ADHD and Teen Pregnancy Risk

voetjieWe already know from former studies that ADHD is associated with a higher incidence of risky sexual behaviors. In addition, The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has recently published an article (1) that asserts there is a higher risk of teenage pregnancy in children with ADHD. Compared with individuals without ADHD, those with ADHD were significantly more likely to become parents at 12 to 19 years of age, females and males are 95% more likely to become pregnant. Obviously “it might be appropriate to target this group with an intervention program that includes sexual education and contraceptive counseling.” But, talking to teens about sex has never been an easily broached topic. How do we engage our children so that they understand the weight of consequences?

“We were expecting to find an increased risk, but not of this magnitude,” said lead study author Dr. Soren Dinesen Ostergaard, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. He and his colleagues suggest that sexual-education programs — particularly those focusing on the use of contraceptives — should be tailored specifically toward teens with ADHD, who may not respond to traditional education methods. Building an effective ADHD-friendly sex-ed program should be explored in future studies on teen pregnancy, the researchers said.

“It is well established that becoming a teenage parent, irrespective of your mental health status, is burdensome for both parents and children,” Ostergaard said. “It is also well known that parenting is often difficult for individuals with ADHD.”

Dr. Wes Crenshaw, writing in Additude Magazine (2), encourages us that “sex education for teens with ADHD should focus, first and foremost, on mindfulness. This doesn’t mean your child must meditate before kissing his boyfriend for the first time! Rather, it means that before engaging in any sexual activity, your teen should ask himself: “Is this what I want to be doing? Am I making this decision for me, or because some outside force is influencing me? Will I look back on this positively five years from now?”

We here at Play Attention appreciate that your journey as parents and caretakers of these special children is, at times, difficult. You may want to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor for encouragement and wisdom. We would like to also invite each of you to our private Facebook group. We recognize that discussions on your public FB wall may be uncomfortable or inappropriate, so we would like to provide a safe, moderated space for parents and professionals to come together and discuss their challenges and triumphs without Trolls. The Play Attention Facebook Group can be found here:

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