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Psychosocially supporting the teenager with ADHD

Tania Hart, Gillian Eccles, David Bird, and Sarah Wickes use case studies to illustrate the issues

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is widely accepted to be a neurological disorder, which is characterised by three main behaviours: hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsivity. Statistics suggest that about 2–5% of young people are diagnosed with ADHD in Britain today.1

These behaviours often make teenage children with ADHD more susceptible to developing co-occurring mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.2 ADHD can also make young people more susceptible than their peers to adopt risk-taking behaviours and develop antisocial behaviours.2

Although the literature suggests that the hyperactivity associated with ADHD diminishes in teenage years, it is now more widely considered that the symptoms are likely to manifest differently. For example, excessive whole-body movement hyperactivity that is more commonly exhibited in younger children with ADHD is more likely to manifest itself in teenage years as continued fidgeting.3

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