ADHD & teens
To get started, consider watching this quick, 2-minute video from the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC).
If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, you are not alone: ADHD is a common disorder.
ADHD may be an important component of overall teen mental health. Learn more.

Understanding ADHD

Symptoms and causes
No one knows the exact causes of ADHD.
Many studies indicate that neurological factors may play a role.
Genetic factors are also involved. In fact, many adults are diagnosed with ADHD after their children are diagnosed!
Environmental factors may also contribute.
There are three core symptoms of ADHD. These are:
Inattention
For example:
  • Not paying attention or listening
  • Not finishing tasks in class
  • Being disorganized
  • Losing or forgetting things, such as books or backpack
  • Not following directions
Hyperactivity and impulsivity
For example:
  • Talking excessively
  • Having anger-management issues
  • Interrupting others
  • Engaging in risky behaviour, such as taking sexual risks or doing extreme sports
  • "Self-medicating" with alcohol or illicit drugs
Learn more about the core symptoms of ADHD.
Changes in ADHD symptoms can happen over time

Teens may grow out of their hyperactivity or learn to channel it into productive activities such as sports. However, symptoms of inattention may increase towards adulthood.

Learn more about how ADHD symptoms change during your teen years, challenges you may experience, and helpful tips for work and school.

ADHD symptoms may differ in females compared to males!
Boys are more likely to express aggressive or antisocial behaviour.
Girls are more likely to have the inattentive subtype of ADHD and be socially withdrawn. They also tend to have more symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Learn more about the differences in ADHD symptoms between males and females.
There are many common myths about ADHD, so it is important that you get the right resources.

Diagnosis

Did you know?
Boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.
Girls are 5 to 9 times less likely to be referred to a specialist for treatment. They will also often go undiagnosed until later in adolescence or adulthood.
Learn about the unique symptoms of ADHD in females.
Did you know?

ADHD is known to "run in families." Watch this video to learn more about how ADHD may present within a family.

Could your siblings also have a mental health condition? Learn more.

Did you know?
Diagnosing ADHD can take longer than expected because your doctor may want to rule out or diagnose other mental health conditions.
Medical professionals may use assessment forms to help diagnose ADHD.
ADHD diagnosis and treatment may involve a team of professionals.
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Managing ADHD

Getting older and becoming more independent means you will be more responsible for managing your time and making decisions about your health and well-being, including your ADHD.
Listen to real stories from teens with ADHD in this video from the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC).
Overcoming challenges: Tips and tricks
Sports

Studies have shown that exercise and sports can help relieve stress and can improve your concentration throughout the day. Learn more.

Friends

As you get older, your friendships become increasingly important. But these relationships may not always be easy! Learn more.

Social media

While helping to reduce stigmas and increase discussions around mental health, don’t forget who is talking: expert vs. content creator. Do your due diligence too and talk with your healthcare and support team. And, as you already know, be conscious about what you are also sharing.

Drugs and alcohol

Teens with ADHD are more likely to experiment with substances, including alcohol, and start at an earlier age. Learn more.

Driving

During their first few years of driving, teens with ADHD are involved in nearly four times as many car accidents as those without ADHD. Learn more.

Family

Most teenagers have conflicts with family members—those with ADHD are no different, but ADHD also may make you forgetful or cause you to act before you think.

Consider these top communication tips:

  • Pause: If you are angry, find a time when you can discuss things calmly
  • Listen: Take turns expressing points of view
  • Pay attention: Try not to interrupt, even if you feel frustrated
  • Define the problem and discuss solutions together
  • Negotiate: Compromise
Sex

ADHD affects many areas of life, including intimate relationships. Studies have found that teens with ADHD (especially if untreated) are more likely to take sexual risks. Learn more.

School and homework

When you have ADHD, it’s common to forget assignments, misplace textbooks and become bored with classwork. Learn more.

Additional challenges exist in the virtual learning world. Download a brochure on navigating learning from home with ADHD.

ADHD coaches can be helpful in many areas of life, such as helping you improve your listening and negotiation skills. Find a coach near you.
Changes and transitions: Resources that may help
Sports

Studies have shown that exercise and sports can help relieve stress and can improve your concentration throughout the day. Learn more.

