Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens Overview
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common
conditions of childhood and adolescence. Research studies differ about how
common this condition really is, but most experts agree that it affects 8%-10% of school-aged children. More than 40% of children with ADHD have ADHD as an
adolescent. If you are not actively parenting a
ADHD, chances are that you know someone who is dealing with this challenge.
Symptoms of ADHD in Teens
ADHD in childhood becomes apparent when the child exhibits symptoms of
hyperactivity, inability to sit still or pay attention, and impulsivity. In
teens, this condition may have symptoms of less obvious hyperactivity and more
of boredom, restlessness, and irritability. Adolescents with ADHD are also more
likely to have conflicts with peers and trouble effectively managing their anger. The degree of severity of every symptom varies widely. Some
adolescents with ADHD may need only mild interventions and guidance, while
others require much greater support to achieve optimal levels of function. While
doctors do not fully understand what causes ADHD, it is believed to be related
to both environmental triggers and inherited or genetic factors. ADHD tends to
run in families.
ADHD in Teenagers: Boys vs. Girls
ADHD is more common in boys than in girls. The predominantly hyperactive type
of the condition is four times more common in boys, while the inattentive type
is two times more common in boys than in girls. The diagnosis may be more
difficult to make in girls because of the higher subtlety of symptoms in girls.
Children of all ages can be affected, and the condition can persist into
adulthood. Medications are available that can treat many of the symptoms of
ADHD, although they do not "cure" the condition.
Trouble paying attention. People with ADHD are easily distracted and have a hard time focusing on any one task.
Trouble sitting still for even a short time. This is called hyperactivity. Children with ADHD may squirm, fidget, or run around at the wrong times. Teens and adults often feel restless and fidgety and are not able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.
Acting before thinking. People with ADHD may talk too loud, laugh too loud, or become angrier than the situation calls for. Children may not be able to wait for their turn or to share. This makes it hard for them to play with other children. Teens and adults seem to "leap before they look." They may make quick decisions that have a long-term impact on their lives. They may spend too much money or change jobs often.