CDC: Number of Children Diagnosed with ADHD Continues to Rise

An estimated two million more children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) over an 8 year period (2003–2004 to 2011–2012), according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). 

One million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD between 2003–2004 and 2011–2012.

RELATED: Psychiatric Disorders Resource Center

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. Children are commonly being diagnosed at a young age, according to CDC scientists. 

Parents report that half of children diagnosed with ADHD were diagnosed by 6 years of age, but children with more severe ADHD tended to be diagnosed earlier, about half of them by the age of 4.

According to the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • 6.4 million children in the U.S. (11% of 4–17 year olds), as reported by their parents have received an ADHD diagnosis from a healthcare provider, a 42% increase from 2003–2004 to 2011–2012.
  • Over 3.5 million children in the U.S. (6% of 4–17 year olds) were reported by their parents to be taking medication for ADHD, a 28% increase from 2007–2008 to 2011–2012.
  • Seven in ten children (69%) with a current diagnosis of ADHD were taking medication to treat the disorder.
  • Medication treatment is most common among children with more severe ADHD, according to parent reports.
  • States vary widely in terms of the percentage of their child population diagnosed and treated with medication for ADHD ranging from 15% in Arkansas and Kentucky to 4% in Nevada.
  • Nearly one in five high school boys and one in eleven high school girls in the U.S. were reported by their parents as having been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare provider.

For more information please see the JAACAP press release.