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ADHD Diagnoses on the Rise Among U.S. Children, Study Finds

The prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses among U.S. children continues to climb, with approximately one in nine children having been diagnosed with the condition at some point in their lives. This is according to a study published online on May 23 in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

The research, conducted by Melissa L. Danielson and her colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, utilized data from the 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health. The study aimed to estimate the prevalence of both ever diagnosed and current ADHD among children aged 3 to 17 years in the United States.

Key findings from the study reveal that 11.4 percent of U.S. children, or an estimated 7.1 million, have received an ADHD diagnosis at some point. Additionally, 10.5 percent, or about 6.5 million children, currently have an ADHD diagnosis. Among these children, a significant portion faces considerable challenges.

The study found that 58.1 percent of children with current ADHD are reported to have moderate or severe forms of the condition. Furthermore, 77.9 percent have at least one other co-occurring disorder, 53.6 percent have been treated with ADHD medication in the past year, and 44.4 percent have received behavioral treatment for ADHD within the past year. Alarmingly, nearly one-third of children with a current ADHD diagnosis have not received any ADHD-specific treatment.

The study highlights that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased significantly over recent years. The authors note that pediatric ADHD remains an ongoing and expanding public health concern, as approximately 1 million more children had ever received an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 than in 2016.

This rising trend underscores the need for continued attention to ADHD as a critical public health issue, with a focus on ensuring access to appropriate diagnostic and treatment resources for affected children.

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