Why Are So Many Kids Diagnosed with ADHD?

Why are so many kids getting diagnosed with ADHD?  According to a new study, the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has skyrocketed in recent years.

The study was conducted by healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente and reported by CBS News.  Researchers found that the number of black children between the ages of 5 to 11 who received a new ADHD diagnosis increased 70% in the past 10 years.  Newly-diagnosed Hispanic children’s rates went up 60 percent.  For white children, the rate went up 30 percent.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children, and affects an estimated 3 to 5 percent of school-aged kids.  Typically it is diagnosed more in boys than girls. While some researchers believe ADHD might run in families, there is no clear cause.

Symptoms include having a hard time paying attention, daydreaming, not listening, being easily distracted, forgetfulness, inability to stay still, talking too much, not being able to play quietly, acting and speaking without thinking, having trouble taking turns and frequently interrupting others.  Many children with ADHD have another developmental or behavioral problem as well.

According to the research team at Kaiser Permanente, there is no clear reason for the increasing rates of ADHD.  They say contributing factors may include heightened awareness of the disorder among parents and physicians, which could lead to increased screening and treatment.”

Dr. Roberto Tuchman at Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida cautions that ADHD may overdiagnosed in wealthier groups, and that more outreach is needed in poor communities.

To learn more about ADHD and its treatment, go to chadd.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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