ADHD Diagnoses Jump 24 Percent in a Decade

The number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased by 24 percent between 2001 and 2010, a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics is reporting.  That brings the number of American children affected by the disorder in 2010 to 3.1 percent, up from 2.5 percent in 2001.  More from

Rates rose most among minority kids during the study period, climbing nearly 70 percent overall in black children, and 60 percent among Hispanic youngsters, according the study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Among black girls, ADHD rates jumped 90 percent.

Rates remained highest in white children, climbing from 4.7 percent to 5.6 percent during the study period.

The biggest factor driving this increase may be the heightened awareness of ADHD among parents, teachers, and pediatricians, says the study’s lead author Dr. Darios Getahun, a scientist with Kaiser Permanente. For kids who need help, that’s a good thing, Getahun says.

“The earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier we can initiate treatment which leads to a better outcome for the child,” he says.

Image: Distracted child, via Shutterstock

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  1. by Mindi

    On January 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Interesting. I feel like the increase in diagnoses has a lot to do with larger class sizes, and the lack of resources available to teachers. I feel like a lot of kids are wrongly diagnosed because they don’t “fit in the box”, and it is easier to medicate or patch up a problem then to deal with it with behavior modifications, lesson plan modifications, etc.

  2. by Patty

    On January 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Thank-You Mindi you took the words from my mouth. I agree with you. They label the children they cannot handle with it and expect medicine to supress their personalities. My son is a very energenic boy. I’m afraid when he starts school the teachers won’t know how to handle him. For me I make sure he gets different activities every time his mind wanders. I think teachers and other people need to educate how to engage these children in school and elsewhere instead of drugging them.

  3. by Shire

    On January 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    My son has ADHD and Tourette’s. I am very happy that he was finally diagnosed at 5 and is functioning very well. He is also gifted with a very high IQ. I am tired of people unfamiliar with his case suggesting or insinuating that he just needs more discipline. He went through multiple tests before his diagnosis and every parent should require the same. ADHD is a real diagnosis, not an imagined ailment! Children who are not properly diagnosed suffer terribly. They end up with low self esteem and perform poorly in school. Please support any parent who is walking this road with their special needs child. It is not easy!

  4. by lisa

    On January 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I almost feel like there’s not more prevalence in the disorder, just more people using the term. We used to call them “high spirited children.” I think too that there’s been a shift in how children are being raised these days which may lead to more children that suit these categories. There’s a lot of factors that could lend credence as to why there’s more children being diagnosed as such….and why more minority children? interesting…..I have my suspicions that all that’s being said is not the truth. There’s much more probing that needs to be done here. I just have a gut suspicion that there’s not a higher prevalence of ADHD and there’s something more going on….

  5. by Renee

    On January 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I agree Lisa! I think that kids are getting less one on one time, more TV and media and evrything somehow is combining in a negative way. I look at teenagers nowadays and they are being taught with cell phones/texting/internet that they need to be multi-tasking all the time and it is not healthy. We need to be a people that live in the moment.

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