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ADHD in Children Health Center

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When to Call the Doctor About ADHD

Where should I go for help if my teen has ADHD?

If your teen is unorganized, fails to pay attention to adults at home or at school, has difficulty with peers and other relationships, loses important items frequently, and is very active and impulsive, talk to your doctor about ADHD.

As teens enter puberty, many have problems with teachers or authority figures, peers, and parents. These problems often accompany poor academic performance. Sometimes, these problems subside as the teen's hormonal havoc calms down. Yet problems with inattention in the teen years may also be a sign of ADHD that was undiagnosed during childhood.

If your teen is inattentive and overly self-reliant, talk to your doctor. Ask your doctor to assess the teen for ADHD. If the teen has ADHD, your doctor can prescribe effective medication to help your teen self-manage ADHD symptoms and behaviors. If the teen does not have ADHD, you may want to start behavioral therapy to make sure the teen has the coping skills necessary to carry him or her through the erratic teen years and into adulthood.

I am an adult, and I think I have ADHD. What do I do?

If you have difficulty maintaining a job and relationships, lose things frequently, are easily distracted, and have problems with organizational skills and goal setting, talk with your doctor about ADHD.

Experts say the incidence of ADHD in children is between 3% and 12% of the population. A large proportion of these individuals may carry symptoms of ADHD into adolescence and adulthood.

Many adults are diagnosed with ADHD only after they seek help for another problem, such as anxiety, depression, or difficulty functioning at work or school. An adult ADHD diagnosis involves physical and medical exams.

With adult ADHD, the doctor may ask for observations by you, your relatives, and your close friends. In addition, childhood onset of ADHD symptoms will have to be documented. Like children, an adult with ADHD may receive help from professionals offering ADHD medications and behavioral therapy.

ADHD is recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employees and students are protected under these guidelines and their work or learning environment can be adjusted to support their needs.

Accommodations at the workplace may be necessary to reduce distraction or assist with organization and improve overall functioning.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on November 18, 2014
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