Are you worried that your teenager might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? It’s natural for parents to be concerned when they notice certain signs and symptoms that could be associated with ADHD. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 3.3 million adolescents aged 12-17 are diagnosed with ADHD. This widespread prevalence presents ongoing challenges for both teens and their parents.1
Our parent test is designed to offer an initial understanding and starting point to determine if your teen’s behavior aligns with the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. Learn more about ADHD treatment and MCAW’s personalized program for adolescents suffering with ADHD.
ADHD affects people of all ages, but symptoms often become more noticeable during the teenage years. The increased academic and social demands of adolescence can exacerbate the challenges associated with ADHD, making it crucial to identify and address the disorder as early as possible.
According to a six-year study by the CDC, ADHD is one of the most frequently diagnosed disorders among U.S. adolescents. Recognizing the high prevalence of ADHD in this age group is crucial for implementing timely interventions. By providing appropriate therapies, medication, and lifestyle changes, teenagers with ADHD can be empowered to reach their full potential and excel in various aspects of their lives.2
It’s essential to be aware of the common symptoms of ADHD in teens, which include:
These symptoms can vary in severity and may be more noticeable in certain situations, such as during classroom instruction or when trying to complete a task. Compulsions, including lying, can manifest as symptoms of ADHD in teens. Gain insights into the connection between lying and ADHD in teenagers here.
During adolescence, several factors contribute to the increased visibility and intensity of ADHD symptoms:
1. Hormonal Changes
The hormonal fluctuations associated with puberty can influence the severity of ADHD symptoms. These hormonal shifts can affect mood, focus, and impulsivity, making it harder for teens with ADHD to manage their symptoms effectively. A study shows in boys, excessive testosterone can raise the likelihood of ADHD symptoms by hindering the brain’s dopamine system development and causing it to function unevenly.3
2. Greater Independence
As teenagers gain more independence and autonomy, they are expected to take on additional responsibilities, such as managing their time, organizing their schoolwork, and making decisions about their social lives. These added responsibilities can be particularly challenging for teens with ADHD, who may already struggle with executive functioning skills.
3. Increased Social and Emotional Complexity
The social and emotional landscape of adolescence is more complex than in earlier years. Teens with ADHD may have difficulty navigating the nuances of friendships, romantic relationships, and peer dynamics due to their impulsivity, inattention, and communication challenges.
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Understanding these contributing elements can help provide a clearer picture of ADHD development in teens.
Research has shown that ADHD tends to run in families, suggesting a vital genetic component. Studies have identified several genes that may contribute to ADHD, with many of them involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This genetic predisposition means that a child with a parent or sibling who has ADHD is more likely to develop the disorder.4
The challenges faced by teens with ADHD can have a substantial effect on their academic achievements, social interactions, and overall quality of life. Without appropriate management, these teenagers may encounter heightened risks, including substance abuse and occupational struggles. Taking this parent test serves as the initial step in understanding your child’s situation and determining if they may require professional assistance.
Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness (MCAW) is dedicated to helping teens with ADHD and their families navigate these challenges with comprehensive and personalized treatment plans. With the right treatment, teens with ADHD can overcome the challenges they face and build a foundation for a successful, fulfilling future.