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ADHD Rates Soar Among Young Americans: Are These Numbers Legitimate?

By HERWriter Guide
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 the numbers of young Americans with ADHD seeming to soar PS Productions/Photospin

New statistics about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has parents and doctors taking notice. The Center for Disease Control has released data that indicates 11 percent of school-age children have a medical diagnosis of ADHD, and as many as one in five high school boys have been diagnosed with the disorder.

Are these numbers legitimate? Or have we run amok with diagnosing "different" or active kids with a disorder when really they're just being what many of us were -- active, rambunctious, adventuresome kids?

The New York Times wrote an article recently about these ADHD diagnoses and said that according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these high numbers are indeed true.

But rather than expressing a concern about the ADHD condition itself, some experts are worried that many are being misdiagnosed as a means to give parents a name for their children's behaviors and to potentially medicate them to make them more "normal" .

Diagnoses of ADHD have risen 41% in the past 10 years and 16% since 2007.

Two-thirds of kids receiving a diagnosis of ADHD are on medications that have concerning side effects like lack of appetite, getting "high" and becoming addicted to the medications by abusing them.

Other side effects include poor impulse control and bad decision making. And children may be sharing these medications with their friends.

Very concerning is that about 1 in 10 boys in high school are on ADHD medications with nearly one in five boys receiving a diagnosis of ADHD. About 1 in 10 high school girls have the same diagnosis.

These numbers have some experts very concerned and skeptical. The New York Times article quotes Dr. Richard Swanson, a Professor of Psychiatry and expert in ADHD from Florida International University as saying that "There's no way that one in five high school boys has ADHD. If we start treating children who do not have the disorder with stimulants, a certain percentage are going to have problems that are predictable — some of them are going to end up with abuse and dependence. And with all those pills around, how much of that actually goes to friends?

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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