Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder– ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder– ADHD

Boys are easily distracted. They daydream. They burn boundless energy usually at the expense of parents and rules. For most young men, this behavior is just a phase. For others, distraction, disordered thinking, restlessness, the inability to sit still or concentrate—these behaviors point to something more serious than growing pains. They may have a condition known as ADHD.


According to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD affects about three million Americans each year. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder commonly diagnosed during childhood. Boys are four times more likely to develop ADHD than girls. It does run in families but brain damage and environment can trigger ADHD. A woman who drinks or smokes during pregnancy or who delivers prematurely has an increased risk of her child developing ADHD.

There are three subtypes of ADHD:

  • Predominantly hyperactive impulsive—the child/adolescent displays six or more hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms and displays fewer than six inattentive symptoms—though they may be present

  • Predominantly inattentive—the child/adolescent displays six more inattentive symptoms and displays fewer than six hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms

  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive—the child/adolescent displays six or more of both categories; this is the most common subtype


ADHD is common but difficult to diagnose. It presents many of the same symptoms as other conditions, such as anxiety and other learning disorders. ADHD symptoms are grouped into two categories: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. For each category, six or more symptoms should be present in children up to age 16; five or more in children age 17:


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  • Often seems not to listen when spoken to

  • Had issues holding attention on tasks/play activities

  • Fails to pay attention to details; makes careless mistakes on schoolwork, work or in other activities

  • Does not follow through with instructions; does not finish school work, chores etc.

  • Struggles with organizing tasks and activities

  • Avoids/dislikes to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time

  • Often loses things necessary for tasks/activities

  • Easily distracted or forgetful of daily activities

Hyperactivity- impulsivity

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet; squirms

  • Leaves seat in situations where remaining seated is expected

  • Runs or climbs in inappropriate situations (In adolescents this can be limited to feeling restless)

  • Inability to pay or take part in leisure activities quietly

  • Often active nonstop

  • Talks excessively; blurts out the answer before a question has been completed

  • Struggles with waiting until it is his turn

  • Interrupts or intrudes on others often

Further diagnostic criteria include:

  • Multiple symptoms from either category were present before age 12

  • Symptoms interfere with school, work, etc.

  • Symptoms cannot be better explained by schizophrenia or another disorder


Medication is the most common form of treatment for ADHD. Stimulants reduce the hyperactive behavior and improve focus. The downside to stimulants is they can be addictive. Other treatments which do not involve drugs are available. White River Academy utilizes many of these when treating young men with ADHD.

In addition to stabilizing symptoms, treatment needs to identify and prevent the triggers which lead to ADHD. Through education and training, a young man can learn to prevent ADHD from spiraling. Individual and group therapy help with behavior modification. Cognitive behavioral therapy can change negative thought patterns.

How White River Academy can help

White River Academy, WRA is a residential treatment center which provides residential treatment for adolescent males. We treat an array of mental health disorders and substance abuse issues. WRA is located at the rim of the Great Basin in Utah. We combine challenging academics with outdoor activities. For more information about our academics, our treatment programs or our admissions process, call 866-520-0905.

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It is natural for parents to worry and have concerns when sending their son away to a residential treatment center. We hope this detailed description of the admission process at White River Academy will answer some of your questions.

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