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Get the Facts on ADHD

February 6, 2014

 If your child is showing symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder be sure and talk to your doctor who can offer advice on how to manage and treat the disorder.

 If you’re a parent with a child who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you may have questions regarding the options and actions to help both your little one as well as yourself.

Dr. Christopher Streeter, child psychiatrist with St. Luke’s Children’s Center for Neurobehavioral Medicine answers some questions about ADHD and the available treatments and medications for children.

Q:  Isn’t it normal for kids to be a bit impulsive and hyperactive?

A: While it is normal for young children to energetic, impulsivity and hyperactivity can affect and impair many areas of life and can often go without recognition until academic impairment has already occurred.

Q:  I did fine without treatment, won’t my child do fine as well?

A: It remains true that some children may live with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder without negatively affecting their academic or social life, however, failure to manage the problem if present can result in missed benefits and experiences as a youth.

Q:  Will my child be on medications forever?

A: Due to training behaviors, compensatory mechanisms, and maturation of the brain, reduction or discontinuation of the use of medication is possible for many patients over time.

Q:  Are medications always necessary?

A:  Be sure to talk to your doctor and consistently review any method of care for a hyperactive child whether the method be medication or environmental and behavioral training interventions in the home and at school.

Q:  Will my child get addicted to the medications?

A: When it comes to concern about addiction to medication, the risk for substance use disorder is actually higher if ADHD goes untreated. If addiction is a concern, there are some medications that are shown to be effective for ADHD treatment with no risk for dependence or abuse.

Q:  Is there a lab test for ADHD?

A: Unfortunately, there are no lab tests to diagnose ADHD and while the disorder can be related to concentration problems which can be lab tested, the diagnosis remains based on a clinical interview with the patient, the parents and if necessary, teachers or other caregivers to establish impairment in multiple domains.

ADHD is a very responsive to treat. Talk to your child and your doctor about options and any concerns you may have. Do your research and arm yourself with knowledge from trusted, nationally established resources. For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org and The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at www.aacap.org