How to Deal with ADHD As a Teenager

Three Methods:Getting StartedChanging Your DietLearning Coping Techniques

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder that manifests at a young age that can also continue into teenage years. Do you have ADHD and don't really know how to control it? Does your ADHD directly affect your work ethic and performance? Oftentimes, it can be hard to deal with the stresses of being a teenager alongside dealing with ADHD. However, there are some tips you can use to help deal with your ADHD.

Method 1
Getting Started

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    Get diagnosed. More than likely, you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child and are still dealing with the symptoms you have for years. However, you may just be noticing these behaviors, which can be overwhelming. If you are having problems staying on task at work, are always late for school or other important events, are impulsive, or were diagnosed with ADHD as a child and still have difficulty, you may have teenage ADHD.
    • Visit your doctor with your concerns to make sure you have ADHD. You want to make sure you can rule out other conditions before getting treated for ADHD.[1]
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    Learn about ADHD. If you know more about ADHD, you can learn how to better manage your disorder. You can see ways that it affects all the areas of your life and learn how to make changes in your personal habits in order to manage your ADHD. Find books about ADHD, search the internet for information, and ask your doctor questions about ADHD.
    • The more informed you are about the problems you have, the better you will be at seeing how it affects you and your daily life.[2]
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    Consider medication. ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects your brain chemistry. Having ADHD can make it hard to study, complete assigned tasks, perform task at your job, take care of your loved ones, enjoy time with your friends, and maintain relationships and friendships. In most situations, medication will be able to help, especially if you have an advanced for of ADHD. Ask your doctor about your medication options and find out the best medication for you.
    • There are three main forms of ADHD medication. These are short-acting, immediate release medications, intermediate-acting medications, and long-acting medications. These come in either stimulant or non-stimulant types. The forms are different based on how long they take to work and how long the effects of the medications last.
    • It can take time to find the right dosage and medication plan for you. Be patient and work with your doctor to find the right kind. Make sure you keep him up to date with how your medication makes you feel. It should help you focus and be more attentive, not drowsy or zoned out.[3]

Method 2
Changing Your Diet

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    Eat complex carbs. People with ADHD tend to have lower serotonin and dopamine levels, so a change in diet might counter-effect those deficiencies to some extent. Experts recommend a complex-carb diet to boost serotonin for improved mood, sleep, and appetite.[4] Rather than ingesting simple carbs that cause a temporary serotonin spike, such as sugars, honey, jelly, candy, and soda, choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, and beans.[5][6]
    • These act as an energy time-release, which improve your levels over time.[7][8]
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    Increase your protein intake. Focus is a main problem for those with ADHD. To improve focus, incorporate more protein-rich foods into your diet several time over the course of the day. This will keep your dopamine levels high and help keep you focused.[9] Proteins include meat, fish, and nuts as well as several foods that double as complex carbs, such as legumes and beans.[10]
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    Consume the right fats. There are certain kinds of fats that can make your symptoms worse. ADHD experts recommend improving the brain by avoiding bad fats, which are those found in trans fats and fried foods, burgers with non-grain fed beef, and pizzas. Choose healthier fats, such as omega-3 fats from foods like salmon, walnuts, and avocados.[11]
    • These fats may help lower hyperactivity while improving organizational skills.
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    Try taking more zinc. Increasing the amount of zinc you get in your diet may lower levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity, as shown in some recent studies. Seafoods, poultry, and fortified cereals are good sources of zinc.
    • You can also take zinc supplements to help increase your zinc intake if you think you won't get enough from your diet alone.[12]
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    Stay away from food irritants. There are some foods that have been linked to ADHD symptoms. Dairy has been shown to contribute to hyperactivity in children and teens. Try to avoid dairy and use alternative such as soy, coconut, or almond milk. For some, wheat or gluten has also been linked to ADHD symptoms.
    • To find out if these foods are linked to your ADHD, ask your doctor about it. You can also try to remove these substances from your diet to see if it improves your symptoms.[13]

