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Does My Teen Have ADHD? – Parent Test

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. If your teen needs teen ADHD treatment near Boston, contact MCAW today at 855.940.6229.

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Does My Teen Have ADHD? - Parent Test

If you suspect that your adolescent child is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, use this free quiz as a starting point for further investigation.

This online screening is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained medical professional, like a doctor or mental health professional, can help determine a diagnosis.

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ADHD in Teens

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

Symptoms of ADHD in Teens

It’s essential to be aware of the common symptoms of ADHD in teens, which include:

  • Difficulty staying focused and paying attention
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Fidgeting and restlessness
  • Impulsive decision-making and risk-taking behavior
  • Interrupting and talking excessively

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.

ADHD Assessment for Teens 

If you suspect your teen may have ADHD, it’s essential to seek a professional assessment from a trained medical professional. They will evaluate your child for symptoms and determine if they meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. 

What an ADHD assessment entails: 

  • In-depth medical and family history 
  • Physical exam to rule out other potential causes for symptoms 
  • Psychological evaluations, such as behavior rating scales and questionnaires 
  • Observations of your teen’s behavior in different settings, such as school or home  

At MCAW, we offer comprehensive ADHD assessments for teens that involve a detailed evaluation of your child’s behavior, mood, and cognitive abilities. Our team of experts will work with you and your teen to thoroughly assess their symptoms and provide a personalized treatment plan that addresses their unique needs.  

We aim to help teens manage their ADHD symptoms, improve their academic performance, and boost their overall well-being. Our ADHD treatment for teens near Boston can help. 

Why ADHD Symptoms Intensify in the Teenage Years

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.

Causes of ADHD in Teens

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.

Genetic Factors in ADHD Development

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

Environmental Influences on ADHD

Exposure to certain environmental factors has also been linked to an increased risk of ADHD. Some of these factors include:5 Prenatal exposure to tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs, which can affect brain development in the fetus. Exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead or pesticides, which can disrupt brain function and development. Complications during pregnancy or birth, including premature birth, low birth weight, or oxygen deprivation, which can have lasting effects on brain development. While these environmental factors do not guarantee the development of ADHD, they can increase the risk in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

Neurological Aspects of ADHD

ADHD has been associated with differences in brain structure and function. Some of these neurological characteristics include:
Reduced volume and activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions such as attention regulation, impulse control, and decision-making.6
Imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a crucial role in attention, motivation, and reward processing.
Atypical brain connectivity patterns, resulting in less efficient communication between various brain regions.
These neurological factors can help explain why individuals with ADHD experience difficulties in attention, impulse control, and executive functioning.

Treatment for ADHD in Teens at MCAW

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.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Data and statistics about ADHD.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Prevalence of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis and associated treatment among U.S. children and adolescents, 2016. MMWR Supplements, 71(Suppl 2), 1-26.
  3. Faraone, S. V., & Biederman, J. (2013). Neurobiology of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 57(11), 1215-1220.
  4. Faraone, S. V., Sergeant, J., Gillberg, C., & Biederman, J. (2003). The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: Is it an American condition? World Psychiatry, 2(2), 104-113.
  5. Mick, E., & Faraone, S. V. (2008). Genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 17(2), 261-284.
  6. Nigg, J. T., Lewis, K., Edinger, T., & Falk, M. (2012). Meta-analysis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, restriction diet, and synthetic food color additives. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(1), 86-97.