Summertime typically provides a much-needed break from the academic and social pressures of school for kids with ADHD. Elementary school kids can spend their summers involved in activities that play to their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. They have an opportunity to focus on making new “summer friends,” forming friendships that aren’t complicated by school anxiety and stress. In an ideal world, teenagers with ADHD also have the chance to take a real summer break from high school pressures. However, as competition for college admissions and career success grows, many high school students are increasingly encouraged to maximize their summer breaks by participating in experiences that will bolster their chances of getting into their preferred college. This often means seeking out competitive internships and participating in multiple sports or intense extracurricular activities, sometimes while also holding down a part-time job. Taking a break from the social pressure of high school is also more challenging with social media playing such a prominent role in teenage social life. Teens continue to feel the pressure to keep up with their classmates, often comparing themselves to their peers and scanning Instagram posts to make sure they’re not missing out on (or being left out of) events and activities.
This year-round pressure is just one of many factors that researchers and clinicians think may be driving the rise in anxiety among teenagers. A recently published article in the Journal of Developmental Pediatrics found that in the U.S. rates of anxiety disorder diagnoses increased 20% between 2007-2012.1 Many clinicians suspect that rates have increased even more rapidly between 2012 and 2018. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one-third of today’s adolescents will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Teens with ADHD are at even higher risk, with up to 50% experiencing significant anxiety.
While some of the factors driving up teen anxiety are pervasive and can’t be changed in a single summer, there are still many things parents can do to help their teens keep anxiety in check.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.