Jefferson Prince, MD, Thomas A. M. Kramer, MD, Jane Feldman, MD


March 26, 2003

In This Article


Adolescence, in general, creates its own set of challenges, and this is certainly true in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are both diagnostic and treatment issues that require special attention in this developmental phase of life.

Many adolescents with ADHD were diagnosed and treated since childhood. As such, adolescence is a period of time during which their treatment is sustained, and does not wane. Although prior clinical wisdom suggested that many if not most patients with ADHD experience a decline or remission of their symptoms during adolescence, numerous follow-up studies demonstrate that upwards of two thirds to three quarters of patients with ADHD continue to have symptoms of ADHD and experience significant impairment from these symptoms. Studies have shown that over the course of the lifespan, the manifestations of ADHD may change. In fact, symptoms of hyperactivity may decline over time, which leads some clinicians, parents, and teachers to believe that the ADHD has remitted. In fact, often the symptoms of inattention and impulsivity persist. Predictors of persistent ADHD include family history of ADHD, comorbidity, and adversity.