It is known that ADHD is a behavioral disorder, common in children and teens. Observing ADHD symptoms in teenagers will help diagnose this condition at the earliest and provide therapy for the same. The following article provides information about the various symptoms of this condition in teenagers.
ADHD also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a disorder which affects a person’s ability to sit still, concentrate, and pay attention. This condition is found prominently in children and toddlers, but the symptoms can also show up in adolescents as well. Studies have shown that about 8-10% of the school children are affected with this behavioral disorder, and the most affected are teenagers.
Teenage is a trying time not only for the teen, but for the family too. If the teen is affected by ADHD, then it may get worse. Diagnosing this condition is not easy, as many of the symptoms exhibited in this condition are ambiguous with the normal teen behavior of hyperactivity, irritability, and impulsiveness. In some cases, symptoms of ADHD also coexist with anxiety disorders and mood swings, which makes it even more difficult to detect. Drug abuse may also mimic the symptoms of ADHD teenagers.
The symptoms of this condition are classified across three categories of the disorder
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive
- Predominantly inattentive
- Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive and inattentive
Of the above, the third one is most common in children and toddlers, whereas the rest are common in teens and adults. Some of the common symptoms of ADHD in teenagers are:
- Lack of concentration and extreme restlessness (predominantly inattentive)
- Getting easily distracted (predominantly inattentive)
- Insomnia (predominantly hyperactive-impulsive)
- Difficulty in following instructions and organizing tasks (predominantly inattentive)
- Jumping from one task to another without finishing the first (predominantly inattentive)
- High levels of impulsiveness and aggression(predominantly hyperactive-impulsive)
- Incessant talking and/or interrupting conversations (predominantly hyperactive-impulsive)
- Poor listening ability (predominantly inattentive)
- Taking unwanted risks without assessing the consequences (predominantly hyperactive-impulsive)
- Extreme forgetfulness in daily activities (predominantly inattentive)
- Avoiding tasks and activities like homework (predominantly inattentive)
- Constant fidgeting with feet or hands (predominantly hyperactive-impulsive)
These symptoms are not attributed to any particular race or socioeconomic background and are observed in every population. Causes of ADHD are mostly factored by conditions like emotional trauma (like death or divorce), anxiety, smoking, drug abuse during pregnancy, grave effects of environmental toxins, and heredity.
Teenage is a phase when there are certain hormonal developments and changes which are managed by the endocrine and nervous system of the body. The neurotransmitters in the body help the brain to form, translate, store, and recall the thoughts. Two of the important neurotransmitters which are responsible for this function are dopamine and acetylcholine (responsible for controlling memory, attention, reasoning, perception, and judgment). Any fluctuation in their levels may alter the brain function. Such chemical imbalances may occur due to the aforementioned changes which may be related to anxiety and depression.
ADHD treatment involves both medical and psychological treatment. ADHD medications like methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and non-stimulant atomoxetine are used to treat the symptoms in teenagers. They help in calming down the person and enhance the neurotransmitter levels. Besides this teenagers are also advised to opt other options that include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and social skills training which pep up their confidence and socializing ability.
Teenage is a time, when many factors like peer pressure, parental pressure, and academic pressure strike the teen at the same time, and if the symptoms are ignored, it may lead to a severe emotional disturbance. Studies show that children with this condition are more likely to experiment with substances. Also, since these kids feel they are not popular and are ignored, they are more likely to start having sex at an early age. This may lead to certain unwelcome situations like teen pregnancies and obsessive compulsive disorders. Therefore, parents need to understand these symptoms and take the help of academic and psychological counseling for their children to help them overcome this roller coaster phase of their life.