Adolescents with ADD/ADHD experience increasing stress from a more demanding school and after-school schedule, more complex social relationships and ever-changing family dynamics. The challenges of school, perhaps managed through the lower school years, become more taxing in middle school, and can become overwhelming in high school. The volume of work increases and the complexity intensifies. The ability to focus, organize, prioritize and manage time becomes more necessary. Social issues require good judgment and thoughtfulness. The need to ‘fit in’ can challenge the best of intentions. Appropriate social ‘etiquette’, automatic for some, is often a mystery to adolescents with ADD/ADHD. Behavior can appear abrasive, out of sync or impulsive, leading to subtle, though sometimes devastating, social alienation. The inattentiveness, forgetfulness, distractibility, and disorganization seen in ADD/ADHD result in difficulties, tension, discord and conflict, not only for the adolescent, but for friends and family, as well. Moods can be erratic and even hostile or withdrawn and aloof. Behavior can be annoying, immature or lazy, and can even escalate to inappropriate or even illegal. The prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse is substantially higher among adolescents with untreated ADD/ADHD.
At ADHD, Mood & Behavior Center, we conduct an extensive evaluation of the adolescent, carefully assessing function in all areas of their life. The evaluation process involves identification of the adolescent’s primary problem areas and a comprehensive review of academic performance, behavior, mood, family relationships, social relationships, alcohol and substance abuse history and legal issues.
Testing is conducted to determine the presence of ADD/ADHD and any associated learning disabilities. Cognition and achievement levels are assessed.
Treatment options include academic coaching to improve organizational and time management skills, behavior therapy, participation in an adolescent social skills group, family therapy, parent coaching, individual therapy, substance abuse counseling, and where appropriate, the judicious consideration of medication options. Alternative treatments are also available.