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Symptoms of ADD/ADHD are similar to those in children and include:

  • Distractibility
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
For many, this disorder of the brain's management system not only persists, it becomes more problematic with the challenges of early adulthood where one has to manage much more for oneself while also coping with hormonal changes which may exacerbate symptoms.

A young person with ADD/ADHD moving away from home and family support faces self-management challenges such as:

  • getting out of bed in time for morning classes or work
  • taking their ADD/ADHD medications
  • getting a decent night's sleep before a major exam
  • getting started on a term project at least a few days before it is due
  • managing money to cover rent, meals, mobile phone bills, power bills etc. while still having some money left to go out once in a while
  • getting a job

Without appropriate support or treatment, young persons with ADD/ADHD are more likely than their peers to get caught up in excessive and persistent substance abuse. They are also more susceptible to depression and anxiety.

With relationships, some will latch onto one friend or partner who functions as their caretaker. The teenager with ADD/ADHD may be easily led into trouble.

Driving poses another risk with ADD/ADHD teenagers two to four times more likely to have a car accident due to inattentiveness, lack of concentration, self-control, impulsivity and risk taking.

As a general guide similar to that for children, at least 8 of the following behaviours were present for at least 6 months before the age of seven:

  • Butts into other children's game, interrupts often and doesn't listen.
  • Has difficulty remaining seated and easily distracted.
  • Has difficulty awaiting turns.
  • Fidgets with hands or feet.
  • Has difficulty playing quietly.
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Has difficulty following through instructions.
  • Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been asked.
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities.
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