Diagnoses for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the U.S. have increased to 43%, according to a recent study. That equates to one in 10 children, or 5.8 million kids ages 5 to 17, diagnosed with ADHD.
The report published, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that 12% of children in America have been diagnosed with ADHD compared to the 8.4% from 2003. Notably, the researchers have found significant rise for girls.
“One possibility to explain the increasing trend among females is a greater recognition of ADHD symptoms observed (e.g. withdrawn, internalizing) that are traditionally overlooked because they are not typically considered a sign of this condition,” study co-author Dr. Sean Clearly, a public health researcher at George Washington University, told Reuters.
The study involved analyzing data from surveys conducted in the years 2003, 2007 and 2011 on more than 190,000 children by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Traditionally, ADHD is more common in boys than in girls. Results of the study show, however, that more girls are being diagnosed with the childhood disorder. Between 2003 and 2011, ADHD in girls has risen by 55%. That’s only 4.3% for 2003 and a jump to 7.3% in 2011. For boys, the research showed a 40% spike.
You might be relieved to know that these findings aren’t surprising for medical practitioners. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York told AFP that the research “supports the general impression that more children and adolescents are being diagnosed with ADHD.”
He added, however, that “it does not help us understand why these increases are being observed.
To paint a bigger picture, data released earlier this year shows that 7% of children worldwide have ADHD. Common signs of ADHD include: poor sustained attention, impulsive behavior, difficulty with attentiveness and restlessness or hyperactivity.
Preschool aged children and below are naturally active and lively, however, and there’s not much need to worry at this age. Children under 5 have rarely been diagnosed with ADHD, according to Francis Dimalanta, M.D., developmental pediatrician at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. “A preschooler may be at risk for ADHD if he is exceptionally hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive most of the time, as compared to other kids his age,” he added.
Sources: Dec. 9, 2015. "ADHD Diagnoses Soar 43 Percent in United States". yahoo.com Dec. 10, 2015. "Number of children in the US suffering ADHD jumps 43% in a decade - with a sharp rise in girls battling the condition". dailymail.co.uk