Alarm bells are going off: 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.
Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine states, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”
While some doctors and patient advocates have welcomed rising diagnosis rates as evidence that the disorder is being better recognized and accepted, others said the new rates suggest that millions of children may be taking medication merely to calm behavior or to do better in school. Pills that are shared with or sold to classmates — diversion long tolerated in college settings and gaining traction in high-achieving high schools — are particularly dangerous, doctors say, because of their health risks when abused.
The findings were part of a broader C.D.C. study of children’s health issues, taken from February 2011 to June 2012. The agency interviewed more than 76,000 parents nationwide by both cellphone and landline and is currently compiling its reports.
Read More: ADHD Overdiagnosed
- CDC: 1 in 5 HS boys has ADHD (kfwbam.com)
- Changing Education Paradigms. 1 in 5 High School Boys Diagnosed With ADHD. (johnsegin.wordpress.com)
- As ADHD numbers skyrocket, surge of questions and costs too (tv.msnbc.com)
- ADHD Rises: 11% of U.S. Children (madinamerica.com)
- CDC report: ADHD diagnosis on the rise in the United States (salon.com)