The number of US children and teens diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) jumped by 43 per cent between 2003 and 2011, according to a large national study of parental reports of an ADHD diagnosis
According to thean estimated 5.8 million school-aged (5-17) US children now have an ADHD diagnosis, 12 per cent of the age-group.
The study also found unexpected sharp increases among certain sub-groups over the eight-year period, including Hispanic youth (83%) and girls (55%).
The report, published online in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, was based on data sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a National Children’s Survey from 2003-2011.
Lead researcher Sean D. Cleary, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, and his co-author Kevin P. Collins of Mathematica Policy Research mined the data looking for trends in parent-reported prevalence of ADHD.
‘We found rising rates of ADHD overall and very sharp jumps in certain subgroups,’
‘Parents should be made aware of the findings in case they have a child or teenager that should be evaluated for the disorder, which can persist into adulthood. This study was not designed to look at the underlying reasons for such changes in prevalence.
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.’