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Symptoms of ADHD in Teenagers

May 12, 2016

ADHD in teenagers – overview of symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers differ in accordance with the type of disorder that affects the teen. The symptoms may be classified as:

  • symptoms of inattention
  • symptoms of hyperactivity
  • symptoms of impulsivity

A number of these symptoms must have been present for at least 6 months and required at an early age in order for the diagnosis of ADHD to be made in the teen under the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV TR) criteria.

Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers: inattention

  1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.
  2. Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish assigned tasks such as homework or projects (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  5. Often has trouble organizing activities.
  6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  8. Is often easily distracted.
  9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers: hyperactivity

  1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected.
  2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  3. Often excessively runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
  4. Often has trouble playing or doing leisure activities quietly.
  5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
  6. Often talks excessively.

Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers: impulsivity

  1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  2. Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
  3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).