The Positive and Negative Traits of Teen Attention Deficit Disorder

Teen ADHD Treatment | Parent Treatment Advocates

Everyone, regardless of whether they have a mental illness, needs to learn to manage their strengths and weaknesses. However, with a mental illness, weaknesses might be a bit heftier to contend with.

With teen Attention Deficit Disorder, there are typical symptoms that an adolescent experiences that can begin to get in the way of functioning well as school. In fact, when a teen starts to show signs of impairment in their academic activities, often ADD is explored as a diagnosis. It is common to diagnose children with behavioral concerns with teen Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, which is essentially ADD with hyperactivity added in the list of symptoms. Because ADD teens do not typically display hyperactivity, their symptoms are not usually recognized until later in adolescence when academic responsibilities increase.

However, Lynn Weiss, Ph.D, author of A.D.D. and Creativity: Tapping Your Inner Muse, examines in her book the various symptoms of ADD in detail. Her book focuses on how to work with the challenges of ADD versus being imprisoned by them. She lists each of the positive and negative traits as a way for adolescents, and anyone diagnosed with ADD, to learn more about them and in turn learn more about themselves.

The negative traits of teen ADD are:

  • Distractibility
  • Poor concentration
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Impatience
  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness
  • Poor time management
  • Poor attention to detail
  • Difficulty breaking tasks into bite size pieces
  • High risk taking
  • Wide mood swings
  • Procrastination
  • Temper
  • Reactivity
  • Daydreaming
  • Blaming
  • Getting stuck in large projects
  • Excessive talking
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Difficulty creating structure
  • Difficulty recovering from change

On the other hand, there are some positive traits that could be resourced and emphasized in teens with ADD. These are:

  • Sensitive
  • Empathic
  • Ability to feel deeply
  • Doings things independently
  • Inventive
  • Having unique perspectives
  • Very perceptive
  • Spontaneous
  • Fun-loving and playful
  • Humorous
  • Energetic and open
  • Eager for acceptance and works hard for it
  • Responsive to positive reinforcement
  • Intense
  • Looks past surface appearances to the depth of people
  • Down to earth
  • See unique relationships between people, subjects, and things
  • Original
  • Not likely to get in a rut
  • Likely does things out of desire and not out of necessity

Weiss goes on to compare in her book these negative and positive traits with the negative and positive traits of creative people. She points out that people who are creative often have ADD symptoms. However, she recognizes that not all creative people can be diagnosed with ADD. Her book attempts to help ADD adolescents and adults alike find their creativity by managing the symptoms of ADD to one’s advantage.

Of course, the same is true with any disorder, and as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the same is true for anyone, regardless of whether they have a diagnosis. Because teens are early in their process of self-discovery, learning about ADD symptoms, if they have been diagnosed with the disorder, can facilitate their discovery of their strengths and weaknesses. As adolescents move closer towards adulthood knowing how to utilize their strengths and manage their weaknesses can be skills that contribute to a successful life.

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