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Understanding ADHD: signs, symptoms and treatment

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Are you the parent of a child living with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? SIU Medicine has some of the area’s leading clinicians who provide care and support for children with ADHD and their loved ones. Our team is also closely involved in the latest research, innovation, and mentorship of future clinicians who will be providing care for this patient population

We invite you to learn more about this condition and find out how SIU Medicine can help you and your family. 

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopment condition seen in children. Individuals affected by ADHD will have trouble paying attention, sitting still and controlling their emotions. They may also have significant difficulty with organizational skills. These symptoms can affect the individual’s home, social and academic functioning.

ADHD has three common presentations. The most common is difficulties with attention and hyperactivity or impulsivity – a combined presentation. Children with ADHD may show symptoms of either inattention or hyperactivity separately, as well.

According to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6.1 million children and adolescents in the United States are living with ADHD. While all genders can be affected, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. However, ADHD in girls may be missed easily because it presents mostly with inattentive symptoms. Adults can have ADHD, or ADHD symptoms that persist into adulthood, but the condition is usually diagnosed during childhood.

What causes ADHD?

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown. There appears to be a combination of causes including genetics and environmental influences. Some factors influencing the likelihood of your child having ADHD is family history, prenatal risks, environmental toxins and physical differences in the brain.

Signs and symptoms

Children with ADHD often show some of the following symptoms.

Difficulties with attention:

  • Trouble paying and keeping attention
  • Making careless mistakes and easily distracted
  • Losing things and forgetting to turn in homework
  • Trouble listening and completing tasks


  • Always “on the go”
  • Fidgeting
  • Inability to stay seated
  • Excessive running or climbing


  • Talking out of turn, interruptive
  • Impatient and blurts out answers
  • Having strong emotional reactions

Diagnosis and treatment

Only a doctor can make the diagnosis of ADHD. The symptoms for ADHD must be present for at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. Effective treatment is available. Several people involved in the child’s life, including parents/guardians and school teachers, can play a role in helping a child receive appropriate care and support.

At SIU Medicine, our providers use best practice methodologies for diagnosing, treating and managing ADHD. After a comprehensive evaluation from your child’s doctor, treatment generally includes a personalized combination of medications, behavioral health interventions and parent and family counseling. Our physicians and support team can also work with parents and school representative to ensure your child has the services and support he or she needs to succeed academically. 

SIU Medicine clinicians who provide ADHD services include your child’s primary care physician (PCP) and specialists including Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Pediatric Psychology and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. With us, you can expect confidential, customized and compassionate care that is implemented in a way that recognizes the person behind the diagnosis. 

You know your child better than anyone, so if you sense your child may have ADHD or simply needs better treatment, you are making the right call to seek help. Are you ready to see your child thrive and be able to express his or her natural strengths and abilities? Connect with our ADHD treatment team at SIU Medicine by calling 217.545.8000. 

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