Report Shows Rising ADHD Diagnosis | Health, medicine and fitness
New research shows a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of ADHD in children over the past few years, but local experts say it may not translate into more real incidences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in November that says 6.4 million children aged 4 to 17 across the country were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 2011, or an increase of 2 million children from 2003. In total, about 11% of children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011, according to the report.
The centre’s research stems from conducting a telephone survey of parents, asking if their children have ever been diagnosed with the disorder. Over 90,000 parents participated in the survey.
Adventist Health medical director Dr Gary Hoffman said the increase could be due to more parents becoming aware of the disease. He said that it may not be necessarily correct that more children have ADHD, but rather it has become more frequently reported and diagnosed than in the past.
âBecause information about the disorder is more accessible, parents and teachers are better able to recognize it and seek help,â he said. âUnderstanding of the disorder has improved and parents are struggling to find an answer to their concerns. “
Michael Mac Lean, the county’s public health official, said it’s quite possible that children are overdiagnosed or doctors diagnose children with ADHD when they really don’t have a serious problem.
“How to make the decision? ” he said. âChildren reach developmental stages differently and a short attention span is common in children, so it is a challenge to determine when a child has a real behavior problem. “
There is no single test for ADHD. Instead, doctors should conduct a survey that includes speaking with the child and their family, doing physical exams, examining a child’s development, and determining whether the data meets the American Psychiatric Association criteria for diagnosing. ADHD.
âYou have to get to a place where you say a child is not normal,â Mac Lean said. âHowever, you have to be careful not to label people as having a real problem when they are just a little weird or have a developmental problem. It is a challenge to say what is within the range of normal for this age.
Mac Lean said he understands ADHD is a real thing and that many children are getting treatment. However, he said he was concerned that more and more doctors would diagnose children with the condition because it has become the norm or a popular thing to do.
“I’m afraid this has turned into a fashionable diagnosis,” he said. “I’m not saying ADHD doesn’t exist, but I think some kids get diagnosed with ADHD when they just need a little longer to develop.”
The reporter can be reached at 583-2429 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JosephL_HS.