1 in 10 children diagnosed with ADHD: Why so many?

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Image credit: ABC News

The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyper­activity disorder (ADHD) has reached more than 10 percent, a significant increase during the past 20 years, according to a new study.

The rise was most pronounced in minority groups, suggesting that better access to health insurance and mental-health treatment through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have played some role in the increase. The rate of diagnosis doubled in girls, although it was still much lower than in boys.

But the researchers say they found no evidence confirming frequent complaints that the condition is overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Nonetheless, those doubts persist. Stephen Hinshaw, who co-authored a 2014 book called “The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance,” compared ADHD to depression. He said in an interview that neither condition has unequivocal biological markers, which makes it hard to determine whether a person has the condition. Symptoms of ADHD can include inattention, fidgety behavior and impulsivity.

Related article:  Fighting cancer with help from the body's internal clock

[T]he study’s authors tied the higher numbers to better understanding of the condition by doctors and the public, new standards for diagnosis and an increase in access to health insurance through the ACA.

Advances in medical technology also may have contributed to the increase, according to the research. Twenty years ago, preterm and low-birth-weight babies had a harder time surviving. Those factors increase the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.

Read full, original post: ADHD numbers are rising, and scientists are trying to understand why

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