapeutic program or residential treatment center.

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TEENS WITH ADD/ADHD CAN FIND RELIEF BY:

  • Utilizing behavior therapy to help learn and strengthen positive behaviors while identifying and eliminating unwanted ones.
  • Participating in extracurricular activities. This will help teens socialize and build relationships with others as well as learn new skills.
  • Reducing or eliminating consumption of junk food and keeping regular meal times to maintain their energy levels.
  • Learning social skills that will help them read people’s body language or identify non-verbal cues to notice when they are at odds with others.
  • Keeping routines, lists or reminder notes for different tasks and activities in order to stay organized and get things done on time.

PARENTS OF TEENS WITH ADD/ADHD CAN HELP THEIR TEENS IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

  • Taking your teen for behavior therapy and going for training yourself to learn new skills so you can teach and guide your child to manage their behavior.
  • Teaching and setting consequences for bad behavior. This helps them learn why they should or shouldn’t do something.
  • Affirming and praising good behavior to build their self-esteem.
  • Helping them to develop social skills to interact with others.
  • Encouraging them to take part in co-curricular activities where they can have personal success and interact with their peers.
  • Setting a daily schedule and structured routine for your family with scheduled meal times, sleep and wake-up times.
  • Helping their teen to set up a reminder system to keep track of all they should do.

HELP YOUR TEEN NOW HELPS PARENTS OF TEENS WITH ADD/ADHD

Raising teens to become well-adjusted adults can be particularly challenging if they are struggling with ADD/ADHD. Such teens have special therapeutic, academic, and social needs that parents can’t meet by themselves.

When your teen is facing such unique struggles, you need a school with the right staff and facilities to help manage them. At Help Your Teen Now (HYTN), we’ve worked hard to cultivate strong relationships with reputable therapeutic centers and programs for troubled teens across the country. We know which ones to trust and we can help you navigate the different options to find one that best suits your teen’s individual needs.

We have helped numerous families to find the best setting for their teens and we know that having to send your teen away makes you feel guilty, anxious and overwhelmed. That is why we endeavor to provide excellent resources to help you make an informed decision. We will take care to explain the differences between various programs, the laws and regulations governing therapeutic centers in different states as well as provide insurance information to help you figure out how to meet the treatment costs.

Best of all, we offer all our services for free so you needn’t worry about incurring additional costs. With proper care and treatment, your teen can learn to manage their ADD/ ADHD and go on to have a fulfilling life. So contact HYTN today and let us point you in the right direction.

 

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