Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, formerly known as attention deficit disorder, is a condition that affects how someone can sit still, pay attention and focus on a task. It is most often diagnosed during childhood, but sometimes it isn't diagnosed until the teenage years. According to WebMD, 8 to 10 percent of children are diagnosed with some form of ADHD, and the condition affects more boys than girls. The signs and symptoms of ADHD are similar in children and teens. ADHD can interrupt a teen's life severely, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated as soon as the signs and symptoms appear.
Teens with ADHD are inattentive. They get bored with repeating the same task over and over again, and they will lose focus quickly. They'll jump from one task to another before the first task is finished, and they tend to lose or forget homework. These teens might also lose or forget objects at both home and school. They might also seem disorganized. These symptoms tend to cause problems in school, since they directly affect learning ability. Since ADHD affects the ability to focus, it also impacts a teen's chances of taking part in clubs and sports.
The most common symptom of ADHD is hyperactivity. Teens with ADHD have problems with sitting still and seem to constantly be "on the go." This can also affect conversation, since the hyperactivity causes teens to interrupt others while speaking and speak when it is inappropriate, such as during class or in the middle of a speech.
Impulsivity causes teens to interrupt others in conversation, speak at inappropriate times or do things that are inappropriate and not completely thought out. This can also lead to angry outbursts, since these teens have problems with emotional overload and express themselves without taking the time to calm down or think about the situation more. According to WebMD, teens with ADHD are twice as likely to get into an accident than teens without since they tend to participate in thrill-seeking behaviors and have poor judgment at times.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a combination of behavioral therapy and medication to treat ADHD. These can increase alertness, help focus and lead to better performance in school. Parents can help by keeping a schedule and routine, which allows teens to know what is expected of them and gives clear expectations. It also helps to assist with organizing and completing homework. Parents should also stay calm when disciplining and use effective punishments.