Study Shows ADHD Diagnosis on the Rise

“Twelve percent of U.S. children and teens had a diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 2011, a number that has jumped by 43 percent since 2003, according to a large national study based on parental reports of an ADHD diagnosis. This analysis suggests that 5.8 million U.S. children ages 5 to 17 now have this diagnosis, which can cause inattention and behavioral difficulties, says lead researcher Sean D. Cleary, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University.”

Furthermore, “This study was not designed to look at the underlying reasons for such changes in prevalence, Cleary said. The reported increase in the diagnosis could be a true increase in the number of ADHD diagnoses or it could be the result of a tendency to over-diagnose the condition. Additional research will need to be done to find out why there has been a rise in the diagnosis, with special attention being paid to certain groups, Cleary said.”

The article continues, “The question of why the condition seems to be increasing is important because the diagnosis often comes with a prescription for a stimulant drug like Ritalin. Such drugs can help children and adults with ADHD focus and stay on task. However, critics worry that the drugs may be over-prescribed.¬†Children with ADHD may have trouble with paying attention in class or at home and they might also be impulsive or prone to making careless mistakes. They can also be forgetful and, if nothing is done, the condition can lead to difficulties at school, at home and in social situations, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

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George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. “New report finds 43 percent increase in ADHD diagnosis for US schoolchildren: Girls showed a sharp rise in ADHD diagnosis during eight-year study period.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151208150630.htm>.

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