- Are ADHD symptoms, such as poor time management skills, disorganization or lack of focus, which you thought your child would grow out of, still present now that he or she is a teen?
- Does your teen seem to struggle more than his or her peers with academics, organization and impulsivity?
- Are ADHD symptoms beginning to affect your teen’s confidence and peer relationships?
- Do you wish you had the tools, resources and support in place to help your teen be successful?
Take a moment to consider your environment. You might notice that a siren is ringing in the distance or a bird is chirping outside of your window. You likely take for granted that your brain quiets much of the stimuli happening around you so you can focus on the task at hand. However, for teens with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD), the constantly changing stimuli of the fast paced world are not so silent. Teens with ADHD have trouble filtering out the sensory overload they experience everyday and, as a result, have a hard time directing their attention.
Difficulty focusing and giving full attention to the task at hand can have academic, social and safety implications for teens with ADHD. Adolescents suffering from ADHD have more trouble maintaining healthy friendships and are four times more likely to commit traffic violations and/or be in a car accident than teens without ADHD.
Perhaps most common are the academic struggles that accompany adolescent ADHD. While ADHD often begins in childhood, the symptoms may not be evident until high school when schoolwork becomes more demanding and the expectations for independence increases. Your child, who got by okay in school until middle school or high school, may all of a sudden be experiencing difficulties and falling behind. The school curriculum has moved forward and become more complex, but your teen may not have developed the organizational and concentration skills needed to keep up with more demanding work.
You may wonder if your teen is indeed suffering from ADHD, or if there is another explanation for his or her struggles, such as a learning disability or difficulty managing stress. Our team at Orenstein Solutions can help both you and your teen understand the source of his or her symptoms and offer solutions for success.
Determining ADHD In Teens
Roughly half of teenagers with ADHD are diagnosed in childhood while the other half may continue to struggle into adolescence without a clear understanding of their symptoms. Unidentified ADHD can leave both teenagers and parents frustrated, confused and overwhelmed.
While ADHD in children generally manifests though hyperactivity, impulsivity and disorganization, by the teenage years, much of the hyperactive behaviors have diminished – leaving a lack of focus and organization as the classic symptoms. However, some impulsive and hyperactive behaviors may linger, and while not as apparent as they were in childhood, the consequences of such behaviors are more costly.
It can be difficult for parents to determine if their teenager truly is struggling with ADHD, if their behavior is just normal teenage angst, or if symptoms are signaling another, underlying issue. If your teen has been struggling with academics, disorganization, reckless behavior and lack of focus, a professional ADHD evaluation with one of our adolescent psychologists can offer you insight, information and relief.
And if your teen is struggling in school due to ADHD, our therapists can work with you, your teenager, and their educators to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to give your student the most productive learning environment possible for their specific needs.
With Teen ADHD Treatment Your Child Can Learn To Effectively Manage ADHD Symptoms
If it is determined that your teenager has ADHD, the licensed therapists at Orenstein Solutions can help you identify, understand and address the underlying causes of your teenager’s difficulties. There are simple, straightforward strategies that can be used to best address your teen’s specific needs. Your teen’s therapist can help your teen gain awareness of his or her destructive behaviors, their consequences, and offer options that promote more productive outcomes. Teens with ADHD often have low self-esteem as they grapple to understand why they behave certain ways and why everything seems to be harder for them than for others. In therapy, your teen can better understand who he or she is and begin making more informed and empowering choices, which can increase self-esteem and reduce impulsive or rebellious behaviors.
Your teen’s therapist can also help him or her with organization, time management and focus. Our therapists often work with the school system to develop academic accommodations for your teen and engage teachers and administration in strategies for academic success.
Your teen can learn to relax and express him or herself through activities, such as sports, journaling and other creative arts. With the right therapist and approach, ADHD in teens is very manageable. In therapy, your teen can learn to recognize and build upon his or her strengths and develop skills to move forward with greater focus, confidence and success.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
I am apprehensive that teen ADHD treatment will involve medication.
While medication has been proven to effectively help mitigate and manage ADHD symptoms and may be recommended for your teen, it is not the only treatment option. If you feel that medication is too invasive, there are many other effective tools, techniques and strategies that do not include medication.
Our experienced therapist specializes in teen ADHD treatment, and our board certified child psychiatrist can provide you with education and treatment options so you can make the most informed decision for your teen. In initial sessions, your teen can begin by setting realistic goals and addressing underlying issues, such as poor self-esteem, academic struggles and organizational difficulties. Your teen’s therapist can help implement strategies to mitigate ADHD symptoms, as well as help your teen explore the emotional issues that often arise for teens with ADHD. If other treatment strategies are not working, we can revisit the medication option. It’s important to note, however, that ADHD in teens is often best treated when medication is used in combination with therapy.
I think treatment is necessary for my teen to be successful, but he or she refuses to try therapy.
Many teenagers recoil at the idea of therapy. They may believe that they don’t need help, feel uncomfortable sharing their struggles with a stranger, or are reluctant to try something new. However, by thoughtfully and gently sharing your concerns with your teen, he or she may become more open to the idea of therapy. Explain to your teen that therapy provides an opportunity for him or her to better understand why they seem to struggle more than their peers and to learn ways to more effectively engage in school and in relationships. Often, an initial session with the right therapist will alleviate teenage resistance to working with a licensed therapist and can help your teen view therapy as a helpful, supportive and valuable resource, rather than a threat.
I think that my teenager has ADHD and could benefit from treatment. I’ve heard, however, that therapy is expensive and can take a long time.
It can be helpful to think about ADHD treatment as an investment in your teenager’s immediate and long-term wellbeing, as well as an investment in yourself and your family. Teenagers are dynamic, and teens with ADHD can be even more challenging to understand and relate to, which can create conflict at home and at school. Potential behavior and performance issues, resulting from your teen’s academic, social and behavioral struggles, may also increase stress for your child, teachers and your family. Investing in therapy allows your teen the opportunity to develop effective tools to manage ADHD symptoms now and throughout his or her life.
We provide services in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. We invite you to call us for a free 15-minute consultation to discuss any questions you have about ADHD in teens, your teen’s specific needs and our practice.