ADHD Rates in Children on the Rise

Eleven percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD and 6.1 percent of children are taking medicine for it, according to new information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s two million more children that have been diagnosed and one million more taking medication over an eight year period from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012.

According to a CDC press release, children are typically diagnosed by 6 years of age. Nearly one in five high school boys and one in 11 high school girls have been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare provider, according to their parents. Kids with ADHD have trouble paying attention and/or controlling impulsive behaviors. Treatments include medication, mental health treatment, or a combination of the two.

“Early treatment can be a tremendous help to children whose behavior, performance, and relationships are being negatively impacted by ADHD. Behavioral therapy should be the first treatment for preschool-aged children diagnosed with ADHD,” said Susanna Visser, MS, an epidemiologist with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

According to CDC, when children are treated properly early, they have the best chance of doing well at home and in school.

Some are critical of the explosion of ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions of Ritalin (often used to treat ADHD) and other medications for young children. Some argue ADHD is overdiagnosed and that medicating all children with ADHD is a slippery slope.

Support is available at, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy for children and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.
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