Family

Most teenagers have conflicts with family members—those with ADHD are no different, but ADHD also may make you forgetful...

Treatment options

Finding the right treatment may take time, but this is normal.
Treatment and support for ADHD can involve a number of healthcare professionals. In Canada, many of these services are covered by provincial health plans. Private health insurance plans may cover additional services. Ask your doctor or health insurance manager to find out more.
Treatment and ADHD management strategies can make quite a difference in your day. See an example here.
There are several types of ADHD medications available in Canada. Learn more here in the “ADHD Treatment” section.

Get more involved with treatment decisions and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

  • Make a list to get ready for your visit and put the most important points at the top.
  • Say what? To make sure your doctor has explained him or herself clearly, try repeating back what he or she has said and write things down.
  • Bring a friend. Having someone else there to take notes, ask questions or just be supportive can really help.
  • My Rx. If your doctor has prescribed medication, make sure you take it as directed. During follow-up visits, your doctor may check:

    – If the medication is still effective and needed
    – If the dose is right for you
    – If you are experiencing any side effects
    Health measures (e.g., height, weight, blood pressure, etc.)
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Treatment and support for ADHD can involve a number of healthcare professionals. In Canada, many of these services are covered by provincial health plans. Private health insurance plans may cover additional services. Ask your doctor or health insurance manager to find out more.
Finding the right treatment may take time, but this is normal.

Resources

You are not alone on your ADHD journey!

Remember to bookmark this page so that you have access to helpful resources for future use!

The aim is to take the best available scientific evidence in mental health and make it easy to understand and accessible for everyone.
The team is committed to creating and delivering the highest quality mental health literacy information, research, education and resources. Materials are provided in a variety of mediums that include videos, animations, brochures, e-books, face-to-face training programs, and online training programs.
The materials meet the following criteria:

  • Based on best available scientific information

  • Encourage consumer participation

  • Prioritize feedback and continuous improvement
Created and developed by Annick Vincent, physician-psychiatrist, Clinique FOCUS and collaborators, this site is dedicated to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This site contains advice and information for better understanding this disorder and the options available for better "dealing with ADHD," including pharmacological treatment options.
Resources for adolescents from CADDRA, a Canadian non-profit association. CADDRA is a coalition of health professionals who support patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their families.
(site is available in French only)
The PANDA Association helps promote, inform, raise awareness, equip and develop specific and innovative services for people with ADHD, their families and their networks as well as stakeholders in order to demystify the problem, reduce prejudices and promote academic and social success.
A national, not-for-profit organization providing leadership and support in awareness, education and advocacy for ADHD organizations and individuals across Canada.
Resources for parents from CADDRA, a Canadian non-profit association. CADDRA is a coalition of health professionals who support patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their families.
A website and magazine on living with ADHD and learning disorders
CH.A.D.D. Canada is a charitable organization that aims to help support, educate, and ultimately better the lives of individuals with ADHD, and those who care for them.

CH.A.D.D. has chapters in communities across Canada, where support meetings are held regularly. CH.A.D.D. also sponsors various workshops, presentations and conferences, distributing the latest breakthroughs and techniques in dealing with or managing ADHD.
Your rights & government assistance

The Canadian Government allows a Disability Tax Credit for those who have a mental or physical disability that causes significant restrictions all or almost all of the time. These restrictions must occur despite having therapy and the use of appropriate devices and medications.

You can find Form T2201 here.

The government has also recognized that individuals with learning disabilities may have a need for supplementary educational service. Tuition costs could be covered if you qualify. Learn more.

Interested in finding out more about:

  • Scholarships?
  • Financial aid?

Learn more here.

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Created and developed by Annick Vincent, physician-psychiatrist, Clinique FOCUS and collaborators, this site is dedicated to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This site contains advice and information for better understanding this disorder and the options available for better "dealing with ADHD", including pharmacological treatment options.
A national, not-for-profit organization providing leadership and support in awareness, education and advocacy for ADHD organizations and individuals across Canada.
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