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Opening Doors to New Possibilities

Problem Peers

A worried parent says:

My 16-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADD. He has a difficult time making friends and maintaining them. Recently he has started being around negative peers that do drugs and have been arrested. Yesterday I found a gun hidden in his closet, I'm afraid for my son's safety and future. He has been seeing a psychiatrist who prescribes medication but he needs counseling or a boarding school.

Michele Novotni answers:

First of all -- remove the gun if you haven't already done so and call your son's psychiatrist for immediate help. The psychiatrist can make the determination as to whether or not your son is a danger to himself or others. Let the psychiatrist or a professional you trust direct you as to the appropriate steps to take for your son.

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for adolescents with ADD or other learning difficulties and social skills problems to become depressed. They sometimes can even become suicidal due to the pain of being socially rejected or excluded. They may seek out an undesirable peer group in which they find acceptance. You are very wise to be concerned about your son. It is important to get your son the help he needs immediately to better manage his ADD and to learn the social skills he needs to improve his ability to connect and relate to others. I want to leave you with hope because there are very effective treatments for both the ADD and for helping people learn social skills.

Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

This article is published by permission from ADDitude Magazine 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Subscribe to ADDitude online or via toll-free phone 888-762-8475.

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