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
- Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.
- Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- 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).
- Often has trouble organizing activities.
- 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).
- Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
- Is often easily distracted.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers: hyperactivity
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected.
- Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
- Often excessively runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
- Often has trouble playing or doing leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
- Often talks excessively.
Symptoms of ADHD in teenagers: impulsivity
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
- Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).