Why should we be concerned about teens with ADHD? Teens who are physically hyperactive are often diagnosed while still in Primary School.
For those who are the "inattentive" type of ADDers, i.e your daydreamers, the symptoms of ADHD only become apparent at puberty. They are not physically hyperactive so they don't disrupt the class and cause the chaos that is usually associated with ADHD.
As with all ADDers the "inattentive" have extremely active brains, are usually very bright, lack social skills and spend a great deal of time living in their heads. Girls and women are more frequently the inattentive type though certainly not exclusively.
When ADDers, whether inattentive or hyperactive, reach puberty they have the added problems of raging hormones and peer pressure to contend with. ADDers are frequently 2 to 3 years ahead of their peer group intellectually but 2 to 3 years behind emotionally and as they become teenagers these differences become more profound.
Teenagers start to rebel against their parents and teachers and quite possibly start experimenting with smoking, drinking, drugs etc. For ADDers who are suffering from low self esteem and trying desperately to keep up with their peers this can lead to severe addiction problems.
ADDers tend to have addictive personalities and turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc to self medicate and calm their very busy brains as well as give themselves a sense of belonging, even though the company they are keeping is not ideal.
At LADD® we have also become aware of various age bands when ADDers start to crash.
- Grade 11 – Teachers and parents are starting to withdraw and the ADDers are expected to do more for themselves but have not acquired the necessary skills.
- 3rd year college or varsity – being bright they might have achieved several distinctions in matric but when they get to 3rd year the work load increases, they have doubts about why they have chosen a particular course and become de-motivated and unable to cope.
- 26 – 30 years of age. This is when they are leaving home (if Mom and Dad haven't got fed up and thrown them out before) getting married, moving into Junior Management etc. Now they have to become responsible for a partner, money issues, subordinate employees, deal with admin and they come unstuck.
- The 40s – this is when they move into middle and senior management, they have midlife crises, their children are becoming teens, and life is extremely stressful.
The earlier ADDers learn to manage their ADHD effectively and learn lifeskills such as:
- Learn how to learn
- Decision Making Skills
- Setting Goals
- Developing Core Principles
- Learn social skills that will enable them to function in the workplace
...... the less likely they are to crash, become addicts and instead they will live contented and productive lives.
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