At age 4, Jeremiah Ryans routinely refused to wait in line at the water
fountain at his summer day camp. Sometimes he'd get so cranky he would hit his
classmates. But an alarm bell went off when he grabbed a pair of children's
scissors and cut his teacher's hair.
Just a kid being a kid -- or extreme behavior that may need medical help?
The answer isn't clear-cut, and it's different for every family.
"He was on the verge of being expelled from day care," remembers his
mother, Mimi, of Columbia,...
Because of problems with distractibility and poor concentration, many teens with ADHD have problems in school. Grades may fall, especially if the teen is not getting ADHD treatment.
It's not uncommon for teens with ADHD to forget assignments, lose textbooks, and become bored with their daily class work. Teens may become inattentive, or excessively attentive -- not waiting for their turn before blurting out answers. They may interrupt their teacher and classmates, and they may rush through assignments. Teens with ADHD may also be fidgety and find it tough to sit still in class.
Often, teens with ADHD are so busy focusing on other things they forget about the task at hand. This can be seen especially with homework and athletic skills and in relationships with peers. This lack of attention to what they're doing often leads to bad grades on tests and being passed over for sports teams, after-school activities, and peer groups.
Does ADHD raise the risk of car accidents and problem drinking?
Yes. Driving poses special risks for teens with ADHD. Teens with ADHD are two to four times more likely to have a car accident than teens without ADHD.
Teens with ADHD may be impulsive, risk-taking, immature in judgment, and thrill seeking. All of these traits make accidents and serious injury more likely.
Still, studies show that teen drivers with ADHD who take their medication are less likely to have accidents.
Teens with ADHD are more likely to be heavy drinkers than teens without ADHD. They are also more likely to have problems from drinking.
In studies, teens with ADHD were twice as likely as other teens to have abused alcohol within the past 6 months and three times as likely to abuse drugs other than marijuana.
Getting the right treatment for ADHD may cut the risk of later alcohol and drug abuse.