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Attention Deficit Disorder Test for Tennagers: How to know if They Suffer from It

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Attention Deficit Disorder, now referred to as Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder with symptoms that cause problems focusing, concentrating and sometimes staying still. 

It is most often diagnosed in childhood marked by symptoms of high energy and inability to sit still in class. But sometimes ADHD can go undetected and not show heavy symptoms until the teen years. Parents or teachers can mistake symptoms of ADHD in teens for other disorders, or just roll them out as being lazy or a “bad kid”.

Overview of Attention Deficit Disorder 

ADD (better known as ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in kids and teens. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by lower rates of norepinephrine in the brain. This chemical is closely linked to dopamine. 

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls regions of the brain to help control reward, pleasure, motivation and focus. Four key regions of the brain affected by ADHD include: 

  • Frontal cortex (attention & executive function) 
  • Limbic system (attention & emotions) 
  • Basal ganglia (attention & impulsivity) 
  • Reticular Activating System (attention & impulse control) 

Boys are diagnosed with ADHD  two times the rate of girls. This reason is still not exactly known why but some believe boys are more likely to externalize behaviors (hyperactivity, aggression, impulsiveness). While girls may be more likely to internalize behaviors (anxiety, depression, daydreaming).  

Is it the same as ADHD? 

ADD is an outdated term for ADHD. Some still use it out of habit, but diagnostically, ADHD is the name for cases of “ADD” even if the teen presents without symptoms of hyperactivity. There are a few different types of ADHD with different clusters of symptoms (hyperactive, in-attention or combination). 

How Do I Know If My Teen Suffers from an Attention Deficit Disorder?

Teens with this diagnosis often struggle to keep their focus and concentration, leading to problems in school or the workplace. In some cases teens may present with hyperactivity, but not always. 

Behaviors of ADHD often appear in children and teens, but can grow worse in adulthood if not treated properly. Some common symptoms include: 

  • Impulsivity 
  • Recklessness 
  • Impatience 
  • Struggling to stay still (fidgeting)
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Co-occuring problems like depression or anxiety
  • Losing items consistently (keys, homework, cellphone) 

How to Get Diagnosed? 

Diagnosing ADHD in teens can be tricky due to the overlapping presentation of symptoms with other mental health problems. It is usually done by a specialist team that can include a pediatrician, child psychiatrist, and psychologist. 

They use a behavior checklist, conduct in-depth interviews with the family and teachers, and rule out any trauma or acute stressors that could be causing symptoms of the teens’ behavior. 

Does it Ever go away?

ADHD is not curable but can be managed to live a normal functioning life through meds and behavior interventions (eating a healthy diet, following a structured routine, good sleeping habits, positive role models).

Available Treatment for Teens

Supporting your teen with an ADHD diagnosis can be challenging without proper intervention. Untreated ADHD can cause lower academic performance, strains in relationships and in some cases even lead to problems with the law. 

It is recommended to seek professional help for ADHD. Specialists will work with the teen and family to help establish routines, get on the right medication and treat co-occurring mental health problems if present.  

Some common treatments used to help manage ADHD in teens may include: 

  • Family therapy to help build structure in the home and develop specific routines 
  • Stimulant meds such as Adderall or Ritalin to treat deficiency in norepinephrine and dopamine  
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to teach teens about their diagnosis, identify triggers that may increase their symptoms, and manage symptoms sometimes present in ADHD such as anxiety or depression 

Seeking Professional Help

At Clearfork Academy our team of compassionate and trained staff understand the complex nature of diagnosing and managing symptoms of ADHD. Reach out to our qualified Admissions team to learn more. 



Drechsler, R., Brem, S., Brandeis, D., Grünblatt, E., Berger, G., & Walitza, S. 2020. ADHD: Current Concepts and Treatments in Children and Adolescents. Neuropediatrics, 51(5), 315–335.

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