A new study in published in the March – April edition of Academic Paediatrics journal reports that the number of children in America diagnosed with the behavioural disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder reached 10.4 million in 2010, a 66 percent increase from 2000, when the number of children diagnosed was 6.2 million. It is reported that 14 percent of the children under the age of 18 in the United States have ADHD an increase from 9 percent ten years ago.
Lead author Craig Garfield is a professor and paediatrician; he has spent the last 10 years mapping the treads in ADHD from diagnosis to treatment and changes in roles of care team.
It is argued in the research that the increased prevalence of the disorder is largely attributed to the increased ability for doctors, teachers and parents to be able to distinguish between ‘normal’ hyperactivity in children as they grow up and how this differs from symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . This potentially indicates that there may not have been an increased prevalence in the disorder, instead better diagnosis.
Whether or not more people are suffering from ADHD now as opposed to a decade ago is still very much a point of contention. Some researchers argue that an increase in diagnosis may be due to the fact that there is more to distract children who are subsequently being diagnosed with ADHD . While other would argue that children are being misdiagnosed with natural development being interpreted as symptoms of ADHD . It is critical that this does not occur. The report suggested that medications to treat this behaviour disorder are on the increase, with long term effects largely unknown, it is important that children who shouldn’t be pacified with medication are not.