How is ADHD in Teens Treated?

Lori Smith

Many times, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is diagnosed in young, school-aged children, although sometimes, it is not discovered until they reach puberty. An onslaught of hormones can intensify symptoms of distractibility, impulsiveness, and difficulty concentrating. Treating ADHD in teens often includes prescription medication combined with psychological counseling. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise is often also recommended. Some parents may find that products containing caffeine have a calming effect for teenagers with ADHD.

Many ADHD teens are simply understimulated in conventional learning environments.
Many ADHD teens are simply understimulated in conventional learning environments.

Stimulant medications, or amphetamines, are often prescribed to treat ADHD in teens. The drug generally reduces occurrences of outbursts and impulsiveness and helps improve focus. Increased concentration for these individuals has the potential to create positive changes in the lives of those who suffer from the condition. Many teens who are properly treated and monitored by physicians find that the medication allows them to be more successful in school, personal relationships improve, and participation in social situations increases.

Treating ADHD in teens often includes prescription medication and psychological counseling.
Treating ADHD in teens often includes prescription medication and psychological counseling.

Side-effects to the drugs prescribed for this condition can be minimal for some, while others are more significantly affected. For example, many people find they have trouble falling asleep, or a loss of appetite can occur after taking medication to treat ADHD in teens. Others notice more troubling side-effects, such as depression or lethargy. Doctors usually begin treating the child or teenager with the lowest dose possible at first. If the medication is tolerated well, but ADHD symptoms are still present, the doctor may steadily increase the dosage until the desired effect is achieved.

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Preteens and teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often prescribed amphetamines.
Preteens and teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often prescribed amphetamines.

Some parents and doctors choose not to medicate teenagers with the condition. Instead, diet is monitored, exercise is encouraged, and a heavy emphasis on psychology and counseling is used as a method of treatment. Learning how to cope with the challenges of ADHD may provide an easier transition into adult life. Whether or not ADHD in teens is treated with medication, psychotherapy is generally considered instrumental in the success of managing the condition.

In addition to various treatment methods used to help control ADHD in teens, specialized learning environments actually use symptoms of the condition to the child's advantage. Many teens with ADHD have very creative, brilliant minds and find that they are able to learn and focus better in a challenging, unconventional teaching environment. These kids often thrive in a stimulating atmosphere, as opposed to a classroom setting where they are expected to sit still and listen to lectures for long periods of time. They also generally become bored very easily, which leads to distraction. Some parents find it advantageous to enroll their children in an alternative school that has experience in teaching teens with ADHD.

Teens with ADHD often have short attention spans.
Teens with ADHD often have short attention spans.

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