Does my brother have ADD?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My younger brother has problems at school.Often fails to give close attention to details, makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities. Often becomes easily distracted by irrelevant sights, sounds and extraneous stimuli.
Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace.
Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
Often avoids tasks, such as schoolwork or homework, that require sustained mental effort.
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities, like school assignments, pencils, books, or tools.
Rarely follows instructions carefully and completely.
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. And I believe that he may have ADD, but I might think is to late to be diagnosed, he is 14 years old. Could it be ADD?

A: Although I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, I can tell you that the symptoms you listed are consistent with ADD. It’s not too late for a diagnosis. Many people who have childhood ADD grow up to have ADD as teens and into adulthood.

More important than the label of a diagnosis is getting your brother some help. I’m sure he is finding it difficult to do well in school. It’s likely he will have the same difficulties with work or just with keeping himself organized to do the basic routines of life. Untreated, he is likely to have low self-esteem and a view of himself as someone who simply can’t manage in life. That negative view will get in the way of his relationships and will prevent him from reaching his full potential.

I hope you can encourage your parents to take your brother to a mental health center for a complete assessment. Once he has been evaluated, a counselor will outline treatment options for him. Talking with a counselor can help your brother learn skills that will help him cope with the constant pulls for his attention. Medication may also help him focus so he can fully utilize his intelligence and talents.

I wish him well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Does my brother have ADD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/07/does-my-brother-have-add/