Moody teen without a care for the future—or something deeper?
Having a teen that struggles with hyperactivity and a lack of focus is so hard!
You probably find yourself asking “why hasn’t my teen outgrown this behavior by now?” You might notice that your son is struggling to meet the demands of high school or that your daughter has a very low tolerance for frustration. You wonder if you have a troubled teenager that needs more help, or if the attitudes and apathy will eventually shift into a more mature approach.
You are not alone.
There are parents everywhere struggling to have healthy relationships with their teens and ADHD or ADD will only further complicate that. I have watched so many relationships failing as parents just didn’t understand the underlying issues for their teens.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be difficult to fully pinpoint and get a clear picture on with children. According to the CDC, as many as 5% of children have ADHD, but other studies within the US have reported higher rates in their community samples. It can be hard to identify what causes troubled children to act out, so ADHD isn’t always considered the culprit.
Parents that can get ahead of the curve may be able to stop the behavior from becoming worse for their at-risk youth.
What Causes ADHD or ADD?
There isn’t a known reason that ADHD or ADD occurs. There are a number of causes that researchers suspect lead to the disorders, including:
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Genetics (it often runs in families)
- Changes within the brain, including disorders and brain injuries
- Development issues, including poor nutrition, smoke inhalation, alcohol, substance abuse during pregnancy and other problems that can impact a baby or young child’s growing brain
To the best of our understanding, it is not caused by stress in the home, sugar, allergies, TV or the school setting. It is important to note that in the majority of cases, ADHD is not the parent’s fault, but it is causing a very real roadblock for your teenager.
ADHD Changes in the Teen Years
ADD or ADHD may shift to something more subtle with age. While you think your teen is outgrowing their hyperactivity, it has just shifted to a difficulty to handle frustration or disappointments. You may find your teen acts out from a place of embarrassment and may work to deny there is a problem there at all. You may notice your ADHD teen struggles with:
- Feeling tired
- Fighting with close friends
- Feeling stressed about seemingly small tasks
- Suffering from low self-esteem
- Feeling ostracized as an outsider from their peers
- Struggling with engaging in activities they find boring
- A disconnect with parents and general feelings of being misunderstood
The problem is, these symptoms are not very different from what you will see in all teens. But when your child is acting out to a point you start considering a residential treatment center, then you know there is something more intensive going on than a normal shift of hormones.
When Should I Consider a Residential Treatment Center for My ADHD Teen?
Usually, by the time parents are asking this question, they’ve considered all the options within their grasp. They’ve tried getting their kids into a sport or club that excites them. They’ve tried to provide hobbies and help them work through their emotional stressors to learn coping skills. They’ve gotten tutors to help with academics and focused on improving the social struggles.
If after all this, you are still feeling stuck and lost, then it may be time to consider a residential treatment facility.
When teens turn to self-harm, aggression, lying, manipulation, substance abuse or other harmful acts, they are often crying out for help. Sometimes your teen just needs to get a break away from their norm, which has become their rut. Rather than keep pushing for change and hoping something sticks, you can place your child in a program that will work to meet his or her needs.
Making that decision can be difficult and scary, but we are here to help. RTC can connect you with solutions to help your family grow stronger together. Speak to one of our counselors today.