Teenagers With ADHD
If you are parenting a teenager, it is not always easy to deal with him. If your teen is also suffering from ADHD, you may notice violent behavior, depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, driving problems and more. For you, as a parent, it can be overwhelming; it can lead to countless arguments, communication issues and constant worries about his safety. There are a few ways you can decrease or avoid these problems and help your teen transition and become a successful, well-balanced young adult.
What If Your Teen Refuses Therapy
If your teenager uses medications and follows a psychotherapy program, he may start refusing the treatment. Those hormonal changes can translate into serious behavioral changes, and your teen will try to be different, and do the opposite of what he has been told to do, to protest and rebel.
Talk to the doctor if it is suitable to put your teen on a long-acting medication for ADHD management, so it doesn’t have to be taken often or while at school. Keep in mind that as the body weight and physiology changes, the dosage of the ADHD drugs may also need to be adjusted. The psychotherapist may also adjust the length or frequency of the sessions.
Influenced by Other Teens?
Teenagers often have a strong need to “fit in” and be accepted by their peer group. Since ADHD is associated with learning problems, self-esteem issues, irritability and hyperactivity, an ADHD sufferer may be more susceptible to peer pressure. This can lead to depression, a higher risk to alcohol or other substance abuse. To avoid problems, follow your teen’s activities; don’t allow him too much time unsupervised (especially during the evening, night and weekend, when most people experiment with drugs and alcohol). Help your teen stay busy and involved in healthy activities such as sports, arts, or other activities that are supervised by an adult.
ADHD is also linked with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Make sure you know the symptoms of these conditions, and seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you notice new symptoms.
ADHD Typically Improves with Age
In many cases, adults will not need to continue medication. Most ADHD boys don’t experience more difficulty than those without ADHD, although you need to pay attention to those special needs described above.
Understand the difference between typical teen behavior and the warning signs that your teen is troubled. For example, teens will try to keep up with fashion and change their appearance. This is a normal, typical reaction. Don’t get worried unless the change in appearance is associated with problems at school or you see evidence of alcohol/drug abuse, self-harm or extreme weight changes.
Does your teen argue more than usual or have rebellious behavior? Again, this is ok, as long as there is no constant escalation of these arguments, no associated violence, getting into fights, or running from home or school.