Can You Outgrow ADHD?

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We have a 13-year-old with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Is this something that he might outgrow?

Doctor's Response

This is a very frequently asked question from families, as well as from the adolescent with ADHD. The teen frequently wishes to "stop taking his medicine" as a sign of independence (or rebellion?), and the families have frequently worked so long and hard with their child that they hope that the problem will now be "outgrown." The answer: In some teens, the symptoms may appear to be less obvious. However, in almost all instances, the symptoms persist through the teen years and frequently into adulthood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "About 80% of those who required medication for ADHD as children still need it as teenagers."

In fact, the teen years frequently present new and special challenges. The school day is often longer and the work more challenging, after-school activities interfere with homework completion, multiple teachers and classroom settings make "a routine" less able to be achieved, social stresses heighten and so on. As a parent, your involvement has always been critical to your child's success, but never more so than now! Encouraging your teen to (1) develop tools to stay on track (like the use of organizers and appointment books), (2) maintain a quiet zone for homework and quiet time, (3) get adequate sleep, and (4) talk to you about their lives, friends, and interests, not just their problems.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/8/2017

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