Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD/ADHD Affects An Estimated 3% to 5% of Children and Adults in the U.S.

Understanding Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by a persistent, severe or intense pattern of distraction, hyperactivity or impulsiveness that occurs in all settings of life for the person. It is the most common childhood-onset behavioral disorder, affecting approximately 5 to 10% of children and adolescents. The onset of symptoms of ADHD may occur before 7 yrs old which can cause significant social or academic impairment.

There are a lot of signs and symptoms exhibited by children and adolescents with ADD, but some of them are just normal behavior of growing up and it can be difficult to determine which it is. The difference is that in the ADHD person, these behaviors cause significant impairment in everyday living. It is unfortunate that the prominent symptoms show up in the classroom. The symptoms can vary for activity or time of the day, that may be why parents and teachers see two different people. Children with ADHD can have a good day at school and the next day could be bad a one, the fluctuations of symptoms are more dramatic and frequent.

There are other problems of ADHD, low frustration tolerance, bossiness, depressed mood and poor self-esteem. Family relationships are strained and sometimes parents feel that the behavior is deliberate. It is important to know that some of these associated difficulties are not a definitive sign that the person has ADHD as these could also be due to a variety of other reasons. Most experts in the field do not believe that dietary factors, i.e. artificial food colorings and sugar, cause ADHD and no significant relationship has been found. This does not mean that the symptoms exhibited by some children may not be affected by dietary factors. At this point, no truly definitive statement about the causes of ADHD are possible.

Until recently, it was believed that children with ADHD would outgrow their symptoms and behavioral difficulties, unfortunately this is not often the case. In the few studies in which children with ADHD have been followed into early adulthood, about 50% continued to have symptoms of the disorder even though they may not qualify for the formal diagnosis.

In regards to treating the core symptoms, approximately 80% of children with ADHD benefit from stimulant medication. Although the exact mechanism by which the medication works is not known, evidence suggests that it corrects a biochemical condition in the brain that interferes with attention and impulse control. For children who are not helped by stimulant medication, several types of anti-depressant medication have demonstrated to be helpful.

One very important treatment that has demonstrated efficacy when designed and implemented properly is behavioral therapy. This is based on the simple premise that specific behaviors will increase or decrease depending on the consequences they produce. In theory, the child learns that good things result from good behavior and bad things result from bad behavior. As a result, significant improvements in behavior should occur. Because of the difficulties involved in using behavioral treatment effectively, it is recommended that parents work with a skilled mental health professional to assist them in this important work. The important principle is that all of the child’s problems get addressed.

Contrary to recently held beliefs, it is now clear that many children with ADHD/ADD will not simply “outgrow” their symptoms when they reach adolescence, although the severity of symptoms often declines with age. As many as half of them, will still exhibit significant behavioral problems such as defiance and anti-social acts (fighting, stealing and vandalism). On the positive side, approximately one-third of children with ADHD/ADD appear to be relatively well adjusted and symptom free as young adults.

Diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder

It is characterized by two distinct set of symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. If both symptoms are observed, one can be diagnosed as having ADHD. It is the most common childhood-onset behavioral disorder, that affects approximately 5 to 10% of children and adolescents. The onset symptoms of ADHD may occur before the age of 7 years-old and can cause significant social or academic impairment. It is also a developmental condition of inattention and easily distracted, with or without accompanying hyperactivity.

Signs & Symptoms of ADD:

Having difficulty paying attention to details and are easily distracted by other events that are occurring at the same time; they find it difficult and unpleasant to finish tasks; they put off anything that requires a sustained mental effort; they are prone to make careless mistakes, are disorganized, lose items easily; they appear not to listen when spoken to and often fail to follow through on tasks.

Three Signs of ADD:

  1. Inability to Focus
  2. Inability of Executive Functioning
  3. Inability of Memory Retention both in children and adults

Either 1 or 2:

  1.  Inattention
    1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
    2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
    3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
    4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
    5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
    7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
    8. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
    9. Is often forgetful in daily activities
  2. Hyperactivity
    1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
    2. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
    3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
    4. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
    5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
    6. Often talks excessively impulsively

Contact Mathers Clinic

Contact us to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist or for more information about our services by calling (815) 444.9999. You may also email us at info@themathersclinic.com. We look forward to helping you meet with a psychologist at a time that works well for you.



Crystal Lake Office
145 South Virginia Street
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014
phone: 815.444.9999
fax: 815.986.1363


Crystal Lake Business Hours
Monday 8:00am - 7:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 7:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 12:00pm
Sunday Closed

Woodstock Office
715 West Judd Street
Woodstock, Illinois 60098
phone: 815.444.9999
fax: 815.986.1363


Woodstock Business Hours
Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

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