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Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a misunderstood illness that is increasing in children in the U.S.

Nearly one out of every ten children is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD.  ADHD is a brain problem that often appears to be a behavioral or learning problem says Dr. Mary Dobbins, assistant professor and chief of child psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  She explains ADHD symptoms.

SOUND BITE:  “. . . typically it’s a combination of being impulsive and not being able to think things through before you say things or do something.  It may come out as somebody putting their foot in their mouth and getting embarrassed – or not being able to wait, or getting in trouble in the classroom for speaking out, being disruptive when they don’t mean to be.”

Dr. Dobbins says other symptoms include being unorganized, unable to keep track of time, losing things, forgetting details and starting a lot of things but not completing them.   She says another component of the illness is hyperactivity.    She suggests some treatment options for the disease.

SOUND BITE:  “. . . if it is very mild, sometimes just structured parenting and environmental supports work.  Some people have been kind of hesitant to use medications, but if your child has severe ADHD, until you use medication to get the brain healthy, you are probably still going to have some leftover symptoms.”

Dr. Dobbins says children who do not get treated for the disease, often get in trouble in school or get corrected more often than their peers, causing them to lose confidence in themselves and be unsuccessful in school.  A child who has symptoms for ADHD should see a pediatrician or family physician, who may refer to a child psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.