College Students with ADHD

Most people with ADHD are diagnosed before college. However, some people may not recognize the signs and symptoms of ADHD until they are at college. Trying to balance school work and the freedom of living away from home for the first time may be challenging. It can be natural to feel unfocused, distracted, overwhelmed, or disorganized when attending college. However, if these issues have caused significant problems in the past and are getting in the way of current functioning, the student may have ADHD.

College students with ADHD face a number of challenges, including choosing a supportive school and community where they can:

  • Find and access medical services
  • Get help with organizing their schedule and life
  • Succeed academically

If a student is struggling, it may be helpful to seek consultation with a qualified mental health professional. The diagnosis of ADHD is made based on a comprehensive clinical assessment. This may include information from multiple sources, including rating scales, getting history from the student, family, or past teachers if possible. There is no single test (brain imaging, blood testing, or psychological testing) that can reliably diagnose ADHD. Research shows that medication is the most effective treatment for ADHD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, and academic support can also be helpful.

There are many ways to successfully manage ADHD before and during college. View or download the fact sheet for strategies to prepare for and stay organized while at college, manage medications at college, and more.

Adjusting to the academic, social, and organizational demands of college is difficult for most students. It can be especially difficult for students with ADHD. Arranging for support from medical and school professionals can help students with ADHD have a successful college experience, as well as a long career after graduation.

For additional information, see the ADHD Medication Guide from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

Excerpted from “College Students with ADHD” from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The full fact sheet is available online at www.aacap.org.

Source: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry | College Students with ADHD, https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/College-Students-with-ADHD-111.aspx | Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Do you have ADHD or another learning difference? CHC Care Coordinators can arrange a free 30-minute consultation so you can explore options with an expert. We invite you to call or email us at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Parent Consultation appointment. CHC teletherapy services are available now.

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