Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, neurobiological disorder. ADHD is characterized by “a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 3.3 million children between ages 12-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in America. Young people with ADHD face unique challenges that can directly impact mental health, such as:
- Delayed interpersonal development: Sources show that some young people with ADHD have a harder time socializing than others. Research indicates that children who have ADHD have fewer friends, are less likely to be accepted by their peers, and are more likely to experience social rejection during their teenage years.
- Learning disabilities: Data suggests 31% to 45% of children with ADHD have a learning disability, and vice versa. One study concluded that boys with ADHD have about a 65% risk of having writing disabilities, compared to 16.5% of boys without ADHD, while girls with ADHD have a 57% risk compared to a 9.4% risk for girls without ADHD.
- Impairs academic functioning: Many teens diagnosed with ADHD struggle with working memory, time-management skills, and organizational skills. An article published in Ambulatory Pediatrics states that “ADHD is associated with poor grades, poor reading and math standardized tests scores, increased rates of grade retention, detention, and expulsion, and lower high school graduation rates.”
- Greater tendency to struggle with behavior and/ or conduct problems: A small 2018 study found that adolescents who had more severe ADHD symptoms in childhood had a greater risk of substance use. Studies show that ADHD is associated with a higher number of car accidents, with an average of one accident every 2 years.
- Increased risk of co-occurring conditions: Research shows high levels of comorbidity between ADHD and mood disorders, suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and conduct disorder. One study found that adolescent females with ADHD have a 2.5 times higher risk of major depression than female adolescents without ADHD. Additionally, in teens with ADHD, obesity prevalence increases by about 40% when compared to teenagers without ADHD.
ADHD involves delays in how well a teenager can control, or regulate attention, behavior, and emotion.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.