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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as many as 5% of children may have ADHD. Children and adolescents with attention deficit disorder, ADD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, typically exhibit behaviors such as a poor or short attention span, impulsive behaviors, hyperactivity or disruptive behavior, and difficulty focusing on a task through completion. Parents often feel frustrated, believing the child is just "lazy" or "stubborn" rather than suffering from a behavioral issue. If your child continues to perform below his or her abilities in school, if the teacher complains that your child cannot or will not pay attention and is disruptive in class, and if your child has a tendency to do things "without thinking", he or she may have ADHD. Children with ADD or ADHD also often have a low frustration level and can become irritable or belligerent when pressed to complete a task. Sometimes it is hard for a parent to recognize the difference between an active, high-energy child and one who has ADD or ADHD. When these "high energy" behaviors begin to interfer with your child's academic and social skills that is when it is time to seek professional advice. One risk of late diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is that a child can fall behind in academics, which leads to a decline in healthy levels of self-esteem. Teenagers who have not been properly diagnosed may be more prone to high-risk behaviors (impulsiveness) such as fast, risky driving and drug experimentation. Some pre-adolescent and adolescent children may even self-medicate with alcohol, marijuana, or other mood-altering substances. They may not be consciously aware of it, but what they are doing is making them seemingly feel better, or more "normal." Some adolescents might even say, "It takes the edge off." ADD and ADHD are seen more often in boys than girls, and the disorder often runs in families. A parent might feel particularly frustrated with an ADD child because he or she "sees" himself or herself in the child and doesn't want them to experience the same problems and struggles the parent experienced as a child. Self-destructive behaviors can develop into serious problems if ADD and ADHD are left untreated. Teenagers who have long suffered from ADD or ADHD without intervention generally perform below ability in school, have more negative interactions with authority figures or law enforcement, are more likely to drop out of school, are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to become injured in accidents due to risk-taking behaviors. The typical signs of MAJOR KEY WORD teen depression WAHOO are: Low energy, seemingly the teen has no "get up and go" Adolescent feels "low" most of the time Your teen is irritable, especially when pressured to "do something" Weight loss or gain (more than 10% of normal weight) Insomnia or sleeplessness, or excessive need for sleep Child expresses feelings of worthlessness Suicidal thoughts, ideation, or threats (with or without a plan) Drop in grades or missing school (possible claiming to be "sick" in the morning) Drop in social activities, interactions with peers, or a sudden change in peer group Indecisive or doesn't seem to care about anything (especially things they used to care about) Low frustration level Frequent bouts of crying, often for "no reason" No longer participates in their usual activities (social, family, academic, extracurricular)

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