Method 3
Learning Coping Techniques

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    Maintain realistic goals. When you set goals for yourself, make sure they are doable. You don't want to set goals that are impossible to reach, especially with ADHD. This will help you learn the limits of your disorder but also teach you to work around it. Don't try to get a paper done in one night if you know that isn't possible. Leave yourself enough time to get to school or work on time.
    • If you continuously make unrealistic goals, you will get discouraged and be less likely to finish tasks you set for yourself.[14]
    • For example, don't say you want to make a 100 on your next test. Set a goal to improve your score from the last assignment you did. This way, you don't focus on the impossible tasks and then get upset when you don't achieve them. Instead, you focus on something you can actually do and strive towards that.
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    Don't dwell on the negatives. When you have ADHD as a teen, life can be hectic. Your friends, parents, and teachers may not understand how you act sometimes and respond in negative ways. When this happens, don't focus on it. Focus on the moments that are positive in your life, such as when you and your friends are hanging out and enjoying yourself, when your parents were proud of you for getting your chores done, or when your teacher commended you for a great paper.
    • If you focus too much on the negative, you may fall into a loop of depression and anxiety as you wait for the next negative thing to happen.[15]
    • This can be easier said than done. If you are having a hard time staying away from negative thoughts, start writing them down. Whenever you have a negative thought, write it down in a journal. Next to it, write one or two positive thoughts from your life. It doesnt' have to be about the same thing, just anything positive about your life that you can think of. Balancing the negative with the positive will help you see how promising your life can be.
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    Think about the consequences. Many people with ADHD have a problem with impulse control. If this is the case for you, try to think about your actions before you do them. If you want to make an inappropriate joke in class, think about what would happen if you do. If you want to blow off your homework to go out with your friends, think about how your teachers and parents will react as well as how much your grades will suffer.
    • If you train yourself to think about how each action will effect your life, you can better decide how to approach each situation and get better outcomes.
    • If you are still having trouble, write down the activity you want to do. Write out beside it the possible outcome of doing or not doing what you listed, making a kind of pro/con list of your actions. This will help you see the tangible effects of what your are going to do. After awhile, you might be able to do this in your head and skip the paper.[16]
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    Set a schedule. Balancing school, work, and a social life can be hard for any teen, but it is even harder when you have ADHD. Schoolwork can be one of the hardest things to remember to do, especially when compared to other parts of you life since your social life is much more fun and work provides you with money to do things. Every week, write yourself a schedule of all you have to do. Make it as time specific as needed, breaking things down by days or hours when necessary. Include school assignments, homework, your work schedule, household chores, and time with friends.
    • Make sure to prioritize the activities by what needs to get done first and then leaving the non-essential tasks for last.
    • This will help keep you on track for every aspect of your life. It will also help you be on time and more prepared for each aspect of your life.
    • If you don't like writing things down, use the calendar app in your phone or other electronic device. Set reminders to help you remember to do all the tasks you need to do.[17][18]
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    Don't interrupt others. One common problem among individuals with ADHD is the inability to stop themselves from interrupting. This can be in class, with your friends and family, or at work. If you feel the urge to interrupt someone talking, take a minute to consider what you are going to say. Ask yourself if it is important to the current topic, if it needs to be said at that exact moment, and if you think the person you are interrupting will appreciate the content of what you want to say.
    • If any of these answers are not positive, don't interrupt them. Try to hold in your comment to a more appropriate time. If it is an inappropriate comment, rethink saying it at all.[19]
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    Keep yourself organized. Being disorganized can cause you to feel even more scattered. In all the different aspects of your life, try to come up with an organization plan that works best for you. Organize your schoolwork by class in color coded folders. Get a binder for any handouts that you get from each class and keep them all together. Organize your bedroom to make it easier to find things when you look for them. The more ordered and less chaotic your life is, the better you will be at focusing on the tasks at hand that need to get done.
    • This goes for clothing and personal items as well. The less you have to focus your energy and attention on these aspects of your life, the more focused you will be in life.[20]
    • There are many ways to help you do well in school, despite your ADHD. Keep working with your schedule and organization to help you find what is best for you.
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    Make yourself accountable. In many cases, people with ADHD have trouble getting tasks done, especially if no one is making them do them. By the time you become a teen, your parents are less focused on making sure each part of your school work or daily tasks gets done, giving you more personal responsibility and freedom. This can be detrimental to you if your ADHD makes it difficult to get things done. In order to help with this, find a person who you respect and will listen to that will make you be accountable for your tasks and actions. Provide them with your schedule or list of tasks you have to get done and ask them to check in with you to see how much you've gotten done.
    • Although most things, such as school work and chores at home, have people who you are accountable to, it is unlikely that your teacher or parent will be on you every day to make sure you get them done.
    • This person may be your parent. Reaching out for help from a friends, family member, or trusted mentor can help you take control of your tasks and help you succeed in school, at home, and make you a better person.[21][22]
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    Pay attention when you drive. Teen with ADHD have more trouble driving than most teens. You may be more prone to distraction, which leads to an increase in speeding and the possibility of accidents. Statistically, in the first few years of driving, teens with ADHD are four times more likely to get in accidents. Try your best to reduce your distractions while you drive. Don't have your phone out at all, listen to music only if it helps you focus, and avoid getting involved with intense conversations with others if you can't also focus on your driving.[23]
    • Practice driving without distractions or focusing despite distractions. Make sure you practice in a less populated area so you are less likely to get in a car accident while you get your ADHD under control.
    • If you have a lot of problems focusing while driving, have your friends drive you around instead.

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Categories: Health for Teens and Kids | Attention and Developmental Disorders