Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is for some a lifelong disorder.1 Others will manage symptoms successfully and a small proportion will grow out of it. The condition is associated with significant impairment and behavioural problems which can become maladaptive and cause public health concerns.2,3 It has long-term effects on the individual, including poor academic achievement, unemployment, delinquency and increased risks of antisocial behaviour and violence. People with ADHD also have higher rates of substance misuse.4
The focus of this article is young people with ADHD, specifically teenagers, and how to help them manage the disorder.
The three core symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. A significant proportion of children with ADHD have problems with:
Executive functioning (planning, organisation and working memory, that is, holding thoughts, ideas or learning in mind).
Timing (understanding the passage of time, and problems with waiting).
Motivational issues (getting started on tasks, with varying response to rewards).
Emotional regulation (reacting intensively, having temper outbursts and finding it hard to calm down).