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More Than 1 In 10 Kids Diagnosed With ADHD


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The number of American children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is on the rise, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 1 in 10 kids ages 4 to 17 has been diagnosed with ADHD and an increasing number of them are taking medication to address their symptoms, the CDC said.

The findings released Friday come from a survey of over 95,000 parents, which was conducted in 2011.

The agency found that about 11 percent of kids — or roughly 6.4 million — had been given a diagnosis of ADHD, which is characterized by difficulty paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviors.

By contrast, a similar survey put the number of children diagnosed with the condition at 9.5 percent in 2007 and 7.8 percent in 2003.

ADHD is more common among boys than girls, according to the latest CDC findings which were published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Of those with a current diagnosis, more than two-thirds were taking medication for the condition, the survey found.

It’s unclear if the increasing prevalence of ADHD is due to an actual uptick in cases or better recognition of the condition, CDC officials said.

ADHD is among the most common chronic conditions affecting children. A recent study found that almost one-third of children with autism also have ADHD.

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Comments (4 Responses)

  1. aconcernedparent says:

    1 in 10 American kids have ADHD and the CDC really thinks this is due to better recognition? they said the same thing about autism which now affects 1 in 88 American children and 1 in 54 boys. Many of our children are on heavy meds to control their symptoms. Why can’t the CDC admit a true increase? Call it what it is. The CDC is useless, lazy or both. they are so controlled by Pharma and are not serving the American public who pays their salaries!

  2. Amy says:

    It’s not the number of children WITH ADHD. It’s more like the number of kids that people are giving meds to and slapping a label on because they don’t know what else to do with them.

  3. VMGillen says:

    Remember: this is a Dx created by Ciba (now Novartis). They actually did an advertising campaign in Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens in the 60s; as I recall it was essentially “can’t control your child? try this miracle drug.” As to the ASD/ADHD link – good grief: ASD is a collection of symptoms (with no etiology) – and many of those symptoms are also found in ADHD. So??? Ritalin not only is inappropriate for ASD, it’s often ineffective for ADHD.

  4. Ellie Covey says:

    I think another question that needs to be asked is, are children being misdiagnosed? Working in a high school I am seeing an increasing amount of adolescents who are being diagnosed and for many, the school is not contacted to provide data. Diagnoses are being made by pediatricians using a single source, the parents, and often using only the Vanderbilt Scales as a diagnostic tool. Additional concerns arise when you consider that medications, such as Adderall, are increasingly being used as recreational drugs.

    Even with younger children, I have seen a diagnosis of ADHD made by physicians without them ruling-out other possible causes of the presenting behaviors. Before we put labels on children and begin trials of medications, I think that better diagnostic protocols should be considered.

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