Many children diagnosed with ADHD in Elementary School who are responding well to treatment may hit a few “bumps” during Middle School and High School.
Tweens, particularly girls, may suddenly stop responding to their medication, or may have symptoms that their dose is too high, even though they have been stable on the same medication and dose for years. This is often due to the hormonal changes occurring at this age, in conjunction with their brain development, which is still ongoing.
Sometimes in middle school, and more often in high school, teens will decide to stop taking their medicine. For a few, this is successful, especially if they have ADHD coaching to help them develop organizational skills and other tools to keep them on task. More often, however, the teen’s performance will decline, or they will start getting in trouble more often.
Untreated or undertreated ADHD in teens can be very detrimental, as it has been shown to lead to early experimentation with illicit drugs and/or alcohol (“self-medicating”), higher risk of teen pregnancy (for teen or their partner), and higher risk of run-ins with the law (i.e. speeding tickets, drunk driving).
Our physicians and counselors will work with you and your tween or teen to help navigate this transitional period, provide appropriate treatment and support that engages your youth in their own care, and provide additional resources for ADHD coaching and other behavioral interventions to help them succeed now, and as they leave for college and young adult life.