(RxWiki News) Over the last decade, the numbers of American children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been increasing, more than 2 percent from just ten years ago.
ADHD, which is the most common behavioral disorder among children, causes shorter attention spans, trouble staying focused, learning difficulties and impulsive behaviors.
"ADHD diagnoses are increasing, see a therapist if you have questions."
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data in a national survey that included 8,000 to 12,000 children aged 5-17 each year. Dr. Lara Akinbami, lead study author, and her team found that the diagnoses of ADHD rose from just under seven percent between 1998 and 2000, to nine percent between 2007 and 2009.
The increase in diagnoses was about equal between boys and girls, but Akinbami was surprised to see a rise among minority and poor children, who more than caught up with the rest of the population.
The only exception is Mexican children, who report lower than average prevalence rates.
Akinbami says that she doesn't believe the rising numbers show an actual change in prevalence of ADHD, but rather an increase in the diagnoses of the disorder. In potentially good news, it could also be attributed to better access to health care and physicians who are more familiar with ADHD, and better able to screen for it.
The causes and risk factors for ADHD are still unknown, but researchers believe that genetics play a role. Boys have higher rates of the disorder than do girls, as do children who live below the poverty line.
The study report mentions the societal costs of ADHD in America, including educational and criminal justice resources, as well as medical.