ADHD in adolescents

Written by: Dr. José Casas Rivero
Edited by: Top Doctors®

ADHD is a disorder that affects between 5 and 10% of the child-juvenile population and accounts for between 20 and 40% of consultations in the psychiatric services for minors.

If a hyperactive patient needs treatment, the sooner he gets it, the better his evolution. Well-treated boys from infancy reach adolescence with behaviors and developments similar to the rest of adolescents. On the other hand, in the untreated, there is a fivefold increase in the possibility of getting into trouble , of abusing drugs, alcohol, school failure, fighting ....

For this reason, patients with ADHD without diagnosis often arrive in adolescence with added complications, such as toxic abuse, school failure or problems in family coexistence. All these symptoms usually make it difficult to diagnose this pathology.

Very often, the adolescent with ADHD goes from failure to failure and have the added difficulty that most physicians do not usually feel comfortable with these types of patients, and specifically of this age. They are often difficult to handle and most professionals lack the necessary training to calm their fears, anxieties or face their refusal to be helped by the doctor.


In consultation

To begin with, the treatment chosen by the professional must be appropriate to the patient's maturation period. Adolescence covers a range of many changes, and it is not the same to deal with a 12-year-old as with a 14- or 18-year-old. As mentioned, in addition, these patients are not usually collaborative, since they are often forced by the parents.

Regardless of their pathology, the adolescent usually receives the teenager with his parents , so they can tell what they are worried about and the doctor can investigate how the family relationship and the past. In many cases, non-verbal language will be even more helpful than what is counted during the consultation. On the other hand, it is tried to transmit to the adolescent that his parents are worried about him. Then he speaks to the patient alone , with the commitment to preserve his secrets.


Parents: how to act?

A teenager receives an average of 30 orders per hour, of which he is able to meet 50%. Hyperactive teens receive up to 3 or 4 times more orders and, on the other hand, they are only able to meet 20%. This produces a sense of failure, frustration and anger both in the young man and in his parents.

Parents should assume that they only have to give one order at a time and leave them time to fulfill it. Education involves knowing how to distribute work, how to set limits, how to reward and how to enhance when the teenager does something positive, which is critical to counteract this sense of failure.



The treatment of ADHD is similar in both children and adolescents. There are several solutions, combinable among them. On the one hand there is the pharmacological, and there are more and more medicines that can be used for this disorder. Sometimes, there is reluctance in the parents, fear of side effects or the risk of being addictive. These fears are unfounded, given that, through a multitude of scientific investigations, the safety of these drugs has been demonstrated, and that treated patients have a much lower risk of addiction to drugs (drugs, alcohol, tobacco) or traffic accidents than those treated ,. The real risk is NOT to do anything.

On the other hand, there is also family, school, psychopedagogical, psychological treatment and, in certain severe cases, psychiatric treatment of the associated pathologies may also be required. In general, it does not matter if the treatment is provided by a neurologist, a pediatrician or a psychiatrist. It must be whoever is trained to do it, and everyone must collaborate with each other to achieve the maximum potential of the patient.


Psychology of a patient with ADHD

People with ADHD do not have the same control of inhibition of what they would like to do, they do not measure the consequences, they are very impulsive. In adolescence, this often leads them to experiment with everything without really measuring the danger; either because they do not think about it or because they do not care too much.

Even so, being hyperactive or having attention deficit does not have to be only negative. Usually they are creative , imaginative individuals , who know how to provide solutions and have a different vision of other people, which is a great advantage in many professional fields. They usually dare with situations that others would not dare, have many illusions and do not fear failure. Many great artists, entrepreneurs, scientists and discoverers have had and have this profile.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. José Casas Rivero

Dr. Jose Homes Rivero is a prominent pediatrician first level. It\'s all an absolute reference in treatments with young people who have the disorder attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD). After over 25 years of experience in the specialty, is currently the Chief of Pediatrics and Adolescents Hospital Ruber.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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