ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Those with ADHD have differences in brain development and brain activity. This affects attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child in all aspects of daily function.

What Are the Signs of ADHD? DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD – ADD Resource Center

While it may seem that all Teens struggle at times to pay attention, listen and follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. But for Teens with ADHD it can nearly impossible to overcome these struggles.

Teens with ADHD may have signs from one, two, or all three of these categories:

  • Inattentive. Teens that have inattentive (easily distracted) ADHD have trouble focusing their attention. They find it is extremely difficult to concentrate and stay on task. They often struggle to listen to directions, missing important details. Many times struggling to complete tasks they have started. They may daydream or just appear to drift off. They are frequently absent-minded and lose track of their things.
  • Hyperactive. Teens that are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily loose interest. They often have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. Frequently they rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn’t. The behavior they display can be very disruptive – especially in school settings.
  • Impulsive. Teens that are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. Interrupting, pushing and grabbing are common behaviors. These teens find it very difficult to wait. Many times they do things without asking for permission and take things that don’t belong to them. They engage in risky behaviors – ignoring or not thinking about consequences. Their emotional reactions often appear too intense for the situation.

Parents, caregivers and teachers often notice signs of ADHD when a child is very young. These behaviors occur regularly and it is normal for little kids to be distractible, restless, impatient, or impulsive. The presence of these things doesn’t always mean that a child has ADHD.

Attention, activity, and self-control develop slowly little by little, as children grow. Children can learn these skills with help from parents and teachers. For those teens with ADHD they don’t fully develop the ability to pay attention, settle down, listen or wait their turn. When these things continue and begin to cause problems at home, disruptions at school, and problems with friends it may be ADHD.

Treatment of Teens with ADHD

Unfortunately there is no cure that currently exists for ADHD. Successful treatment focuses on symptom management. The symptoms of ADHD often may change as the child grows. Teens with ADHD require treatment to target the symptoms, frequently requiring treatment into adulthood.

Education is a key factor in any treatment of ADHD. This provides teens and their families to better understand the disorder and how to best minimize the symptoms. While education is important it alone is not an adequate treatment.

Medication plays a critical role in helping those teens with ADHD function at their full potential. For more information:

Behavioral intervention is another treatment approach for teens with ADHD:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and the treatment of ADHD is discussed here: