Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects over 3 million US children aged between 12 and 17. ADHD is a brain disorder that affects behavior. It is not the fault of the affected person.
The condition is characterized by inattentiveness and a lack of self-control. Children and teenagers with ADHD often face disciplinary consequences for their behavior. Parents and teachers may not be aware of ADHD in a child. It becomes more apparent as the child enters adolescence.
It can be hard to live with ADHD. In school, we are expected to stay quiet and behave well. This can be difficult for teens with ADHD. The disorder compromises focus and concentration. If a teacher does not understand the nature of ADHD, they might inappropriately discipline the student. The student with ADHD will see this as unfair. Further behavioral issues might then arise.
ADHD can complicate our relationships with other people. Many young people struggling with the disorder have difficulty getting along with others. Unless a friend, romantic partner, teacher, or parent understands ADHD, they might become easily annoyed or frustrated with the affected person.
There is no exact cure for ADHD. It is a brain disorder that is still being researched today. However, treatment programs are available. These programs help clients with ADHD manage their feelings and behavior. When ADHD is well-managed with treatment and medication, clients can live a happy and healthy life.
We provide ADHD treatment programs here at the New York Center for Living. Our adolescent services include residential care, where clients can live with others in similar circumstances. This creates a much-needed support network. We employ an expert team of mental health professionals. Our team can offer the most appropriate, evidence-based programs to our young clients.
Understanding Adolescent ADHD
Teenagers with ADHD have some of the same symptoms as children with ADHD – inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Some of the symptoms in children become less severe as they become a teenager. In teens, there is usually less fidgeting and restlessness. Still, teens with ADHD might struggle to stay on top of demands.
Many teens with this disorder receive the same type of education as those without. As more demands and responsibilities are given to teenagers, those with ADHD might fall behind. Stress can be hard to deal with when we have ADHD.
There are three main types of ADHD. These are:
A teen might exhibit any of the above ADHD types. Predominantly Inattentive ADHD is the most common type diagnosed in teenagers. Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD is seen more often in younger children. Combined ADHD features characteristics of both.
All teenagers will struggle with focus and attention at some point. They will also engage in risky behavior and may be disruptive at home or in the classroom. This is a natural part of development. When we enter adolescence, we become more independent. Still, we live under the care of real adults, which means our freedom is limited. As we mature, questions about identity arise, making adolescence a confusing and vulnerable time.
Teens with ADHD will display symptoms of the disorder that are more severe than those shown by a teen without ADHD. Some of these symptoms are:
- Lack of focus
- Easily distracted
- Fidgeting, restlessness
- Poor decision making
- Poor emotional regulation
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Sensitivity to rejection
What Is the Impact of ADHD?
ADHD can disrupt a teen’s life. All teenagers will face some issues with education, social life, and home life at some point. Teens with ADHD are subject to more significant problems in these areas than their peers.
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ADHD can make it challenging to perform well at school. The lack of focus and concentration make school demands harder. Difficulty completing tasks can make them fall behind with homework. Impulsivity and restlessness can cause disciplinary issues.
Adolescence is a time of increased vulnerability. Friendships and romantic relationships take on great importance in the teen years. It is natural for any teenager to face difficulty navigating their social life.
Teens with ADHD may have a harder time than others. There is increased peer pressure, which creates stress. Interest in dating and romance can be hard, especially considering the sensitivity to rejection that is characteristic of ADHD. Understanding and relating to others can be complicated and confusing.
Home life presents challenges for most teenagers. There is a newfound sense of independence when we enter the teenage years. This can cause conflict between children and parents. Rules, curfews, and responsibilities can all be a source of conflict. This conflict can be greater when a teen has ADHD. The desire for independence is sometimes met with resistance from parents. The evident lack of focus and concentration can make parents wary. Impulsivity in ADHD can also worry parents. Parents might end up yelling or arguing with their affected teens regularly. This can create a cycle of confrontational interactions.
What Risks Do Teens with ADHD Face?
Teenagers are known for poor decision making and mistakes. This is a natural part of learning one’s place in the world. Teenagers with ADHD face greater risks than their peers. Some of the risks facing teens with ADHD include:
- Poor academic performance
- Sexual promiscuity, STD’s, unwanted pregnancy
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Substance abuse
ADHD impacts our ability to regulate our behavior. As a result, teens with ADHD are at a higher risk of getting into trouble and harming their future. Substance abuse is one of the most common and harmful ways that teenagers are affected by ADHD. People with untreated ADHD are much more likely to be imprisoned than their peers.
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Teenagers with ADHD are up to three times more likely than their peers to abuse substances. Cannabis and nicotine are some of the popular drugs of choice for these teens. Research shows that almost one in four teens in treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) struggle with ADHD.
ADHD causes deep boredom, restlessness, impulsivity, and discomfort in the body. These symptoms can lead teens with the disorder to use substances. Many teens experiment with drugs, but the risk of abuse and addiction is higher in those with ADHD.
There is a high comorbidity rate among teens with ADHD. Many of those diagnosed also struggle with anxiety and depression. These can influence a teen’s decision to use substances. Substances such as alcohol and cannabis have a strong influence on our mental and emotional states. Compromised emotional self-regulation increases the risk of abuse when a teen with ADHD begins to use substances.
Treatment for ADHD at NYCFL
Trained professionals should always lead treatment programs for adolescents with ADHD. We have a team of mental health experts here at the New York Center for Living. If you decide to enter your teen into one of our programs, you can rest assured knowing we will provide them with high-quality, expert-led treatment and therapy.
ADHD can be effectively managed with therapy, counseling, and medication when necessary. At NYCFL, we offer a range of programs for teens with ADHD. We understand that ADHD often occurs other issues, such as substance abuse, depression, oppositional defiance, and anxiety.
We are diligent and dedicated to our care here at NYCFL. Teens can benefit from individual and family-based psychotherapy, peer support groups, and mind-body therapies such as yoga, mediation, and movement. We take a holistic, or ‘whole person’ to treatment. This means that every aspect of the client’s life is considered when we tailor their treatment program.
If your teen is struggling with ADHD and addiction, please reach out to us today. Our staff are happy to provide more information about our programs and what life is like at the center.
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