ADHD Diagnoses On The Rise
November 23, 2013

ADHD Diagnoses On The Rise, According To CDC Statistics

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Half of all American children who are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are diagnosed by the age of six, according to new research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Furthermore, youngsters with severe ADHD are often diagnosed at even earlier ages – half of them by the age of four, based on information provided by parents. In total, the CDC reports that two million more children have been diagnosed and one million others were taking ADHD medication in the eight years from 2003-04 to 2011-12.

According to the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), as of 2011-12, 11 percent of all US youngsters between the ages of four and 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1 percent of children that age were taking medication for the condition (including 69 percent with current ADHD).

ADHD is one of the most prevalent conditions of childhood, causing youngsters to have difficulty focusing their attention or controlling their impulsive behaviors that can persist into the adult years. Effective treatment of ADHD includes medication, mental health treatment or a combination of the two, the researchers explained.

“Early treatment can be a tremendous help to children whose behavior, performance, and relationships are being negatively impacted by ADHD,” said Susanna Visser, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Behavioral therapy should be the first treatment for preschool-aged children diagnosed with ADHD.”

“The number of U.S. households impacted by childhood diagnoses of ADHD is growing,” she added. “When children diagnosed with ADHD receive proper treatment, they have the best chance of thriving at home, doing well at school, and making and keeping friends. CDC is committed to working with the medical and educational systems to make a difference in these children’s and their family’s lives today and into the future.”

On the state level, the percentage of children who have been diagnosed and medically treated for ADHD varies greatly, according to the study authors. The percentage of kids with a history of such a diagnosis ranges from just four percent in Nevada to 15 percent in both Arkansas and Kentucky.

Drug treatment for ADHD is most common among those children reported as having severe symptoms by their parents. Approximately one out of every five high school boys and one out of 11 high school girls in the US was reported by their mothers and fathers as having received an ADHD diagnosis from a medical professional.