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Nearly 1 in 10 children diagnosed with ADHD, says CDC

Consumer Reports News: August 22, 2011 09:08 AM

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise, with nearly one in 10 American children ages 5 to 17 receiving an ADHD diagnosis, according to new data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey data, from 1998 to 2009 the number of children ever diagnosed with ADHD increased from just under 7 percent to 9 percent. The report found a higher prevalence of ADHD among boys and children in the South and Midwest. And the number of cases increased by about 10 percent in children living in low-income households.

ADHD is one of the most common problems involving behavior and brain function. Its symptoms—inattention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity—begin in childhood, create functional impairment in academic, family, and social settings, and often persist into adulthood.

The report’s authors couldn’t determine whether the increased prevalence represents a true change or increased ADHD detection and diagnosis.

Bottom line: While there are many children that may be inappropriately diagnosed with ADHD when they don’t really have the condition, there are too many with ADHD who go undiagnosed. Properly diagnosed and managed, children with ADHD can thrive. Our ADHD guide can help you through the process of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.

Read more on what parents say about their child’s ADHD diagnosis and the pros and cons of drug therapy.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Among Children Aged 5-17 Years in the United States, 1998-2009 [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Ginger Skinner

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