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ADHD is a chronic condition that is likely to require treatment and monitoring over a lifetime. Inattention is problematic in childhood and remains so in adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, however, tend to diminish with age; they start becoming less problematic at about age 11 and continue to improve somewhat in the teen years. Nevertheless, because of the symptoms that continue to persist, children who take ADHD medication continue to be treated into their teen years; more than half still take the medication as adults.

Even though most kids don't outgrow ADHD, many do improve as they enter adolescence or learn to adapt to their condition. The further good news is that when the behaviors associated with ADHD are managed appropriately, people with the condition can learn to change them or compensate for them, develop personal strengths, and lead productive and successful lives.

At any age, the most effective way to manage the condition is a multimodal treatment that includes medication and behavioral therapy. Psychological counseling can also be beneficial, as a child or teen—or adult—deals with the low self-esteem and discouragement ADHD often causes.

Last reviewed on 08/18/2008

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