Today’s ADHD Numbers: Better Or Worse?

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  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. Sometimes it’s referred to as attention deficit disorder. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, may sometimes act without thinking about what the result will be, and, in some cases, are overly active.

    A 2003 survey found an estimated 7.8% of children aged 4-17 years had ever been given a diagnosis of ADHD in the US. This new CDC study looked at the results of the second administration of the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2007.

    Rates of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis are increasing and the patterns of ADHD diagnosis are changing in the United States. We now have 5.4 million children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. That is nearly one in ten school age children with an ADHD diagnosis; a million more children than were reported in 2003. Of these children, 2.7 million are currently taking ADHD medication.

    Important findings from this study:

    The rate of parent-reported ADHD among children 4-17 years of age increased by 22% between 2003 and 2007, from 7.8% to 9.5%.

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