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ADHD in Teens (cont.)

ADHD in Teens Diagnosis and Treatment

Many health care professionals may help diagnose and treat individuals with ADHD: licensed mental health therapists, pediatricians, family physicians, or other primary care professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, licensed counselors, and social workers. If one of these professionals suspects that a teen has ADHD, he or she will likely undergo an extensive medical interview and physical examination. As part of this examination, the teen may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self test to help assess the risk of ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD may be associated with a number of other medical or mental health conditions, or can be a side effect of various medications. For this reason, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed.

Well recognized diagnostic criteria for ADHD are as follows:

  • Six or more symptoms of inattention that last for at least 6 months, is not adaptive and not consistent with the sufferer's developmental level, or
  • Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity for at least 6 months, is not adaptive and not consistent with the sufferer's developmental level
  • Some of the above symptoms that caused problems occurred before the age of 7 years
  • Problems from the symptoms take place in at least two settings (for example, school, home, work, community)
  • Clear clinically significant problems in social, academic, or occupational functioning
  • ADHD symptoms do not only occur as part of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorder, and are not better explained by another mental health disorder.

ADHD in Teens Treatment

There are a variety of treatments available for managing ADHD, including several effective treatment medications, educational or vocational interventions, nutritional interventions, as well as specific forms of psychotherapy.

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