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


March 26, 2003

In This Article

Diagnosed in Adolescence

While it is more common for ADHD to be diagnosed during childhood, is not unusual for the diagnosis to be entertained and made in adolescent patients. When ADHD patients present during adolescence, they usually present with fewer behavioral symptoms and more academic symptoms. They may have mild enough ADHD so as to have gone unnoticed until adolescence, or they may be children with enough intellectual ability to have been able to compensate for the deficit up until that time. Academic and social rigors increase and structure is decreased, as patients need to be more independent and negotiate several teachers, classrooms, and schedules. Those ADHD patients who do not present until college may have been able to cope in the structured living situation with their parents but may have trouble organizing themselves on their own in a dormitory. Increased independence requires increased executive functioning, and this may elicit the symptoms of the disorder.