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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens Overview

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavior disorder that is characterized by hyperactivity or restlessness, impulsivity, and/or distractibility that interfere with the person's life in some way.
  • ADHD is common, affecting millions of teens.
  • While there is no single cause of ADHD, there are many factors that increase the risk of developing the disorder.
  • Symptoms of ADHD in teens tend to be somewhat different compared to the disorder in younger children or in adults.
  • There can be some differences between teenage boys and girls in their symptoms of ADHD.
  • If a medical or mental-health professional suspects that a teen has ADHD, he or she will likely undergo an extensive medical interview and physical examination.
  • Treatment of ADHD usually involves some combination of organizational and/or educational changes, psychotherapy, and/or medication.
  • As anything that is ingested carries risk of side effects, it is important for the ADHD teen and his or her family to work closely with the prescribing doctor to decide whether treatment with medications is an appropriate intervention.
  • There are many possible complications associated with ADHD, particularly if it remains untreated.
  • ADHD usually requires treatment for it to be adequately managed.
  • There are many support groups for people who suffer from ADHD.

ADHD in Teens Definition and Types

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that involves abnormal thought processing. The symptoms of this disorder have been described in the known medical literature for at least the past 200 years. It is characterized by problems focusing, sitting still, and/or controlling impulses. It can have a significantly negative impact on the sufferer's ability to make and keep friends and other relationships and do well in school, at work, and/or the community in general.

Types of ADHD in Teens

ADHD is understood as either one of three types: the primarily inattentive type, the primarily impulsive/hyperactive type, and the combined type. The primarily inattentive type is characterized by the person having great difficulty listening, focusing, organizing his or herself, and completing tasks but not having recent significant trouble managing their impulses or activity level. The primarily impulsive/hyperactive type of ADHD tends to result in the opposite set of symptoms compared to the inattentive type, in that the person has not had recent significant attention problems but has great trouble sitting still, waiting their turn to talk, and managing their impulses. The individual who has the combined type of ADHD struggles with some aspects of inattention, impulsivity, and of hyperactivity.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/3/2015


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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens:

ADHD in Teens - Treatment

What treatment have you tried for your teen's ADHD?

ADHD in Teens - Symptoms and Signs

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ADHD: Tests for Other Disorders

The child who is being evaluated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be evaluated for other disorders associated with the condition, such as learning or behavior disorders. The child may be asked questions (verbal tests) or may be given written tests to evaluate his or her intellectual abilities.


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